I know it's much too early to talk about next season but I can't help myself but to feel so optimistic about the Celtic basketball when Rondo and Sully are back. So I decided to put up what I think should be the Celtics line up next season.
I picked up some stats per 36 minutes for comparison.
*Based from 3 games played in Boston. Most number of games he played was in Portland when he was 22.
**Based from Charlotte Bobcats performance which is should be comparable to what we can expect from him
Rondo - Bradley - Pierce - Sully - KG
Should Paul Pierce and KG not retire and still be a celtic next season this should be the ideal starting line up for Boston. This isn't the best first five in the league but at any give night this line up can compete with the best of the best. You might ask me why I would start Pierce and Sully over Green. The reason is with my projected roster Jeff Green would be the anchor off the bench and should be the Celtics best offensive threat by next season.
However Pierce admittedly can do more than JG in terms of leadership and rebounding and would be the Celtics 2nd biggest offensive threat. I think he should retain the starter role until he hangs his jersey or gets traded. I would start Sully of JG because his rebounding is off the charts. Per 36 minutes this guy is a double double machine and guess what he's a rookie. He is bound to get better and I suspect he will be close to his per 36 minute stat line next season.
Sully will be able to help fix the offensive rebounding woes of this starting line up and would improve their point production. Sully is also no slouch on defense, often physical and willing to take charges. He also has a good jumper and can help space the floor.
Now to my main man, Jeff Green. Per 36 minutes he is closer to his OKC days point production. But he is by far more aggressive now. I suspect he will probably take it up a notch next season. He will have to work on driving to the left, developing a mid range jumper and rebounding but I think in a year or two he would be able to do so.
By that time, Pierce would have retired and he can take the starting spot for good. JG's production off the bench would be critical to a potential championship run next season. He could have the same impact when James Harden was in OKC or even the great John Havlicek if he embraces this role fully at least for the time being.
To support Green you will have the veteran presence of Jason Terry. Despite under performing in his first season with the C's, the team will need his leadership, confidence and 3 point threat to make this 2nd unit work.
Courtney Lee, however, should be the primary handle and the defensive anchor for the second unit. He can also do a little bit of everything, but his main value will be the defensive energy he will provide with his ball pressure.
Lastly, you may not all agree, but I would take chance with Shavlik Randolph at Center versus retaining Wilcox or putting in Fab Melo. Wilcox just drives me nuts with his inconsistency and the fact he can only score on alley oop dunks concerns me. At least Shavlik has a jumper and a potential 3 pointer (see CBA highlights) and most of all he rebounds! Fab is still too raw and might need another year of incubation playing for the D League or getting garbage minutes in games. He should be patient though as I think the C's are willing to invest resources in him.
Lastly for depth I would have DJ White and Leandro Barbosa. As much as I like JCraw, he for me is the most tradable piece off the bench. In picking LB over JCraw, I considered the possibility JCraw would not want to be have his minutes drastically reduced when Rondo comes back. LB, however, knows the drill and is as cheap as JCraw. I'd also trade Terrence Williams since I really can't figure out how he'll crack the deep guard position the C's have.
Now, how would this lineup potentially match up with the strongest team in NBA. If the Heat keeps their current lineup it should look like this:
Obviously Miami's starting line up is scary good. But their bench, not so. The C's bench should outdo their bench in any given night and should give the much needed edge to beat Miami in a 7 game series. That's if LBJ doesn't take up another notch and finally become a basketball god (he is a demi god as of the moment).
All in all I'm brimming with a lot of optimism for next season's line up. Obviously if we can spin Shavlik plus other spares like DJ white, Jcraw, Twill and even Terry for a combined package that can give us a decent big man so much the better. If not, then this line up is what I'd like to go far.