Ok, we're all tired of this lockout business. But enough crying in our metaphorical milks. I'm moving on and assuming these greedy, privileged, out of touch owners and players figure out a way to split up their millions and billions without costing us too many "games that count."
I'm rubbing my eyes, getting up off the couch, brushing the Doritos crumbs off my smelly t-shirt, stretching out the limbs, splashing some cold water on my face, and going out for a jog. Metaphorically of course. How could I type when I'm jogging? I hate running anyway, I don't see the point unless there's a ball and a hoop. But I digress.
We've got a small roster and big expectations. So how do we make this work? First, let's take inventory.
Our starting five is all set unless Ainge finds a way to upgrade the center position or goes completely bonkers and trades one of the BIg 4. Rondo, Ray, Paul, KG, and O'Neal is still one of the top starting fives in the entire league (...when healthy. Sorry, but that won't be the last time that disclaimer shows up).
The only other guy under contract is Avery Bradley and we've drafted JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore. So we're going to have to get into the theoretical from that point on. We've got time to get into crazy machinations of the roster in the days and weeks ahead, but for the purposes of this article, I'm going with what I view as the most likely scenario. You are encouraged to disagree in the comments below.
I'm going to predict a lot of the same actually. Take our two biggest free agents. I'm 100% in the camp of "don't overpay these guys, if someone throws the bank at them, wish them well." I also don't believe that will happen. Teams will be scrambling for players and time will be very important. Nobody is going to want to wait a week with free agent money tied up in an offer to a restricted free agent like Jeff Green. He's going to take the qualifying offer and try to make good next year. Fine with me.
I also don't see Glen Davis getting the kind of cash he'll be looking for on the open market. I'm not nearly as confident about this prediction but I think ultimately he'll realize that undersized power forwards just don't get paid like 7 footers do.
Next in the reunion tour is fan favorite Delonte West. He got his start in Boston, he got his second chance in Boston, I don't see why he wouldn't be on board with another tour. He's still got difference-maker talent, but he's still got enough of that "handle with care" aura about him that will scare off other teams.
So, that gives us a lineup that looks like this.
PG: Rondo - Bradley
SG: Allen - West - Moore
SF: Pierce - Green
PF: KG - Baby - Johnson
Not a bad start. We'll obviously have to fill in the hole at backup center, with an eye on the fact that the backup could well become a starter at any moment. This is where things get fun to debate - as we did in the forums today.
Assuming guys like Nene or Tyson Chandler are well out of our range, you have to make a decision. Do you chase a bigger name free agent with the MLE (assuming there is such a thing) or do you settle for the scraps in order to preserve cap space in 2012? I get the notion of "going for it" while we have the Big 3 under wraps and perhaps on their last legs, but I think you had better find a guy that is part of the long term solution as well as the short term if you are going to toss that cap space away. If we were going to lock up money on a center, it should have been Perkins. But that ship sailed.
DeAndre Jordan is tempting but I'm not sure about him yet. Samuel Dalembert seems like a logical option, but I really don't like him. I think he stuffs box scores with blocks while breaking the team defense concept and hurting his team as a whole. He'll be great on Miami where athletes fly around making athletic plays without much cooperation, but he seems a poor fit in Boston's system.
So that puts us in the dregs, and I'm feeling strangely fine with that. This team doesn't need a star center, we just need someone to play defense and catch the ball when Rondo tosses it to him. Ok, that might be a tall task for these tall rejects, but you get what you pay for, and we don't have much money to throw around (this year at least).
Right now, I'll take any two of the following:
- Kwame Brown - probably my top choice and a classic Danny Ainge pickup (big name that didn't pan out but still has talent)
- Jason Collins - NBA 2K12 may rate him as the worst player in the NBA, but I think he can play defense enough to help out in a pinch
- Joel Przybilla - Hey, he's not as hurt as he used to be! Ok, he's not a reliable option, but that's why I want 2 off this list.
Beyond that, the list gets a lot more hazy for me. Is Jeff Foster still hurt? Did Dampier retire? I Fesenko more than just an internet sensation? Is Robert Swift walking upright these days? I just don't know.
Filling out the roster is easy enough if you just bring in some undrafted free agents (Ainge has already zeroed in on Gilbert Brown of Pitt). And if you want to toss in a retread free agent somewhere else on the roster, fine with me.
So, this got long in a hurry and I'm tired and ready for bed, so here's my quick projected roster.
PG: Rondo - Bradley - Arroyo?
SG: Allen - West - Moore
SF: Pierce - Green - G. Brown
PF: KG - Baby - Johnson
C: O'Neal - K. Brown - Collins
I think that gives us a legit chance at a ring next year and maintains cap flexibility for the following season. But I could be wrong.