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Christmas is right around the corner, and the gloomy realization that Jeff Green’s heart condition will require season-ending surgery could not have come at a worse time.  The Celtics already have some glaring roster issues, as they lack depth at both wings and the center position. 

Also, with Paul Pierce already showing signs of injury, after missing last night’s scrimmage due to a heel bruise, the loss of Green’s versatility is undoubtedly a critical blow to the Celtics’ hopes for Banner 18.  As they prepare to open the season a week from tomorrow against the New York Knicks, the Celtics’ ability to cope with the loss of their talented sixth man during this strenuous shortened season becomes a central focus.

Pierce’s heel bruise likely will not be his only injury this season, and with Green out, keeping quality players on the court during the rough four-to-five game weeks will be a season-long struggle for Doc and Danny Ainge.  The decision to bring Marquis Daniels back to Boston has now become a key acquisition, as he will once again serve as the primary backup to Pierce, and will probably see his fair share of starting opportunities this season.  Sasha Pavlovic will also likely see some playing time and opportunities, but he is yet to prove that he can truly be a positive asset to the team.

The issue of injuries to veteran players due to the high frequency of games will almost certainly result in significant minutes for the Celtics’ younger players this season.  Rondo will have to continue developing his leadership ability, and play effectively both with the Big Three, and with undeveloped talents such as Avery Bradley, and rookies JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore.  Undrafted rookie Gilbert Brown could even see some playing time if Ainge fails to bring in another veteran forward such as James Posey for the veteran minimum, just in time for Christmas.
Losing Green is a big blow, and as fans we are now forced to put our trust in players who are young and unproven.  We will likely see frequent appearances of multiple shooting guards on the floor together when Pierce or Daniels is unavailable or in foul trouble.  Big men who are new to Boston, such as Johnson, Chris Wilcox, Brandon Bass, and perhaps even Greg Stiemsma, will have to try to fill the void left behind by Kendrick Perkins by embracing Boston’s physical mentality.  Meanwhile, bench scoring will have to become a collective effort from the young talents and new veterans, and hopefully someone can really step up as Boston’s sixth man and leader off the bench. 
The Celtics have not started a season in conditions this poor since before the acquisitions of Allen and Garnett.  Their obvious issues with depth and physicality may continue to be Boston’s Achilles ’ heel, and the lack of preparation time due to the lockout only makes matters worse for them. 
However, I refuse to believe that the season is lost.  The Mavericks proved last year that anything is possible with the right combination of hard work, talent, leadership, strategy, and team chemistry.  Furthermore, I would not be surprised to see the Celtics very active once again at the trading deadline, and hopefully Ainge can make some smart moves which address current issues instead of creating new ones.

Jon Jacobson 12/17/2011 04:54:00 PM Edit
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9 Responses so far.

  1. YGR says:

    Celtics don't lack depth at the wing position.. they have Allen, Bradley, Moore, Pierce, Green, Daniels, and Pavlovic. Take away Green and the depth still isn't that bad. We actually have a lot of depth because we have versatile players at each position. the only position we lack depth in, as you mentioned, is the center position.

  2. Cedric Kante says:

    travis outlaw our answer or Deshawn S.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Useless article. Feel better JG

  4. Phil says:

    Back in Fall 2007 the Celts supposedly had "no bench" with TA, Big Baby, Posey, Powe, Scal, PJ Brown, and Pollard. Each played their part perfectly and we got a banner. I'd love to see them bring back Posey, then see if the rest can gel together to make a legitimate run. I don't think it's likely but it's not impossible.

  5. Anonymous says:

    back in 07 our starters could play more minutes and more efficiently as well, phil

  6. Anonymous says:

    Travis Outlaw would be the right fit for this team.

  7. Larry Gales says:

    and back in 07 we also had Brown and Cassell

  8. celticgreen says:

    perfect time to sign Allen Iverson

    get well jeff

  9. Hung like Horse says:

    Gilbert brown very well could be a surprise

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