Call me a Negative Nancy, a Debbie Downer or a Michael Felger, but there's almost always some bad news to every seemingly positive story.
JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore have been members of the Boston Celtics for about a day and a half and the reaction from Celtics fans seems to be mostly positive. Then again, it's hard not to be positive when all you've heard about since May is how weak this draft class was and then Danny Ainge nonchalantly picks up two four-year college players--his kind of guys--who have track records of winning. As fans, media and bloggers discuss whether or not Johnson and Moore could possibly make an impact, there's one thing that people aren't discussing.
Which two guys will be bounced out of Boston to make room for the new rookies?
I know, I know. I'm raining on the draft parade. But it's a legitimate question to ask. Roster spots on NBA teams don't just appear out of thin air. Trust me, I just had to suffer through another year of not getting an invite to be on a roster and I'm not getting any younger. The Celtics currently only have six players under contract (Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Jermaine O'Neal, Avery Bradley) and one restricted free agent in Jeff Green who is almost guaranteed to return according to everyone in the Celtics front office. Add Johnson and Moore to the mix and that means that there are six spots up for grabs.
Now I'm assuming that both former Boilermakers are going to make the team because, silly me, I've decided to take Ainge at his word. There are guys from this past season, like Troy Murphy and Sasha Pavlovic, who aren't expected to return next year and won't be cried over. There's another guy, Delonte West, who the Celtics would love to see come back for at least another season. There are another couple of players, like Shaquille O'Neal and Nenad Krstic, who have decided to retire and eats large quantities of food or go play other Euros in Russia.
That leaves three players in question: Carlos Arroyo, Von Wafer and Glen Davis. The Celtics have expressed some interest in Arroyo mostly because they've spent three years searching for a backup point guard and they don't fully trust Bradley with that responsibility, nor should they. So by process of elimination, Wafer and Davis look like the two guys who are going to suffer the most from the way that the draft played out.
Then again, common sense probably could have told you that.
Davis has seemingly been on a mission this offseason to make the Celtics give up on trying to sign him. When I wrote about this a few days ago, it was very apparent that his mission had succeeded with fans. With the selection of Johnson, it looks like the Celtics are fully prepared to move on. Some of the things that Johnson brings to Boston--height, athleticism and not being overweight--are in stark contrast to everything that will be leaving Boston if and when Davis bounces out of town.
In the meantime, Wafer was more or less a model citizen during his short stay with the Celtics besides his little brouhaha with West at the beginning of the year. He grew from a straight shooter into a guy who constantly went to the hoop and was aggressive. Injuries hurt him--both physically and in terms of playing time--late in the season and probably spelled his ultimate doom. Well, that and the fact that he couldn't play defense if his life depended on it.
The Celtics have been searching for the next Tony Allen or James Posey since, well, Tony Allen and James Posey. They've been searching for that guy who could be a defensive presence on the perimeter. Wafer wasn't that guy and the Celtics knew that going in. Moore is known to have a defense-first mentality and quite possibly could be that Tony Allen type of player, which is more in line with the Celtics' mentality than what Wafer could give them.
We won't know if Johnson and Moore can actually fill the roles that the Celtics need them to fill for a while. It won't be until two guys that helped the Celtics win 56 games this past season are long gone.