When I was growing up, like a lot of kids I collected baseball cards. I'd open up a package of 1987 Topps and flip through the cards thinking "got it, got it, got it, need it, got it, need it, etc." (I was sure that that Mark McGwire rookie card was going to be worth a fortune 20 years later). This point in the offseason feels a little like that. We have some holes in our lineup due to free agency, but we've still got quite a stacked lineup. Let's take some inventory.
Our starting lineup is stacked. It is the envy of most of the league. Very few (if any) teams can boast 3 potential Hall of Famers with Championship experience. The bench has some nice pieces already as well.
- Defensive Superstar and all around All Star – Kevin Garnett
- Slasher, Shooter, Free Throw Generator – Paul Pierce
- Long Distance Bomber, Veteran Leader – Ray Allen
- Distributor, Defensive Disrupter – Rajon Rondo
- Defensive Anchor, Rebounder – Kendrick Perkins
- Bench Rebounder, Hustle Guy – Leon Powe and Big Baby Davis
- Developing Point Guard – Gabe Pruitt
- Athletic Big Man – Patrick O'Bryant
- Athletic Wings – JR Giddens, Bill Walker
- Veteran Locker Room Good Guy – Brian Scalabrine (Not the most necessary role, but he's also got a contract that ends in 2010, so that's always nice to have in this market.)
So what is missing? What do we need to fill out the roster? Ainge talked about getting guys that can fill specific roles. Here are a few ideas of what we could be missing:
- Defensive Stopper – Bringing Tony Allen back for this role makes sense here, but he's not the only option. We need someone that can spell Paul and Ray and take on the other team's best offensive threat for a few minutes.
- Backup Distributor – Preferably a veteran, but perhaps not one as veteran as Sam Cassell. We need someone that can get the ball over half court and start the offense. If he can shoot too, even better.
- Solid Backup Center – I'm all for taking a chance on a guy like O'Bryant. If he pans out, great. But if he can't force his way into the rotation, we'll need someone to back up Perkins and Powe and Baby are are not centers. We don't need a scorer, but it would be nice if the guy could rebound and play good enough defense.
- Sniper – Ainge loves great shooters and we saw how valuable Eddie House was for us. He could be this guy again, and maybe with Posey gone he could squeeze another year out of Danny. But if not, there are other shooters we could bring in.
There may be more roles that I'm forgetting, but these seem to be the ones that stand out to me.
Notice that I named 14 roles for a 15 man roster. Also notice that some of the roles in the Got It section are duplicated. In particular the Powe/Davis tandem. This is why I still believe that one of them will eventually be moved to fill a role that we currently have vacant. Part of Posey's value was his versatility. To make up for his loss you have to add a couple of guys that fill roles that he played. There just isn't enough room on the roster for duplication.
Also, I don't think there's room on the roster to add guys that don't fill needs. Which is why I'm skeptical about adding Darius Miles but open to the idea of Shaun Livingston. Of course at the end of the day, you can't always find the perfect pieces for the limited dollars you have left under the cap, so you do the best you can. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out.
(For some info on specific names that Ainge might be considering, check out The Duke's article here.)