Ainge has crossed a number of items off his to-do list this summer. Veteran big man off the bench; check. Backup wing player to give Pierce and Ray more rest; check. More depth for the frontcourt; check. Down on the list but not to be overlooked is the backup point guard position.
Sure, Rajon Rondo is young and in theory he can log longer than average minutes. But what is the point in running him down all year and expecting him to step up in the post season? And how about the sprained ankles that seemed to happen every other week for a stretch last year? You need a guy you can plug in for long minutes if and when Rondo misses some games here and there (or worse).
The summer clock is ticking away and there's no obvious solution presenting itself. So it is only natural to start thinking up creative solutions and trying to guess at what the Celtics might do if they just can't find a backup for the right price. It is my sincere hope that those ideas are just fodder for message board discussion and not actually being considered seriously in Waltham. Here are some options and a few reasons why I don't like them.
Let Eddie House give it another shot:
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Cue the Who... "I won't be fooled again."
If the last two years have proven anything, it is that Eddie House is a shooting guard, period. Can he be a 3rd string guy or a situational matchup solution? Absolutely. Is he a long-term answer? Negative. Let's just move on.
Speaking of the last two years...
Bide time until the trade deadline and pick up a guy that was waived:
Sam Cassell is not walking through that door. I don't yet know if Stephon Marbury is walking through that door, but if he does, it will be in training camp, not February. I have no idea who might be available 6 months from now but I know I don't want to wait that long to find out.
Let Marquis Daniels give it a shot:
First of all, if anyone is curious why this keeps coming up, just blame Don Nelson. During Marquis' rookie season Steve Nash came down with a stomach flu. Non-conformist Nelson threw Daniels into the lineup and the kid responded with "14 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists followed by a 16 point, 7 rebound and 8 assist game in a loss against the T-Wolves the next night." (according to Wikipedia)
So why not let him try it again? For one thing, because nobody's tried it again and there's probably a reason for that. He's probably just better off as a wing player. I'm all for versatility and I think it is great that he can help out in a pinch, but just like with House, I don't see him as a long term solution.
Give the job to Lester Hudson:
Perhaps the wording of this option is a bit unfair. You typically don't hand the job to a rookie and you seldom count on the 58th pick. Can he run the point? Maybe he'll grow into that job someday, but I find it hard to believe that he can make the transition this year. I find it even harder to believe that he'll be activated on this roster ahead of 2 or 3 other guys. But who knows? Maybe he can make believers of us all. You just can't count on that right now.
If you think he can compete for the job, you still have to bring in a couple of castoff vets to compete for the job with him in training camp. Still, you are rolling the dice on any of those guys.
The Better Solution:
I'm hoping that Ainge has talked to a number of point guard solutions that are playing the market, waiting to see if they can get anything more than the vet minimum. As the summer winds down, agents will start doing the math and realize that there's a limited number of seats and advise their clients to sit down before the music cuts off.
That doesn't mean that Danny can't get creative. He might try to give Jason Williams one last roll of the dice. He might opt for Starbury round 2. He might even try to resurrect Tinsley's image. Or maybe he'll just bring in KG's BFF Ty Lue and call it a day. Who knows? As long as the guy has played in the league as an NBA point guard I'll consider it a better solution than any of the above.