Season Outlook, Player by Player

Celtics.com takes a look at the roster and breaks down the outlook for each player this year, in alphabetical order.

Tony Allen - G/F

Allen is still not 100% recovered from his knee surgery, but he's showing flashes of the athleticism that made him stand out in his rookie year. He prides himself on being a lock-down defender, and says that he's learning to be a smarter player now that his body doesn't always cash the checks his basketball mind is writing on the floor. While the coaching staff once envisioned him having some backup point guard duties last year, given the talent at that position he'll focus more on being a swingman. His timing still seems a bit off, as he's had problems with turnovers in the offseason, but the team believes in Allen, picking up his 2007 option last Thursday.

Ryan Gomes - PF

Riding the pine for most of the first half of his rookie year taught Ryan Gomes the importance of hard work, and success over the second half of the season didn't erase that lesson. Gomes spent his summer improving his conditioning and working on his game, and you'd be hard pressed to find a guy who worked harder. Doc Rivers always says that you forget that Gomes is a young player, because he carries himself like a veteran. And what might be most impressive about him is that he finds a way to score without having plays drawn up for him. He may be undersized in stature, but his heart and desire go a long way toward making up for that.

Gerald Green - SF

If you ask anyone about who's made the biggest improvement over the offseason, most guys will point to Gerald Green. Green has all the raw tools and ability to become a star player, now all he needs is time to develop. Initially known for his dunking prowess (he's already the odds-on favorite for the dunk contest at All-Star Weekend), Green has proven he can hit shots from all over the floor, and his midrange game makes him especially dangerous. He heats up quickly - think Vinny Johnson, as in "The Microwave" - and he could emerge as the second unit scorer that lights up opponents reserves. His defense has also improved as he continues to learn the intricacies of the NBA.

Al Jefferson - PF/C

No one was under the microscope more than Big Al this summer, but he looks as if he might finally be over the ankle injuries that turned last season into a lost year. Jefferson resolved to get himself in better shape and spent the summer working on his game. The result? A streamlined, sleeker guy who still has solid offensive skills, but now enjoys more quickness for rebounding, defense and running the floor. He spent countless hours with Clifford Ray on his post-up game, and Jefferson says that he's focused on "being a beast in the paint". He may also spend some time playing center when the C's go small.

Michael Olowokandi - C

Is that Michael Olowokandi's music? Where did he come from? All but written off by the media at the end of last year, Olowokandi was a free agent and no one really expected to see him in Boston this season, but there he was at Media Day at the start of October, on his own dime, sans dreadlocks, simply looking for an opportunity. Considered a long-shot to make the team, Olowokandi impressed with a renewed work ethic and some impressive shot-blocking in a few exhibition games. He's also a nice insurance policy given Ratliff's injury woes. While the Kandi-Man will probably have a limited role, you can never have enough bigs at your disposal.

Kendrick Perkins - C

Perk appears to be fully healed from shoulder problems that started in practice in early February and re-aggravated during a workout in late May. But he's struggled to stay on the floor because he can't stay out of foul trouble, something that young centers learn with time. Perkins has more offensive skill than you'd imagine, but his role is primarily to be an presence in the paint, or a "beast", as Jefferson likes to say. While he can block a shot from time to time, he's most effective when he's carving out space with his shoulders to control the paint and the boards.

Paul Pierce - SF

Pierce has had a rough offseason physically, but he's coming off the best statistical season of his career. Hopefully, he won't have to lead the Celtics in rebounding and assists, but you can probably pencil him in for at least 25 points a night, and you never know when he'll go on a tear like he did last March and start dropping 30 a night for a few weeks at a time. Still, he points to the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals run as his best basketball, and he's determined to bring the Celtics back to the playoff picture, where Pierce truly shines.

Leon Powe - PF

On NBA.com, he accidentally showed up in a few exhibition season box scores as "Leon Power", and that could become his new nickname. Rivers says Powe plays like a man, and he's had some impressive preseason games to back that up. He's not afraid to stick his nose in under the glass and battle for the ball, and that's an endearing quality to coaches and fans alike. Powe was a 20-10 guy at Cal, and while scoring the ball probably won't be his role, if he gets an opportunity to show his stuff, Powe could become a contributor.

Theo Ratliff - F/C

Ratliff has battled a sore back throughout training camp, and it's unclear exactly what he'll be able to contribute in the immediate short-term. He can still intimidate players in the paint because he's been a top-shelf shotblocker in the past. The question is, how much does he have left in the tank? He might not be ready by Opening Night, but the C's hope to see him patrolling the paint soon.

Allan Ray - SG/PG

The only undrafted free agent to survive training camp, Ray can be a lights-out shooter if you leave him open. But the biggest question about him is probably his size. He's not big enough to be a traditional shooting guard, and scouts always questioned if he had the ballhandling ability to be a point guard. But if we've seen anything in preseason, its that he hasn't been very aggressive. Ray is a shooter, so he must pull the trigger when he's open. His most likely roll is as a three-point specialist in end of game and end of period situations.

Rajon Rondo - PG

If you're looking for an exciting player, Rondo is your man. He's had several flashes of greatness in the exhibition season already, and he's shown that he can change the game when he steps on the floor. While he does seem to disappear at times, and he has yet to prove he can consistently hit the outside shot, he finds ways to score and gets to the basket effectively. When he's dialed in on 'D', he wreaks havoc on opponents with his ball-hawking tenacity and blink-of-an-eye speed. Along with Gerald Green, he should make the second unit fun to watch.

Brian Scalabrine - PF

With so many young players on the roster fighting for opportunities, Scal will probably have a tough time seeing consistent playing time with the second unit, especially considering his training camp shoulder injury. While he's gotten some of the range of motion back in the joint, he said before the last preseason game that he doesn't quite have the strength in that range of motion he'll need to be effective. When he does heal up, Scal might be best suited with a very specific role. He's shown he can play solid post defense against the Kevin Garnetts and Al Harringtons of the league. That might be his sweet spot.

Wally Szczerbiak - SG/SF

Wally might be as healthy as he's ever been in a Celtics uniform coming into this season, and his last few exhibition game outings were impressive. He's a great fit for up-tempo offense because he shoots when he's open, and doesn't hesitate. He has one of the fastest releases in the game, and his shooting should open up the paint for the Celtics new penetrating point guards, who've been racking up assists by finding him on the wing. Wally also recognizes a mismatch when he sees it, and will post-up smaller shooting guards pretty effectively. He still gets picked on by opponents because he isn't very quick defensively, but his scoring makes up for it. And now that he's had a training camp with the team, you can expect the Celtics to work in more plays that draw on his strengths.

Sebastian Telfair - PG

Telfair clearly enjoys playing up-tempo fastbreak basketball. He always looks to push the pace and is one of the best penetrating guards in the NBA. He can score with either hand under the basket, knows how to draw fouls and knows where his teammates are at all times. It might be a small sample size, but his 8-13 (.615) mark from behind the arc in preseason belies the previous knock on him that he couldn't shoot the ball.

Delonte West - PG/SG

D-West insists that he doesn't care whether he plays point guard or shooting guard; he just wants to be on the floor. And while it looks like he'll be playing the two-guard spot for the meantime, Rivers has even put him out there with both Telfair and Rondo at times when the team goes small. How much of that was experimental and how much we'll see in the regular season remains to be seen, but you can be certain that West will be on the floor. He could easily evolve into the sixth man role thanks to his shooting ability, now he just has to regain the shoot-first mentality of a two-guard.

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