Boston's Roster Reaches 15 in a Hurry
BOSTON – Exactly one month has passed since the NBA’s free agency frenzy began. Rest assured that the front office of the Boston Celtics didn’t rack up much sleep during that time frame.
The C’s had just five players under contract for the 2012-13 season when the clock ticked to midnight on July 1. Two of those five players have since been traded, but 12 more have been brought in via free agency or trade. The simple math tells us that Boston currently possesses a full 15-man roster.
That’s quite an accomplishment in just one month’s time, but Danny Ainge and his group have accomplished the feat swiftly. Now they stand with a full roster that is likely to grow slightly before training camp arrives, and believe us when we say that people around the league are taking notice of this current Celtics makeup.
A Big Three remains in Boston despite the departure of Ray Allen. Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo were under contract when the offseason began, and Kevin Garnett has since been retained to complete a core trio for the Celtics. Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass will also be back to round out the starting five, and Keyon Dooling and Chris Wilcox are returning to the team as well.
The line is drawn at seven players in terms of those who will return from last season’s team that nearly won the Eastern Conference championship. But don’t fret about that fact – the players who fill the remainder of the roster make up quite a crop of talent.
It all starts with Boston’s major offseason acquisitions, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee. The duo will bolster the Celtics’ perimeter rotation with a plethora of skills.
Terry is a former Sixth Man of the Year and is only one season removed from winning an NBA championship. He will make up for much, if not all of the scoring that was lost with Allen’s departure, and many would argue that Terry’s offensive game is much more diverse than that of Allen. We also cannot discount the fact that Terry is regarded as one of the greatest when it comes to being a positive presence in the locker room.
Lee, meanwhile, comes to the Celtics eight years younger than Terry, but he is most definitely a seasoned vet. He has played in the NBA Finals, he has averaged 10.0 PPG during his career, he has shot better than 40.0 percent from downtown in three of his four seasons, and, most importantly, he is a phenomenal defender. If you want someone to compare Lee to, think of what Avery Bradley might be in three years, then add a few inches.
The additions of Terry and Lee were fantastic gets by Boston’s front office, but the team still needed to add depth behind its top players. The Celtics did that via the draft and then through great scouting, which led to the signing of two free agent youngsters.
Boston could potentially have one-third of its roster made up of rookies thanks to the avenues mentioned above. Its two first-round picks were spent on power forward Jared Sullinger and center Fab Melo, while a second-rounder led to the acquisition of swingman Kris Joseph. All three of those players showed great promise during both of Boston’s summer leagues and are expected to push for minutes this season.
Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith round out the crop of youngsters after they played their way into contracts with their impressive summers. Christmas was the most impressive player on the both of Boston’s summer league teams. He displayed a well-rounded game and drew rave reviews from the coaching staff. Smith didn’t rack up the same level of numbers as Christmas, but he is quietly regarded by some as one of the best pure shooters currently walking the Earth. Don't sleep on either of them.
Speaking of sleeping on a basketball player, many NBA onlookers slept on Jason Collins during last season’s playoffs. He was the incumbent starter at center during the playoffs for the Atlanta Hawks last season while Al Horford was out with a bum pectoral. Collins surprised many by performing very well in that role against the Celtics in the first round, shooting 6-of-11 from the field, grabbing 12 rebounds and playing solid defense during four games. He was one of four players to sign with the Celtics on Tuesday.
Throw all of that into one pot and you have the current Boston Celtics. Fifteen players, each of whom will undoubtedly buy into what Doc Rivers preaches in hopes of bringing home Banner 18.
Let’s also not forget about the possibility of Jeff Green being added to that group. He remains as a free agent but could potentially return to the team next season. If he does, he’ll only make this group stronger than it already is. And believe us when we say that it is already as strong as steel.
It only took a month, but the Celtics have gone from standing on unstable ground to sitting firmly in an elite group of NBA title contenders. That’s where they’ve been for the past five seasons, and that’s where they’ll be this season, too.