2008-09 NBA Draft Kit: Boston Celtics Preview
Let’s switch speeds from the Division Rankings and start in on our team-by-team previews as we continue to roll out the 2008-09 RotoRob NBA Draft Kit.
Last offseason, the Celtics made the biggest splash of any NBA team, adding Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to brings its superstar count to three, and while Paul Pierce and the two newcomers each suffered from a fantasy perspective across the board by having to share touches, the team completed a remarkable rebound, soaring from worst in the East to best team in the NBA. Early-round playoff hiccups aside, this team that was built for a championship succeeded in its goal, bringing Beantown its first NBA title in over two decades.
The biggest loss this offseason is James Posey, an excellent outside shooter and fantastic defender. Darius Miles is being asked to replace Posey, but he’ll have to sit for the first 10 games of the season thanks to a drug suspension – an inauspicious start, to say the least. Miles can score, but he can’t extend defenses the way Posey did and there are plenty of questions about his ability to stay healthy and be a harmonious part of the team.
As long as the fire burns in KG’s eyes, this remains the team to beat heading into the 2008-09 season.
Projected Starting Lineup
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Ray Allen
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Kevin Garnett
C: Kendrick Perkins
Key Bench Players
Leon Powe, Darius Miles, Eddie House, Tony Allen, Glen Davis
House will battle with geriatric Sam Cassell for the right to be Rondo’s backup. The fact that House, with his excellent outside touch, is far more likely to see 20 MPG than Cassell is makes him the more valuable commodity. With Perkins still recovering from shoulder surgery, we could see Powe get some starts at centre, but if Boston opts to stick with a natural centre, then backup Patrick O’Bryant could be a factor in the early going.
Stud: The player I see taking the biggest step forward this season is Rondo, who handled a larger workload in the playoffs and improved his FT shooting while stepping up his distribution skills, averaging 6.6 APG compared to the mere 5.1 dimes per game he dished in the regular season. Still just 22, Rondo’s easy transition to full-time starter last year was a great story lost in the hype of the Big Three. I wouldn’t touch Rondo until the tier one point guards are off the board, but given even more minutes this season, Rondo has the chance to be a decent scorer and great shooter who will help you in assists and steals.
Dud: Cassell is back yet again, but at age 38, he’s incapable of logging more than 15 MPG, and that’s simply not enough to offer any fantasy value. After arriving in Boston in mid-season, he never shot worse. Don’t be fooled by the name.
Sleeper: Injuries have really kept Tony Allen down, but he remained veritably healthy last season, and should an injury strike Ray Allen, Tony could prove to be an extremely valuable option. He’s not a draft option, but is someone you will want at some point during the season.
Rookies to watch: J.R. Giddens was the Celts’ top pick, but I don’t see him making any significant contribution this year. Look for his name on the inactive list plenty of times this season.