Arroyo's Arrival Marks End of Welcoming Tour

WALTHAM, Mass. – Another day, another Celtics debut.

For the fifth time in just 13 days, the Celtics rolled out the welcoming mat as another new teammate joined them on the court for the very first time. Carlos Arroyo, who was signed to a free agent contract on Sunday, made his debut with the team at today’s open practice in Waltham, Mass.

Arroyo comes to the Celtics after playing the first two-thirds of the season with the Miami Heat. He had started in 42 of his 49 appearances with Miami this season and carries season averages of 5.6 PPG and 2.0 APG with him up to Boston.

Although those numbers are modest, the veteran point guard brings a very important talent to the Celtics – more 3-point shooting. Arroyo is cashing in his 3-pointers at a career-high rate this season by making 43.8 percent of his attempts. He is the third new addition for Boston who can stroke it from downtown, joining Troy Murphy, a career 39.0 percent shooter from beyond the arc, and Sasha Pavlovic, who has made 35.2 percent of his career 3-point attempts.

Arroyo isn’t sure why he went from being the starting point guard of the Heat to being waived, but he’s elated to have the opportunity to catch on with and play for the most historic franchise in league history.

“This is truly an honor to wear these colors,” Arroyo said as he looked down at his practice jersey. “It’s a team with a lot of history, a lot of respect around the world.”

Respect is often garnered by winning and professionalism, and those are two characteristics this current group of Celtics exemplifies on a daily basis. Boston has been a title contender for four consecutive years and has made it to the Finals in two of the past three seasons.

One of those trips resulted in a championship back in 2007-08, and the addition of Arroyo gives the Celtics a true backup point guard for the first time since that title was won. Eddie House, Nate Robinson and Tony Allen have served in that capacity for the majority of the past two-plus seasons, meaning Arroyo will be the first true point guard to back up Rondo since Sam Cassell was on the roster three seasons ago.

Such a fact begins to incite memories of that championship team, as this current Celtics roster continues to shape up in a similar fashion. Boston can now say it has a true backup point guard in Arroyo, a la Cassell, and a versatile backup swingman in Jeff Green, a la James Posey, for the first time since Banner 17 arrived. Those two new additions will allow Rivers to dip into his old bag of tricks and resurface some game plans that he hasn’t been able to touch since that magical championship season.

But even with Arroyo on board, Rondo will likely eat up nearly all of the minutes at point guard in the playoffs. Right now, however, that’s not what the Celtics are concerned with. They want Arroyo to provide stability at the point guard position off of the bench in the team’s final 21 games and allow Rivers to cut Rondo’s minutes down as the season winds down.

Said Rivers, “Hopefully Carlos helps, but right now, each night you have to choose between Ray (Allen) and Paul (Pierce) which one is gonna play the 38-minute night, because we just don’t have enough bodies. And Rondo is playing the 40-minute nights.”

Rivers would like to cut the numbers for that entire trio down to the mid-30s in order to keep his stars fresh for the arrival of the playoffs. Still, though, just because Rondo will be the main floor general in the playoffs doesn’t mean Arroyo can’t earn minutes as well. As Rivers told us, the newest Celtic is the one who will decide what type of role he fills in the postseason.

“We don’t know yet,” Rivers said of Arroyo’s postseason role, “because we don’t know how he’s going to play. If he plays great for the rest of the year then that will (decide his playing time). He’ll answer that question, I can’t answer that question.”

The one question Rivers can answer is if he’ll have to worry about signing another free agent this season and welcoming him into practice for the first time. With the roster now set at 15 with plenty of veterans brought in to fill out the bench, the answer is almost guaranteed to be a “No.” Barring any more injuries, this is very likely to be the Celtics team that heads into the postseason.

With that in mind, the welcoming tour has now come to a close, and it’s time to gear up for another championship run. With Arroyo now on board, the Celtics can prime themselves to make that run with a roster that is beginning to look eerily similar to their last championship team, and we’re thinking that’s no coincidence.