SQ #46--The Crowd Behind Ray Allen

Summer Quandaries #46
September 16--11 days to camp

The Crowd Behind Ray Allen

On June 18th the Boston Celtics had exactly two guards on the roster, both point guards, and one of those was a D-leaguer with an unguaranteed contract. There were no shooting guards. Two and a half months later and the guard position has become an embarrassment of riches. Behind the starters, Rondo and Allen, there are no less than six players, eight if you consider that both Paul Pierce and Tony Gaffney could play the two credibly. That means that the Celtics could field a team, two deep, of nothing but guards--talk about going small!

So why the glut? How did we get to such a point? How can this work and who will actually stick, and play?

Part of the answer has to do with timing, part with availability.
With the drafting of Avery Bradley, Ainge had a backup point, perhaps a two guard, or considering Bradley’s ankle and impending surgery, neither. Once Ray Allen was resigned the starter was in place and with Rondo at the point, Danny’s emphasis shifted to backing up both positions. Many, including I suspect Danny Ainge, expected Tony Allen to return, but Tony was looking for more time in the lime light and moved on to Memphis. Ainge shifted to the next on the list and resigned Nate Robinson, a circumstance that seemed unthinkable before Nate’s attention to defense got him out of Doc’s dog house and into the rotation in the finals. Next came Von Wafer, a surprise to most observers but a typical Ainge find/gamble/reclamation as size and shooting range were the missing ingredients in the backups on hand for Ray Allen. Besides with his partially guaranteed contract, Von’s signing not only brought in potential help but was an inexpensive insurance policy that allowed Danny to be patient is awaiting further developments.

In the next month Ainge flirted with Portland over Rudy Fernandez but finally backed away after no deal was available with Sheed’s contract and lacking the needed assets to both lure the Trailblazers and match salaries. Finally he added Delonte West, a former favorite but with his own baggage and risks. Again he mitigated those risks with a partially guaranteed contract. Danny’s considerable hard work had constructed a camp roster of non big men of:
PG Rondo, Robinson, Oliver
SG Allen, Wafer
SF Pierce, Daniels, Gaffney
In addition he had Bradley and West as combo guards, and Harangody as perhaps a combo forward.

Both players have some convincing to do. Delonte's 10 game suspension gives Von a tailor-made opportunity to make his case under fire. The biggest onus on him, other than demonstrating there is no ME in Ubuntu, is playing at least credible defense. If both pan out then their use may be somewhat situational with Delonte offering more ball handling and better passing, and Wafer more size and range. On the other hand I could see them being used together.

Picture not cloudy enough? Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Ainge has had Adam Morrison, Cuttino Mobley, Rashad McCants, and Trenton Hassell in for workouts. Thus far no reports of any offers, even for make-good at training camp, but you have to give Danny high marks for tire-kicking. Now there are reports that UMass forward Stephane Lasme, Southern Indiana's Jamar Smith, and LSU's Chris Johnson have been invited to camp. I think it likely that the roster for camp still will be expanded and I applaud Ainge for stoking the competitive fires.