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In this lockout shortened season The already old Boston Celtics could look even older. Coach Doc Rivers will have to come up with some sort of plan to rest his veterans on back to backs... and especially on the dreaded back to back to backs.

As of right now The Celtics only have 8 players, and we're all assuming a 9th with Jeff Green. Of course among those 8 players are last years starting five, but the other 3 are Avery Bradley, 2nd round pick E'Twaun Moore, and 1st round pick JaJuan Johnson. These three players have to contribute valuable minutes in the regular season... there's no way around it.

Here's a breakdown of rookie minutes since 2007 under Doc Rivers:

2007.
Glen Davis (PF)- 69 Games, 13.6 minutes per game.
Gabe Pruitt (G)- 15 Games, 6.3 minutes per game.

2008.
JR Giddens (G/F)- 6 Games, 1.3 minutes per game.
Billy Walker (SF)- 29 Games, 7.4 minutes per game.

2009.
Lester Hudson (G)- 16 games, 4.4 minutes per game

2010.
Avery Bradley (G)- 30 games, 5.4 minutes per game
Semih Erden (C)- 37 games, 14.4 minutes per game
 Luck Harangody (F)- 28 games, 8.6 minutes per game

Only two rookies played over 10 minutes per game and they were both big men. Luke Harangody was third with 8.6 minutes per game before being traded, he would also be considered a big man.

This should give hope to rookie JaJuan Johnson who, like Harangody, is a 4 year college player. Johnson is considered one of the most advanced offensive big men in this years draft. He not only has soft hands around the basket but also comes equipped with a knock down 18 foot jump shot. Johnson is also an 80% free throw shooter. However none of these skills are what should get him immediate minutes in Boston... It's his long reach and defensive ability that will have people raving. JaJuan won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year behind his 2.3 blocks and 1 steal per game. JJ compares himself to Kevin Garnett and if you just looked at him compared to a 18 year old KG coming out of high school, it's not that far off. If he can pay attention and get under Kevin's wing he could be something special.

E'Twaun Moore is similar to George Hill, who played in San Antonio last season. Like Hill, Moore is a 4 year college basketball player who projects to be a combo guard at the NBA level. E'Twaun has a bit more size at 6'4" (Hill is 6'2"), and is coming from Purdue who is known for their defense and winning. It would help Moore that he was a 4 year teammate of fellow rookie JaJuan Johnson. The both of them should benefit greatly from being mature, older rookies as well as having each other to lean on.

Up last is 2nd year PG Avery Bradley. Coming out of last years draft Avery was voted by his fellow rookies as the most NBA-Ready defender. While Avery didn't get much opportunity last year, he did show that he will make opposing PG's work. In a game with Boston's D-League affiliate Bradley set a D-League record with 9 steals in a single game. Then on the last night of the regular season he gave fans a glimpse of his potential against the New York Knicks. Avery played 26 minutes, scored 20 points on 10-16 shooting, had 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Bradley has discussed how eager he is to get back and improve after missing training camp his rookie year. Expect an impressive 2nd season out of Avery Bradley.

The Boston Celtics are over the cap and only have a few options when it comes to acquiring more rotation players. If Rivers refuses to use his young guys and rides KG, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce... the playoffs will once again be short and sweet. If Doc sacrifices a couple games on the 2nd & 3rd nights of back to backs in order to give valuable experience to his youth... well then he could end up with some nice young athletic players to help in The Big 3's final Playoff push.

Jesse Dampolo 12/05/2011 03:36:00 PM Edit
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11 Responses so far.

  1. Louie says:

    JUST GET US A CENTER ALREADY....

  2. Anonymous says:

    We give up on rookies to fast. How do we expect them to perform playing in spurts? I still think Lester Hudson will be nice once he finds a home. I remember him giving Kobe the business when the Grizz picked him up. I also think Avery will be nice and that he and Rondo could do some damage with there defensive capabilities.

  3. JR says:

    I think JaJuan will get minutes this season. Probably more than Semih. I can't complain too much with Doc's rookie minutes. On a rebuilding team you can play garbage like Giddens, Pruitt, Hudson, and Walker minutes. Not on a contender. It's not like these guys have set the NBA on fire post Celtics. Avery Bradley will get a shot this season. Last year he was very overwhelmed. Not sure he's ready this season based on his poor showing in Israel and so so Summer here. He did have 1 good game the final game of last season. if you want to call that a game with all the starters and top reserves on both teams sitting out. Let's hope he surprises us this year. Personally I think he should have stayed at Texas and refined his game. The fool that ranked him the #1 HS player (over John Wall among others) needs to be outed and fired. lol

  4. I think the Celtics drafted well. I wish we still had Erden to log some minutes at center, he would have been solid an as importantly: affordable

  5. JR says:

    One training camp battle that will be interesting will be Moore vs. Bradley. I think Moore is an NBA player and what do the Celtics do if there late 2nd rounder is outplaying last year's 1st rounder?

  6. JR says:

    Yup Björn,
    That Semih trade was atrocious. I believe he recently injured himself overseas and is out for another month or so though. Hopefully Cleveland gives up on him and he returns to Boston.

  7. Jenda says:

    Luck (haha) Harangody easily outplayed Bradley last year but Bradley has just turned 21. He's very young and has a lot of potential. Of course getting rid of both big men rookies last year (yeah I put 'Gody in as a big man) for peanut was almost stupider than trading Perk away (you have to adjust the scales for that one).

  8. joserra says:

    We need a center, if we don't have it this year we're not going to get playoffs, even Philadelphia is going to beat us.

  9. Jay says:

    I really didnt understand the Semih trade last year...

  10. I don't think The Celtics view E'Twaun as a PG, i think they view him as un undersized SG.

  11. shelbyl says:

    @JR

    Semih was not just injured, he had a surgery on his right hand due to broken bones and sprains. Yet he is expected to return early January, though, so there isn't enough window for Cleveland to give up on him.
    ***
    About "playing the rookies" thing, we have seen repeatedly that the seeding for this Celtics team does not matter as much as health issues do so I would rather play the rookies and lose in regular season than bust the veterans' asses off to get a better seed.

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