We made it to the mid season point alive, barely. The Celtics have underachieved according to the fans but sit about right with the critics. They have faced injuries, suspensions, and lack of chemistry at times. I think this team will make the playoffs regardless of if they trade or keep this team together. I decided to go ahead and make predictions for every player on the roster for the second half of the season.
Ray Allen - Most likely to be traded
The draft is too deep this year to pass up the opportunity to move one (or two) of the big three. I still believe Ray Allen is the most likely to be traded because he is not as complex as Paul Pierce (history with Celtics, would take more salary, players and or draft picks). A team that needs an outside shooter, a 6th man, or a third scoring option could use Ray Allen in a heartbeat.
Brandon Bass – Most likely to make fans happy again
The Celtics have been a miserable 1-5 without their best bench player. Bass brings tenacity to the floor when he fills in for Jermaine or Kevin, bringing that change of pace element you need from the bench. Without Brandon, the scoring load has rested heavily on Mickael Pietrus, who is better suited a defender and three point specialist. Brandon coming back takes pressure off, not only the bench, but the starting line up as well.
Avery Bradley- Most likely to see more playing time
At least he should be getting more playing time in my opinion. When Avery comes in defensively, the opposing point guards freeze up. His ability to disrupt the flow of the game is amazing for a young player. It’s very crucial for the Celtics to have this weapon, allowing the older players to get back on defense and set up. I would also like to see Avery play alongside Rajon Rondo more, at least for spurts of the game.
Marquis Daniels – Most likely to release another rap album
Quisy is a fantastic lyricist with a flow that will get you moving. Clearly the best rapper in the locker room and might be the best NBA player to spit of all time. Don’t believe me? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ialO3YtVFIw
In all fairness, I hope Marquis gets more playing time. I always liked his game and could give Pierce a few minutes rest in some games down the stretch. If they Celtics are fighting for even the 8th seed, then forget everything I just wrote.
Keyon Dooling – Most likely to wear a suit the rest of the season
Keyon has been a great influence on the young guards. I do not regret having him here but if things turn for the worse, expect the Celtics to give more playing time to the younger players, trying to develop. Keyon will be important in practices (when they have some!) and might be willing to give up his roster spot to nurse minor injuries.
Kevin Garnett – Most likely to start a fight
Don’t you believe the Big Ticket is unhappy with the first half of this season? He has played great for Boston but he doesn’t care about individual stats. Kevin looks at the win loss columns daily. Something must be burning inside of him during this time off. Hopefully he will rally the troops for a second half run. If the Celtics come out flat, don’t be surprised to see Garnett do something wild.
JaJuan Johnson – Least likely to set a pick or screen properly
JaJuan has no “most likely” categories that I could think of. I really like his talent but until he bulks up or learns from Kevin, he will fail at setting solid picks and screens. Johnson is more of an offensive player, JaJuan looks to roll off picks too quickly or move off the screens before they are effective. I expect him to continue to work hard, as Doc has given him more minutes in appreciation of that effort.
E’Twaun Moore – Most likely to see less playing time
We are already experiencing this. Avery Bradley’s defense is more important than E’Twaun Moore’s offense. The Celtics have struggled offensively but their anchor is defense, which Bradley produces enough fast break points if the rest of the team runs with. E’Twaun is a good addition to this team for the future, as he inked a guaranteed deal as a second rounder, which is very rare.
Jermaine O’Neal – Most likely to finish season on IR
Do I need to fill anything in here?
Aleksandar Pavlovic – Most likely to play under 15 minutes after starting
Often Doc will start Pavlovic only to see that he played less then 15 minutes. He did this early on in the season when Paul Pierce was out. Pavlovic is an excellent bench player to have because you never know when he will be that needed spark plug. He can do it on both sides of the floor, which is why you always throw him out there to see what will happen. If nothing is doing, you pull him, if he can’t be stopped, you are in luck.
Paul Pierce – Most likely to retire a Celtic
The more I think about this topic the more I lean with the homers, the home town loyals. Logically it makes sense to look at trade options for the future (see after Bird era, although Lenny Bias didn’t help much). However, Paul Pierce has the chance to play his entire career with the Celtics, something that hasn’t happened since Larry Bird (excluding all players who would never have anything retired anywhere). Pierce is this generation’s super star, he has accomplished more then anyone ever thought possible. This city is grateful for having Pierce and he will always be one of the toughest and best Celtics to play the game.
Mickael Pietrus – Most likely to perform stand up comedy after season
Greg Stiemsma – Most likely to not return next season
Danny Ainge loves getting rid of young big guys. He traded away Semih Erdin and of course the trade we do not speak about. I don’t see why Greg would make this roster next year because Ainge will find new big men after Garnett retires. Stiemsma has played great and was a fun story early on in the season. I just am not convinced he fits in with this team.
Chris Wilcox – Most likely to end the season as a starter
Chris has been playing much better lately; the only player running for floor with Rondo it seems. Chris is finally getting into better shape, which shows with his increased minutes, productivity and confidence in the coach. I really liked Chris’ game. I even wrote about it in my season preview for the team, Jacob Noble
Rajon Rondo – Most likely to carry this team into the playoffs
Well this has been a bumpy season so far for Rajon, which we knew coming into this. With trade rumors swirling non-stop, the wrist injury and the suspension, Rajon needs to just focus on basketball and play with that attitude. That is what makes Rondo who he is, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. When he plays like he was disrespected, feels slighted or doubted, that is when he pounces. Lately, it appears that he has become relaxed feeling accomplished. Rondo earned a lot in his career early on that many won’t ever, but this team needs his hunger and desire to be better than Derrick Rose or Chris Paul.