10/14/2012 04:51:00 PM
Sometimes gifts come at the most unexpected times, and as the proverbial saying goes, "don't look a gift-horse in the mouth" and the Celtics are not one to look a gift-horse in the mouth. The Celtics have been gifted with young veterans’ like Courtney Lee and Jeff Green; as well as, rookies Jared Sullinger and Dionte Christmas.
Christmas so far has been able to showcase not only his shooting talent, but marked improvement in his overall play through summer league and preseason. It is very hard for any rookie, particularly an undrafted one to earn Doc Rivers’ trust. In the waning minutes of Saturday’s preseason game, there he was attempting to organize the final play. The previous he had penetrated the lane and found a wide open Micah Downs for an uncontested layup.
Downs happened to miss, but it shows his understanding of NBA schemes.
The Celtic’s newest shooting guard in his postgame interview told ESPN’S Greg Payne, "I mean, coach has that confidence in me. Sometimes he called me over and told me to get the ball, play in the pick-and-roll and try to calm things down and just try to run some plays," Christmas said. "So, I had that confidence. Coach gives me that confidence, Rondo, all those guys, they know when I get in there I can run plays. I don't just play the 2 or 3, I can play the 1 as well, so when a guy was pressuring Jamar a little bit, coach told me to help him out a little bit, come get the ball, and call some plays. But I thought, overall, we all did a great job."
He intends to build on it and make be a solid contributor to the team.
Boston seems to have enough at shooting guard with Jason Terry, Avery Bradley’s eventual return and the aforementioned Lee. Couple that with Doc wanting to have a big lineup of Paul Pierce at the two; well, you can see how that might leave little room for Christmas.
However, it is beginning to feel like it is Christmas’ time. Courtney Lee has parlayed himself out of a starting position. Terry has been the starter for the last two preseason games and that does not bode well for Courtney. I am sure Doc does not want the wear-and-tear that is sure to come as a starter for Terry.
Another thing that is in Christmas’ favor is that he has been shadowing Terry and the rookie has been soaking it up according to this Sept. 4th tweet.
At 6’ 5” Dionte can stroke the long ball and provide the Celtics with an Allen-type shooter. He will never be Allen, however he can fill in the blanks where Allen couldn’t. He can add size and youthful legs, where JET can’t. He also seems to display a toughness and more all-around game that I have yet to see in Courtney Lee.
We all know Avery’s return looms on the horizon and from what we have see so far, no one has done enough to stake claim to the two-guard spot. D.C. is not good enough to replace Avery’s tenacity and the teams overall efficiency when he is in the lineup. It is possible, that he starts eating into Courtney Lee’s minutes and earn a spot on the 2012-13 squad.
10/14/2012 04:51:00 PM