Breaking Down the Boston Celtics' Best Trade Bait

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Breaking Down the Boston Celtics' Best Trade Bait

Post by 112288 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:52 pm

BLEACHER REPORT

BY JACOB KEIMACH (FEATURED COLUMNIST)

Lets face it Boston Celtics fans, the team that we've seen so far in 2012 is not going to win the NBA Finals.

As inconsistently as the team has been playing, it's hard to imagine them hanging around for too long against superior opponents like the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and dare I say it... the New York Knicks.

So if the personnel on the floor is not playing up to par, the most drastic move that could immediately have an impact is to make a trade, right? Unfortunately, looking at the current roster yields no obvious moves that GM Danny Ainge could concoct to instantly improve their chances.

The depth chart (for the most part) is filled with age and expensive contracts. None of the important ones—Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and Brandon Bass—are set to expire after the 2013 playoffs.

That leaves GM with only a few options this year and some extremely important decisions ahead. Please Mr. Ainge, proceed with caution.

The following list breaks down the Celtics' best trade bait. If things do not drastically improve in Boston soon, one or two of them might be donning a different uniform by season's end.


Trade Bait #5: Brandon Bass
Position: PF Age: 27

2012 Season Averages: 27.5 minutes, 8.7 points, 5.4 rebounds

Brandon Bass has not given the Celtics what they need in the rebounding department. However, he has proven to be a valuable role player and had a standout postseason in 2012.

His postseason performance was good enough to land him a new contract (3 years, $19.5 million) with Boston that will most likely be a deterrent to potential trade partners.

Bass has a good motor, is a respectable teammate and plays hard every night. He could become part of a package deal to land a threatening big man if things continue to sputter for the Celtics.
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Trade Bait #4: Jason Terry
The Jet has played well in a reserve role, but Boston may need to bulk up different aspects of its strategy at his expense
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Position: SG

Age: 35

2012 Season Averages: 30.3 minutes, 11.7 points, 2.1 assists

Avery Bradley's return from shoulder surgery in a short while should mean a reduced role for all other shooting guards on the roster. That means Jason Terry, Leandro Barbosa and Courtney Lee will all suffer a loss in playing time in the near future.

Terry has been playing well, especially lately, and is attractive to contenders who need an extra boost. The Jet provides instant offense and can light up the crowd when the going gets tough.

His role on Boston has been one of senior leader and bench champion. As valuable as Terry has been, his talent will be useful on another team as well. For that reason, the Celtics could shop his veteran attitude and scoring ability to help land a longer-term option at a thinner position, like center.
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Trade Bait #3: Avery Bradley

Position: SG

Age: 22

2011 Season Averages: 21.4 minutes, 7.6 points

GMs of other teams probably are cautious when regarding the idea of acquiring Avery Bradley. Statistically speaking, his numbers do not merit much attention. Further, he injured both shoulders in 2011-12 and has missed all of the 2012-13 season to date as a result.

What Danny Ainge has the luxury of shopping out is Bradley's potential. At a point during the '11-'12 campaign, Bradley was playing well enough on offense and defense to put Ray Allen out of a starting job.

Avery is full of energy and passion, is a defensive agitator, and in time will be a devastating transition three point shooter. Being coupled with Rajon Rondo in the backcourt is a luxury he will be sure to take advantage of upon his return to health.

However, if he returns in stride but the Celtics keep skidding, his name could surface as a primary target for a midseason move. And, if Ainge properly markets Bradley's potential, the shooting guard could land Boston a new, bigger prize.
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Trade Bait #2: Draft Picks

I would be surprised if Boston engaged in talks to deal away future draft picks

The Boston Celtics coaching staff and front office is too smart to trade away future draft picks. All it takes to figure that out is one look at the aging talent that the Cs can only hope to rely on for two more years optimistically.

However, the same stubborn mentality has continued to run rampant through the Celtics organization for the past three years. That is, when everyone says they're too old or not talented enough, Boston becomes even more convinced that it has the weapons to win it all.

If for some crazy reason they still believe that this year could be the year, something as drastic as a first round draft choice could come into play. Boston's record will dictate the probability of this scenario.

Should the record sink and Boston creep toward the bottom of the playoff seeds or even out, immediate actions could be taken at the expense of future flexibility. At that point their draft pick would be a more attractive option for opposing teams anyway.

It would be bold and likely unwise decision; Boston may be better suited to ride out the ups and downs of this year (and next) instead of costing themselves the opportunity to properly reboot following the retirement of the old guard.
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Trade Bait #1: Rajon Rondo

That's right, if you want to talk Celtics, you have to talk Rondo.

Position: PG

Age: 26

2012 Season Averages: 37.9 minutes, 12.9 points, 12.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds

The best player on the team is the team's most attractive trade bait. No question.

It doesn't seem as if anyone in the Boston Celtics organization is trying to dish the young star any longer. There were musings of a deal swirling in 2011-12, but Rajon Rondo has stayed the course and is clearly Boston's best player on the floor every night he takes it.

His biggest weakness is that other teams do not respect his jumper. Admittedly, he seems to have improved this year and is shooting at a high percentage of 51.1 percent from the floor. Yet, his true ability to manipulate the game still comes when passing the ball.

For Rondo to really excel to his full potential for the Celtics, they would need to add a superior scorer, preferably an interior scorer. Here's the catch-22: Nobody on the Celtics' roster is attractive enough on the market to land the type of player that could carry a championship duo with Rondo.

Only time will tell. Rondo is inked to a contract that will last through 2015. If he cannot deliver a championship before then as the team's star and leader, Boston may dish him to pursue a new front man.

On a personal note, I think the only way is up for Rondo and hope the Celtics are sensible enough to keep him around.
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Re: Breaking Down the Boston Celtics' Best Trade Bait

Post by sinus007 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:41 pm

Hi,
Thanks for the article.
What about Lee? Or, he's already been moved from bait to being traded?

AK

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Re: Breaking Down the Boston Celtics' Best Trade Bait

Post by worcester on Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:08 pm

A year ago - because of the lockout - the Celtics record was 0-0. It wasn't till sometime in February that they'd played their 23 game, and after a four game win streak they had a 13-10 record. That was with both Ray Allen and Avery Bradley on board. After 23 games so far this year we have a record of 12-11, and that's without either RA or AB.

I'm not going to hit the panic button until after January. If we're losing with AB fully integrated into the lineup, then we can talk.


Last edited by worcester on Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:09 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : sp)

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Re: Breaking Down the Boston Celtics' Best Trade Bait

Post by tardust on Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:51 pm

I agree Worcester, I am not hitting the panic button yet either. I also don't think this team as is will make a impact. Number one reason is the defense is like swiss cheese. Its a variety of players causing the lapses too. Only one player has to not do his job for the defense to fail. Whats really sad is the same five guys we had in the playoffs last year are not doing it either. Sometimes it looks like a layup drill. Heck I would go for a zone defense if it cut down on the layups and kept us in better rebounding position.
Something was said about Rondo playing better defense last nite and he did, but he was not playing any penetrating guards. Normally those guys eat our sack lunch. They didn't have to do much last night because the Bull bigs were zipping the ball around among themselves and getting layups.

I do believe its time for Doc to really shake something up. Maybe put PP off the bench with one agenda, score as much as he can, get Green in the starting lineup and see if he can be more productive. Maybe start Barbosa with Rondo, even though they are small, Barbosa would be pushing the ball.
Last but not least we need a defensive minded big. Until we get one we might as well let Melo try. How much worse could it be since it already a layup line. Maybe he could swat a few shots.
I know one thing for certain, continue to do the same things as we have been doing and the results aren't going to change much.

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Re: Breaking Down the Boston Celtics' Best Trade Bait

Post by worcester on Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:56 pm

If I had my druthers, Danny would somehow find a way to get Varejo or Love on this team

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Re: Breaking Down the Boston Celtics' Best Trade Bait

Post by 112288 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:23 pm

Tardust,

I like your thinking. Maybe have Pierce come off the bench......hey it's going to happen sooner then later......why not now.

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Re: Breaking Down the Boston Celtics' Best Trade Bait

Post by sam on Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:58 pm

To no one in particular,

It's interesting to note how many people tend to opt for shuffling the lineup when the job's not getting done. Occasionally, that can help. But, every time the lineup changes, it adds to the length of time the team's going to need to develop chemistry.

Yes, I believe the team definitely needs another center (not a stretch PF) to add continuity to the effort when KG's not in there. But, even with that kind of trade, the great majority of the team will still have been new this season, and that's a lot of people (especially bench players) who will still have to master the defensive scheme. I believe only time will dictate when that will happen, and I'm not one who feels Avery Bradley will be a panacea for the defense (although he can help in slowing down the opposition).

On offense, the percentage of assists to made field goals is going down down down:

Last season: 67%
This season to date: 63%
The past two games: 55%

Rondo's getting his double digits in assists, but the rest of the team is not chipping in with assists (53% of the team's assists have come from players other than Rondo) as they have in the past (compared with 60% last season). While assists are obviously not the sole indicator of chemistry, they do lend some insight into how smoothly everyone is buying into a viable offensive system.

Let's suppose the Celtics were to find some way to get Verejao for Sully, Lee, Melo, and maybe a pick. (I'm using this just as a hypothetical example and have absolutely no intention of responding to anyone who questions the likelihood that Cleveland would fall for such a trade. That's not my point.)

That would theoretically mean that the bench would consist of Verejao, Wilcox, Green, Terry and the Blur. Upgrading the defense with Verejao wouldn't mean the other four would suddenly grasp the defense. It would still be a process. Perhaps more important, it wouldn't mean the bench would be any more organized on offense than it is right now.

I believe the way to get the bench more organized on offense so as to take advantage of the strengths of each bench player is to bring in some veteran PG, perhaps off the scrap heap. Personally, I'd take a chance with Delonte West. Although he's really a combo guard, he's been a pretty good take-charge guy when placed in the facilitator role, and he can be a true catalyst. He knows how the Celtics operate, and he'd even help offset the loss of Lee in my scenario.

Replacing one center or PF or SF or SG with another pretty much affects one position. (And I'm all for it if they can import a good, defensively minded center). Bringing in a true PG catalyst can affect all five positions, and I feel that's one thing the Celtics need to do to whip the bench into shape by April.

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Re: Breaking Down the Boston Celtics' Best Trade Bait

Post by 112288 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:06 pm

Sam,

First Verejao, starts at center, KG moves tp PF and Bass comes in for KG, Wilcox for Verejao.

The experiment with KG should be over...he is best at PF to help the outer defense tighten up.

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Re: Breaking Down the Boston Celtics' Best Trade Bait

Post by sam on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:18 pm

112288,

Sure, that could happen. So the bench consists of Wilcox, Bass, Green, Terry and Barbosa. Same dynamic as I outlined. It's not enough to have someone like Terry or Barbosa who can fill in for a few minutes at PG. The bench needs a leader who's a catalyst.

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Re: Breaking Down the Boston Celtics' Best Trade Bait

Post by 112288 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:35 pm

Sam,

This could expand to include other teams as well. perhaps Terry gets into the equation in a trade package for a young gun like Tyreke Evans - 6'6" G on the Kings. he was drafted 4th and can score.

Games 18
Points/Game (PPG) 15.1
Rebounds/Game (RPG) 4.8
Steals/Game (SPG) 1.3
Blocks/Game (BPG) 0.6
Assists/Game (APG) 3.2


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Re: Breaking Down the Boston Celtics' Best Trade Bait

Post by sam on Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:41 pm

112288,

I'm not sure why we'd expend one resource to trade a shooter who's finally learning the system for another shooter who would have to learn the system from scratch when our main needs are at center and point guard. I realize it could all be part of a multiple-team trade, but they're pretty difficult to pull off, especially in the midst of the season, and I'm not really clear on the benefits of that swap in comparison with filling other needs.

It's clear that gaining chemistry is a major need for this team. Each new face added now would slow down that process, so there would have to be some major benefit to warrant that risk.

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Re: Breaking Down the Boston Celtics' Best Trade Bait

Post by 112288 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:54 pm

Sam,

For one salary, for two they may want the Jet. The team has not learned the defensive system.........so it cannot get worse.

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Re: Breaking Down the Boston Celtics' Best Trade Bait

Post by sam on Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:59 pm

112288,

There have been a stretches when the Celtics have played excellent swarming defense. They know how to do it.

Their main problem is that it's very difficult to do it consistently while featuring only one, half-time "big" intimidator whom other teams focus on forcing out to the perimeter. Other teams play pick-and-roll, move the Celtics side-to-side, and force mismatches under the hoop because (if he's even in the game) KG can't be everywhere at once. The Celtics' response in such situations is to collapse near the basket and either foul the (usually) taller opponent or leave the corners open for easy threes.

Even in the best of circumstances, the Celtics' defensive system involves a lot of switching, covering for teammates, lunging and recovering. The bottom line is ATTACK defense by creating the illusion that the Celtics actually have six or seven men in the defensive end. The mayhem that ensues when KG is not available to protect the basket forces the Celtics to react rather than to attack on defense.

I think a blanket statement that "the team has not learned the defensive system" greatly oversimplifies a rather complex problem that is arguably fueled more by a major personnel need than by a learning curve.

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