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Celtics 2010-2011 Preview: Guards

With guards Delonte West (far left) and Ray Allen (far right), the Celtics have a very deep backcourt and will hope to produce a lot of offense as well as defense from each and every one of them. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

When it comes to this year’s guards on the Celtics, you might experience some sort of deja vu. With some old players reuniting and others coming back after signing off-season contracts, this certain group of guys will definitely entertain you. From highlight-reel passes to Slam Dunk worthy dunks to 3-point game-winners, this group of guards can do it all. With the two starters from last season returning with the same roles, and even the back-ups already having experience in the back-up role, the need for any sort of transition seems elementary.

Starters

Ray Allen

He’s back for two more. I hate to admit it but after last season, it was definitely debatable whether or not Boston wanted Ray Ray back. He’s 35 years old now and isn’t getting any younger. After his breakout performance in Game 2 of the Finals last season, he was pretty much a non-factor.

It is said that the most difficult position to play as you get older is shooting guard, especially if your game revolves around shooting the 3-point-shot. As players get older their legs don’t give them enough lift to be able to hit that shot, and at some points last season, it was evident that Allen was struggling to hit his shot. As a good shooter knows, you have to keep shooting in order to get it back and he did, it just hit a wall mid-way through the Finals.

Well he’s back for a couple more seasons in Boston and he won’t disappoint. He is a big-time player and will always be a leader on this team, regardless if he’s on the court or on the bench. With a couple additions to the bench, Allen will certainly have more time to rest his legs and save up for the playoffs, much like Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O’Neal and Paul Pierce will do.

Allen will not be the first scoring option on this team, and neither will anyone else. If he’s having a hot-hand then I am sure that the Celtics will get him the ball, otherwise he will do his thing and hit big shots when needed. Oh, and he’ll nail almost every single free-throw he takes.

In some circumstances I kind of hope that he rests a lot during the season because when he’s fresh, he’s lethal. He has a chance to pass Reggie Miller’s all-time record of 2,560 career 3-point-shots made as Ray Ray stands at 2,444. So he does have a shot at history this up-coming season, but I think he’s more focused on winning a second championship, the 3-point record is just icing on the cake.

For the season I do expect him to play even less than he did last year and ultimately have a “down” year for him. He just has so much support behind him that he doesn’t have to be that all-star that he’s been his whole career. Numbers like 14.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, a 3-point shooting average of 44% and a free-throw percentage of 93% are not out of reach for the veteran.

Rajon Rondo

Regarded as the best point guard in the entire NBA (by everyone in Boston), Rondo comes into this season even more seasoned and ready to take this team on another trip. As every year goes by, Rondo gets just that much better and understands the game even more. His passing ability has gotten better every year and everyone knows that he defies the odds and rebounds more than almost everyone else on the team.

No matter how you look at it, he has improved almost each and every stat over his four-year career. The only ones he hasn’t improved are the ones that don’t matter to him (3-point and free-throw shooting). The most notbale parts of his game are what have made the difference in his development as both a player and a leader on this team. His assists have gone up from 3.8 a game his rookie season to 5.1, 8.2 and 9.8 last season. The assist has to be (and should be) his most dangerous weapon. His ability to distribute the ball is an important part of how the Celtics play and he should show signs of improvement this season as well.

For this season I project him to average a career-high in points with 14, dish out 10.2 assists, grab 4.0 rebounds and have somewhere around 2.5 steals a game. He might also shot his typical 50% from the field and hopefully he will hit the 70% mark from the free-throw line, not saying it’s definitely going to happen but it very well might.

Bench

Delonte West

I am ecstatic to have this man back. I know he’s going to miss the first ten games of the season for violating league rules and having multiple guns on him, but  still cannot wait to have him on the floor. I know that once he gets on the court it will feel like the three years he was gone never existed. I hated when we first traded him away for Ray Allen, even though it was a good deal, but it feels much better to have him back.

When he played for the Celtics previously he was the point guard on the team, until Rondo showed up, and he was pretty good at it. No he can’t pass like Rondo or come away with amazing steals like him, but he still adds much to this team. He will work hard, play hard, score some points and hopefully play some of the hard-pressed defense he displayed this preseason.

For him to come off the bench is huge for Boston. If he was on any other team there could be the possibiilty that he would be a starter. In 2008-09, he started all 64 of the games he played with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He even started most of the games he played while in Boston, as it was only until Rondo showed up that he was moved to the bench.

He adds incredible depth to an already deep bench. He will most likely run the point with Nate Robinson at shooting guard and I expect him to excel in his role. He’s played this role before on this team, only now he has an even greater opportunity to win. I’m not so sure that he will be in tight situations at the end of a game, but he might be with his abilitly to knock down the 3-point shot.

I predict that he’ll score around 8.0 points, dish out 3.3 assists and grab around 2.6 rebounds per game while shooting 39% from beyond the arc. All in all, I think Delonte will have a very solid season back in Boston.

Nate Robinson

The sparkplug is back for another season with the Celtics. This guy will be even more of a factor then he was last season when he was brought over from the New York Knicks for Eddie House in what was a some what controversial trade at the time. In the long run, Robinson adds much more than House could because he is able to score in bunches and drive to the lane.

Last season he didn’t play as much as most people expected and that couldv’e been because he was not mature while on the court and would try and win the game himself (and in some cases he did win games for the Celtics). Over this past offseason it has been said that he has realized when to be serious and when to be the prankster that he is off the court. His growth on this team is huge when it comes to giving the second squad energy and keep the team in the game. He has shown that he has a tremendous ability to bring life to the bench and even get the Celtics back into the game this preseason.

He knows that he is going to be on the bench and he knows that it’s his job to shoot the open 3-point shot and to play hard defense, both of which he has shown already. Playing alongside West will also be dangerous because both players are able to score and shoot from outside, something the C’s didn’t really have last year.

I’m being bold and predicting that Robinson averages 10.0 points a game this season while having 2.2 assists and 1.8 rebounds. He’ll also shoot 41% from behind the 3-point line. Oh, and he might throw down some ridiculous dunks this season as well.

Avery Bradley

This kid is someone to look at for but only in a couple of years. He’s practically buried on the bench and will only be used for defenses purposes, much like Tony Allen was. Since he is pretty far down on the bench, it will be difficult for him to get in games and make much of an impact on any game that really counts. He can score, as he averaged 11.6 points per game while playing at the University of Texas last season.

The one thing about Bradley is that he has a lot of talent. While in high school at Findlay Prep, he was considered by ESPNU 100 to be the nation’s top basketball player. He was also ranked by other organizations in the top 5. So he definitely has the talent, he just might not play too much.

I project him to average around 4.0 points, 1.6 assists and 0.8 rebounds per game. I really would really like to see him play more but with who we have on the bench already it might be a couple of years until he makes a real impact on this team.

Von Wafer

This is another guy who might not get too much playing time either, even though he’s already asking to be played more. The 25-year-old made the team over former UMass product Stephane Lasme and hopefully he becomes the scoring threat that he was while on the Houston Rockets in 2008-09, his last season played in the NBA. During that season with the Rockets, he averaged a career-high 9.7 points per game while shooting 39% from beyond the arc.

One of the things I will never forget was when he hit the go-ahead 3-pointer against the Celtics that ultimately won the game for the Rockets. He went 4-for-6 from 3-point land that night and I will never forget how much I hated him, but hopefully now he can do the same for the Celtics.

I predict he’ll average around 4.1 points, 1.0 assists, 0.9 rebounds and shoot around 42% from beyond the arc. Hopeful numbers for him, but he also hopes he is able to play more, that just might not happen.

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Discussion

One comment for “Celtics 2010-2011 Preview: Guards”

  1. Damn… long one. I got halfway through Delonte and my head hit my desk. Maybe its low blood sugar but I’m going to have to stop reading this one until later.

    Conquer this guy one half at a time…

    …Thats what she said…

    Posted by DanPitrowiski | October 28, 2010, 4:01 pm

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