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For the next few weeks as the Celtics’ training camp moves on, I’ll take a look at what to expect in each set of positions. I’ll start with the bench players and then look at the potential starting five for the upcoming 08-09 season. First I’ll take a look at the guards that will be present on the bench.
Key Departures: None
Key Arrivals: J.R. Giddens
The Cast: Eddie House, Tony Allen, J.R. Giddens, Gabe Pruitt, Sam Cassell?
With only the addition of J.R. Giddens to the guards on the bench, the Celtics look to have a formidable set up back-ups for Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen. I project seeing Eddie House and Gabe Pruitt as Rondo’s back-ups while Allen and Giddens will most likely back up Ray Allen. Cassell is still a question mark in my mind, due to the fact that he has only signed an unofficial contract thus far and the terms of it are still unknown.
House proved that he can play like a shooting guard and point guard at the same time last season as well as the ability to catch and shoot the ball quickly. His strong points include knocking down three pointers and his quickness on the floor. His major weakness is his ball-handling ability, but due to his size he still remains a point guard.
Gabe Pruitt looks to spend his first full season in the NBA this upcoming year. From what has been seen of Pruitt, he looks like he will develop into a very well-rounded point guard that can put up a lot of points as well as dish out the assists. Rondo went through a similar development and is still developing himself. It will be nice to have a young corps at the point guard position for this season.
Tony Allen has shown so much potential the last few seasons, and now it is time for him to put it to good use. With Allen’s injuries behind him I predict a strong season for him. T.A. will step up as a leader and scorer after James Posey’s departure. I believe Allen can get back to his playing ability that he displayed when Paul Pierce was injured during the 06-07 season.
J.R. Giddens, the top pick for the Celtics in the 2008 Draft, is a capable scorer and rebounder. He can dish out assists as well as shoot the three pointer, as he showed many times at New Mexico. Giddens was fourth in scoring in the Mountain West Conference and first in rebounding during his senior year at school. Whether or not Giddens spends the entire season in the NBA or part of it in the D-League is yet to be known.
Last but not least is veteran point guard Sam Cassell. Cassell has slowed down a lot in last few seasons, but will still try to compete with the younger guards Eddie House and Gabe Pruitt for a spot on the Celtics’ opening night roster. Cassell has provided leadership and necessary experience in the playoffs since his time with the C’s. His contract details are still unknown, but it is known that Cassell would like to play one last season in Boston, then become an assistant coach to Doc Rivers.
There will be some other names playing at guard throughout the season, but these guys will make up the main crop of players available when Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo need a rest. Some are situational type players and others could become starters if something drastic happened.
In the next preview, the forwards on the bench will be examined.