Half Way On and Half Way Off – The Celtic Bench

red.jpgWhat!!!!!!!!! We are halfway through the season. Seems a bit fast doesn’t it? I must have nodded off for a bit. I have felt only a little pain this year. I have only woke up seven times this season feeling poorly (from the game anyway) Only seven times that I did not want to read this blog, read the morning paper, or my buddy’s email, who after every loss emails me saying "what happened to your great Celtics?". Anybody wanna guess my response? 

Every sportswriter East of LA will write about the first half of the successful Celtic season. They will be using plenty of KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen "Big Three" analysis. They will be writing stories chocked full of great Celtic tidbits flowing like enchanted bread crumbs in Scott Pollards beard. But not me!!!!! Oh no not me. I am not a sportswriter (hard to get your head around that thought isn’t it?). Instead, I am using this half-way point of the season to write about the Celtic bench baby? That’s right ….the Celtic bench. You have to write about what you know, and I know "the pine" like Ricky Davis knows about being in last place.  

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The much questioned, much maligned, Celtic bench has completed half of the journey and we need to look down the bench and see what Doc sees………..hmmm….OK, on second thought, let’s look down the bench and see what I see with these old jaded eyes of mine, covered in cheap reading glasses and a green haze still hanging around from the 1960’s and 70’s. 

When I look at the bench, I do have to admit it doesn’t look deep/long, and yet I am one of those people who is also scared to death to put another body on that bench. A body that turn might tip the whole thing over with a big ego, big butt and bad chemistry. I also look down the bench and don’t see roots growing out of any one the players shoes. Doc so far has not been timid about substitutions. While I don’t think Doc could sell many "Coach Better Basketball" DVD’s entitled "Substitution Patterns Demystified" I still have to give him some credit (not much but some) for using the bench fairly wisely. It’s hard to argue with this half-season record, and the bench has contributed to more than one win so far. 

I want to look at money and bench statistics. Why money and statistics? I really like talking about money that’s why. I also really like making statistics fit and support my own crazy biases. 

The combined annual salary of our bench players this season is approximately $12,622,777. That is only 53% of KG’s salary. The bench only earns 17% of Wyc and Co. total  salary based player overhead this year. The grand total of all salaries this season is $74.6 million. Let’s look at what one gets for that 17% of total salary overhead otherwise known as the Celtic Pride Bench. 

James PO-sey – He is the highest paid player off the bench at $3.2 million. When you can hug all those teammates for 82 games and whisper something sweet in their ears before every game, I guess I am OK with that #1 bench player dollar ranking. I would actually give 100% of my salary on the blog (same as Powe’s jersey number) just to know what Posey says every game to each player. Does he mix it up? What does he say to Tony Allen when Tony starts a game? "Keep it real out there bro, and try and dribble below eyebrow level"  

Posey is averaging 7.0 Points per Game, 4.2 Rebounds Per game, and 1.3 Assists and .7 Steals per game. If I add all those categories up using my "special math" it is 13.2 Total "Master Po" Points.  He makes $39,097 per game so he makes $2,962 per PO point per game. I would give him a B- so far this year. Good hustle, Good teammate, accepts his role, pretty good consistent defense and I feel good with him on the court. He could use more aggressive "paint points" and quit shooting so many threes for my taste, but I like this guy. It is important to have your "sixth" man accept his role, play hard when called, and keep waving the towel. He fits the bill at about 22 minutes per game. Doc has used him well I think. 
 

Brian Scalabrine – He is the second highest paid player off the bench. This virtual powerhouse makes a nice round (the operative word here) $3 million this season. He is averaging 1.9 points per game, 1.4 rebounds per game, .7 assists, and .1 steals per game. He averages about 9 minutes per game and some would say about 9 minutes too many. If I add all these up he gets 4.1 Master Po points. At $36,585 per game that comes to $8,923 per PO Point per game on average. Thank God for all those intangibles… otherwise ……well we might have overpaid. The grade I would give is a D-. He has a good attitude and so he isn’t flunking. Give me three million and I could have a good attitude and even show up with a tan to keep the white glare down on the bench. 

Tony Allen – He is the third most expensive player off the bench, and the most difficult for me to judge. Great recovery from one year ago, he attacks the basket, he plays hard, and he looks better every game in terms of his explosiveness and defense. On the other hand, he causes me more undue hair loss in big moments when he has the ball. He can’t play PG, he is a poor dribbler, and for every good thing he does there is seemingly an unfocused Tony mistake waiting to negate that good thing he just did. Still…..his performance just prior to his injury last year keeps me hoping he makes our bench a strong force for the playoffs. Tony can be good enough to command big attention from other teams and provide the needed rest for PP and Ray Allen as the season progresses.  

He averages 5.9 points per game, 2.1 rebounds per game and 1.4 assists per game (he has more turnovers per game than assists by the way...not good) He is playing about 17 minutes per game. He makes $1,868,141 this season (no contract next year yet) or $22,782 per game. He has 9.4 total Master PO points so that comes to about $2,423 per PO point per game. That is the lowest so far and therefore the good monetary value on my scale. Overall, Tony Allen looks good in a Celtic uniform, he has climbed a big recovery mountain, he keeps working hard, and he could become our secret weapon alongside Big Baby if he keeps improving. Tony gets a "B" in my classroom for our bench players. Keep studying Tony!!! Take your medication, don’t dribble too much unless you are attacking the basket in a half-court set and above all FOCUS. 

Eddie House – When I first heard we acquired this House guy, the thought of a sub-prime mortgage danced in my head. I did not know much about him so I thought Danny had once again had slipped and fallen out on the free-agent lawn. I have been pleasantly surprised by Eddie House. I think he does a decent job of running the point, and he is a solid two-guard off the bench. He shoots too many threes (they all do for me) and I still miss my boy Delonte, but Eddie is solid.  

I am surprised to see that Eddie $ Money only makes $1,500,000 this season and is a free agent next season. Eddie averages 8.1 points per game, 2.4 rebounds per game, and 1.8 assists per game (this gives him a positive 2 to 1 Assist to Turnover ratio and I like that). He is shooting 40% from the field. His total Master PO Point (PPG+ RPG + APG) is 12.3. He makes $18,293 per game so that equates to $1,487.21 per PO Point per game. This is no sub-prime House mortgage! This guy is worth every penny so far. He is not going to take over and win games for us, but he isn’t going to lose many for us either. Grade B+ for this keeper.      

garnett_davis_rome400300.jpgBig Baby Glen Davis – Everyone is so impressed with this guy - including me. A baby wears Pampers and an old man wears Depends. I am not sure what Big Baby wears, but keep snuggin those Huggies up tight Glen and don’t change your diaper or your style.  

It is hard to use too much hyperbole. This dude changes the energy of the game as soon as he enters it. Height? Hasn’t mattered yet has it? He finds the ball, he gets to the right spot for the KG or Paul Pierce pass and this Big ole Baby can take an charge and never cry. He has a knack for quirky shots that go in, and if he could ever show off his feathery jump shot touch from about 15-20 feet out he can even change the game for us even further. So far this is the "bench player of the year" for Celtics. 

He makes $427,163 for the whole season (2 games for KG) and will make a whopping $711,517 next season. Big Baby averages 4.6 points per game, 2.6 rebounds per game and .3 assist per game. Here is the kicker …….he only averages 12 minutes per game and that is something I can’t understand. Doc what are you thinking????? Good Lord Doc. Scali has 9 minutes per game he can donate – he isn’t using them anyway. Using my crazy math, that is 7.8 Master PO points per game. He makes $5,209 per game or $668 per PO point per game. If Big Baby Davis energy value was packaged and sold at NBA stores you couldn’t keep him on the shelves. Attention K-Mart Shoppers we have Blue (Green) light special on Aisle 11.  

Big Baby is Grade "A" beef with a side order of rebound-shaped potatoes.

 

I will need to save Leon PO(we),  Planet Pollard and the Enchanted Forrest plus Gabe Pruitt for another day because I need to rest my throbbing swollen thumbs.  

In closing, let me say the much criticized Celtic bench looks pretty good to me at game 41. Could it be too weak, too thin at playoff time? Perhaps it will. Do we need a PG? Is there a trade in the wind by the trade deadline? Do we need to add a "banger"? The list goes on and on. I am not on that committee unfortunately.  

Let me leave you with these words of Mr. Bob Dylan for the second half of the season: 

The trail is dusty

And my road it might be rough,

But the better roads are waiting

And boys it ain't far off. 

Trails of troubles,

Roads of battles,

Paths of victory,

We shall walk. 

I walked down by the river,

I turned my head up high.

I saw that silver banner'

That was hangin' in the sky.
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