Outside of the status of Kevin Garnett's knee, the most talked about Celtics matter of the last several weeks has been the second string point guard. To whit...do we have one? Why don't we have one? We should get one...is Tyronn Lue available? Are we REALLY going to roll with Marquis Daniels as our back-up PG? If so, who backs up Pierce at SF? Etc.
The thing is, though...we do already have a back-up point guard. His name is Eddie House. You know, the House that was the back-up point guard for the vast majority of 2007-08? Then returned in that role as the back-up PG for the vast majority of 2008-09? Yes, I know, each of the last two years we have signed a veteran big name point guard from the scrap heap in time for the playoffs...but if you look at it, did they really accomplish anything?
Sam Cassell and Stephon Marbury played roughly 20 games out of 82 in each of the last two seasons. Both shot well under 40% in their games, had some trouble handling the ball against pressure, and had few games when they added to the win total. Yes, I admit that at the time I felt more comfortable having an established vet on hand just in case but looking back, that's really all that they provided...a vague sense of comfort that the team had checked off a "need", but really not much else to the bottom line.
House, on the other hand, has been consistent. We all know that he's really a short shooting guard that has learned to dribble, but we also know what to expect from him. He'll bring the ball down the court reasonably well unless he's pressured by Lindsay Hunter, he'll get the team into the offense with an initial pass, then he'll play off the ball and knock down big shots. And really, that's all that the Celtics have needed or likely will need from him this year.
With the addition of Marquis Daniels, the Celtics now have a ball-handling swingman in both the starting and reserve units that could legitimately bring the ball down the court and set the offense if the other team presses the point guards. With Garnett and Ray Allen, the Celtics have two other non-point guards who have lots of experience running the offense for their respective teams. And that isn't even including Rajon Rondo, who is getting more physically ready each year to play 35 - 40 minutes a game anyway.
The biggest area where I would be uneasy going into the season with just House is injury depth. If Rondo goes down for an extended stretch and we have to start House, who would then be the back-up PG? That's a legitimate concern. But presumably the Celtics will have a lot of time before the trade deadline to evaluate Lester Hudson (if he makes the team), and if Rondo goes down they can look harder into acquiring another veteran PG.
But in the meantime, I think the team is set. They have the same starter/back-up PG tandem that has served them well now through 128 wins and a title, they have a plethora of others that can help with the ball-handling and offense-running as needed, and they are starving now after watching outside in the rain while the Lakers and Magic feasted last June. I, personally, think the Cs are more than ready to drive for 18 and I can't wait for it to get started.