(Almost) All-Star break assessment, improvements, and trades

43 games have been played by the Boston Celtics. They are currently 20-23, and their most recent loss came after embarrassingly blowing a 27-point lead and losing in 2OT. A little bit past the halfway point of the season, and I think it is time to evaluate the Celtics at this point.

Rajon Rondo: The "leader" of the Boston Celtics, Rondo needs to step his game up. Right now, he is their best and most talented player, but needs to play with more consistency and help his team gel and step up.

Strengths: Midrange game is much improved. Best passer and pure point guard in the NBA. Has ability to take over a game.

Weaknesses: Free throw shooting % is the same as his rookie year, even slightly down. Cannot inspire the team to raise their game the way that elite players can. Shows little consistency and desire some nights. Gets up for big games on national TV. Seems to care more about stats than winning sometimes. Defense has regressed.

Improve by: Attacking the rim more. Collapsing the defense into the paint will open up looks. LeBron might be one of the best at this in the NBA. Take the open shot, and stop dribble penetration rather than going for steals.

Grade/Trade value/Trade likelihood: A-/HIGH/medium

Paul Pierce:

Strengths: Becoming a smarter player with age. Can still shoot the three well. Amazing footwork. Solid player.

Weaknesses: Seems to be "out of it" sometimes. Takes longer to run a play than needed sometimes.

Improve by: Limiting his minutes. Needs to be on a minute count. Looks fatigued sometimes, and his shot stops falling.

Grade/Trade value/Trade likelihood: A-/high/medium


Strengths: Defensive "point guard." Can see plays developing before they happen. Has transitioned well to center. Solid mid-range game. Celtics are a different team with him on the floor. Solid post game.

Weaknesses: Age is catching up to him. Passes up wide open looks.

Improve by: Not much he can do but discover the Elixir of Life. In the meantime, needs to take his shots (and make them). Could see him as more of a post player, sometimes passing out. Not sure if his body can take the wear-and-tear of that role though.

Grade/Trade value/Trade likelihood: A-/medium/low

Avery Bradley:

Strengths: Great individual defense. Underrated corner 3. Amazing quickness in and out of cuts. Changes the defensive mentality.

Weaknesses: Been through a lot with injuries. Not consistent offensively. Not sure if this is just me, but he seems to have sagged off opposing guards from full-court to half-court.

Improve by: Working on shot. If he gets a consistent shot, watch out. Comparable to Jason Kidd in that he was valued for one part of his game when young, and other parts came along eventually.

Grade/Trade value/Trade likelihood: A-/high/medium

Brandon Bass:

Strengths: At this point, not much. Decent all around. Good free-throw shooter, for what its worth. Good effort.

Weaknesses: Regressed from last year. Mid-range jumper not falling. Doesn't use body to rebound. Almost never looks to pass.

Improve by: Getting stroke back. He needs rebounding positioning lessons from Sully. Really. Might improve with more shots, but he definitely doesn't deserve them now.

Grade/Trade value/Trade likelihood: C-/medium/medium

Jeff Green:

Strengths: Can dominate game sometimes. Great athleticism for size. Improved player. Still working his way back,

Weaknesses: Not consistent as we'd all like. No specified role. Limited mid-range, post game.

Improve by: Developing mid-range game. Love to see him get more touches down low. Pick-and-roll? Get more consistency. Don't give up on him for his contract. Rebound better.

Grade/Trade value/Trade likelihood: B/medium/medium

Courtney Lee:

Strengths: Great individual defense. Great hustle. Developed mid-range game. Good in transition and cutting.

Weaknesses: Needs to get corner 3 going. Seems to hit set three, not as much when he shoots unevenly (foot kicks out)

Improve by: Like to see him attack the basket more; seems to do well in small sample. Develop more consistency. Reports say he spends a lot of time in the gym working.

Grade/Trade value/Trade likelihood: B/medium-high/high


Strengths: I'm not sure. Actually. Still a decent shot producer. Has all the intangibles and can hit clutch shots.

Weaknesses: Can see him retiring soon. Regressed from 2 years ago. Under-performing. Not hitting his shots.

Improve by: Finding stroke; after all, that's why we got him...

Grade/Trade value/Trade likelihood: C-/medium/medium


Strengths: Best Celtics rebounder. Great motor. Need to give rebounding lessons. Great hustle. Takes charges.Good in the post. Love him as a player.

Weaknesses: Limited outside paint offensively.

Improve by: Could improve mid-range game; remember him saying that he could shoot. Grow 3 inches. MORE TOUCHES AND MINUTES PLEASE!

Grade/Trade value/Trade likelihood: A+/hign/medium

Chris Wilcox:

Strengths: Athletic, great on pick-and-roll with Rondo. Finishes in transistion.

Weaknesses. Below-average rebounder, especially for size. Limited offensively & defensively.

Improve by: Rebounding lessons. Improve post game, defensive awareness.

Grade/Trade value/Trade likelihood: C-/low/low

Leandro Barbosa:

Strengths: Best on team at creating own shot; always gets penetration. Would rather have him over JET at this point

Weaknesses: Defense suspect, one mode only

Improve by: Better defense, look to kick out after getting penetration

Grade/Trade value/Trade likelihood: B-/medium/medium

Jason Collins:

Strengths: Great pick setter, big man on small team

Weaknesses: Everything else - limited offensively/defensively

Improve by: At the stage of role player/bench warmer; little improvement likely

Grade/Trade value/Trade likelihood: C/none/low

Fab Melo:

Strengths: Shot blocking, athletic big man

Weaknesses: poor awareness, no offensive skill

Improve by: developing in Portland

Grade/Trade value/Trade likelihood: Incomplete/medium/medium

Trade targets:

Timothy Mozgov (C), Denver, 3 million: out of rotation in Denver, solid, young, serviceable big. Low salary and lack of bad contracts by Denver makes it hard to facilitate trade

Marcin Gortat (C), Phoenix, 7 million?: Phoenix in rebuilding mode. Gortat is a solid rebounder, good post player. Getting older.


Spencer Hawes (C), Philly, 6.5 million: Bass for Hawes? Isn't great, but has size and rebounding ability. Philly is trash now and might be selling.

Samuel Dalembert (C) Bucks: Solid rebounder and defender.

I've only been tracking bigs, but we also need backup point guard, and could trade a SG and a PF (aka Terry/Barbosa and Bass). Weak draft class this year; wouldn't mind dumping our first.

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