Alright, everyone who had two or more of Keyon Dooling, Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox, Greg Stiemsma, and David West on their prospective Celtics roster raise their hand. Thought so. Danny Ainge has not only gone beyond, beside, under, and over the box, but I’m not at all sure he even knows there is a box. I had over thirty players on my possibilities list and the only one of those five making an appearance is Chris Wilcox.
I expected Delonte rather than Dooling but once the flirtations with the Fakers emerged, can’t say I’m surprised that Danny moved on. I was hoping Bass might be acquired when he left Dallas two years ago. Exchanging him for Big Baby seems an upgrade to me as Brandon is more athletic, doesn’t have stubs for arms, shoots the mid-range jumper at a higher percentage, and can actually leave the floor. Besides Davis’ play has fluctuated wildly, his flair for drama has been a distraction at times, and his tendency toward a bulging waistline has threatened his career every season. He may have a higher upside but I think the percentage bet is that his weight and ego will balloon more rapidly than his talents.
Part of the reason that the lockout was so depressing was that, in addition to billionaires and millionaires arguing about single season salaries exceeding the average LIFETIME income for normal Americans, Danny was going to be filling out more than half the team shopping in the bargain basement with a wallet containing only a MLE (and as it turns out a minimized one of those). Yet, if the David West move comes to fruition, Ainge will have accrued a more than credible second team along with a third team filled with developing players. And he still has that mini-MLE in his pocket!
Considering the packed schedule and the advanced mileage of the Big Three, playing 10 deep and beyond will be needed—desirable and probably critical. Not only will minutes be rationed even when the full complement of players is available, but it is almost certain that one or more of the thirty-something vets will be given a game off during back-to-backs(-to-backs) but also in 5-game weeks. And that is even if there are no injuries, something most pundits feel will increase in a shortened, denser season. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if the 15th player on the roster still plays a hundred minutes, or two hundred. No, I don’t think you will see Bradley, Moore, Brown, Johnson, and Steimsma (I suppose we will all be able to pronounce that soon) in the lineup together, but the rookies are 4-year players, and Steimsma has years of pro experience (and supposed improvement). If you are going to give Allen, Pierce, and Garnett the occasional game off, and frequent quarters off, then these end of the bench guys are going to be called on to eat minutes, hopefully without disastrous results.
Speaking of Greg Steimsma, unless Danny digs into the hat and pulls another rabbit out, and a very large one at that, it is going to be really interesting to see how Doc handles his big men. If the David West acquisition is finalized, Rivers will have five power forwards under contract to go with the D-league center. Looks like the Garnett-at-center era begins. Then again no Eastern teams other than Orlando and New York have a true center at the position, and even then the outside shooting of the Celtics’ PF’s will create their own mismatch pulling Dwight and Tyson out from under the basket.
If you know as little about Steimsma I, perhaps this scouting report from his time with the Timberwolves in 2010 will be of interest. Some pertinent details:
‘Looking at some footage, there are some good things I've noticed:
• A true center, a big body, a defensive specialist, and will fit next to a great post power forward post presence.
• Alters an incredible number of shots if they aren't blocked.
• Knows his role, doesn't play outside of his skill set.
• Decent lateral quickness, very mobile, can run the floor very well.
• Relentless and powerful.
• High energy/intensity and intimidation, plays with passion.
Now for the bad:
• His reflexes are slow, so Pau Gasol or Al Jefferson would score on him one on one, so a weakside shot blocker would be ideal.
• Gets in foul trouble
• A complete offensive liability.
• Developing basketball I.Q, much a work in progress but has made strides since his days in college.
Sounds to me a bit like Kendrick Perkins, which isn’t all bad eh? My green-tinted lenses do help, but I must admit I find myself cautiously optimistic—certainly more so than throughout the summer.