Call it boredom, call it conspiracy, call it just plain wanting the season to get here; but I've found myself playing a lot of "what if" of late, and I'd like to address one of these topics here. Recently, the Celtics traded C Fab Melo to the Grizzlies for SF/PF Dionte Greene, and I've found myself thinking "What if trading Fab means more?" It's this idea I wish to discuss in this fanpost.
Admittedly, I was not, nor am I a fan of the Fab Melo pick. Granted, there wasn't much to pick from at that point in the draft, but I would have much preferred to attempt to trade the pick as Danny has done many times in the past. He didn't however, and we ended up with Fab. Fab was many things, the topic of many jokes, the young Center didn't develop fast enough to be worth a roster spot this summer on the Celtics. What we did get instead, was an intriguing player in Greene, who has the potential to stick around for a while.
Now it could be that this move was purely a salary saving move. Greene's contract is non-guaranteed, and could be waived at anytime, but this almost doesn't make sense. The savings of waiving Greene's contract is minimal, and while it does get us under the tax line, it does not leave enough left over to sign even a veterans minimum. Essentially, what this means, is the only things accomplished by waiving Greene, are an open roster spot and getting below the tax line. Doing this would leave the Celtics woefully strapped of cash going into this season, with no ability to add to the roster midway through the season (remember the Chinese Connection).
For these reasons, the Greene move seems an odd one to me. It could be that Danny wants the roster spot for a later deal (a 2 for 3 move.) But we'll have to wait and see. For now though, let us ask the question, "What if trading Fab means more?"
Say what you will abut Fabalicious but he was the only remaining "traditional Center" on the Celtics roster. All other big men on the roster are truly more suited for the PF position. Bass, Sullinger, Olynyk, Humphries, Vitor Fav, and Greene (also considered a SF.) What this means, is barring any additional trades, the Celtics will be playing 2 PF's on the court nearly all the time. Even with an additional trade, I doubt we bring in a quality "traditional Center" the most likely players to be traded are Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee, Kris Humphries, and Gerald Wallace. I don't see any of those guys fetching the sort of Center we're talking about, so I'm betting we play 2 PF type players this season. This smells like small ball to me.
This probably comes as no surprise to many of you, perhaps I have been living in denial for awhile now, but the Celtic's seem primed to play small ball with their current roster. The entire roster is built with guys who can run the floor, and there is now a ton of shooting surrounding Rondo. We also have many "hybrid" players who are capable of playing multiple positions. Let's pause for a moment, and look at the Celtics current roster.
C- Sullinger, Humphrise, Faverani
PF- Bass, Olynyk, Greene
SF- Green, Wallace
SG- Bradley, Lee, Crawford, Brooks, Bogans
PG- Rondo, Pressey
Looking at the roster, all of the C's can also play PF. Olynyk maybe can play spot minutes at C. Both SF's are capable of playing PF. Both SF's, Greene, Brooks, Bogans, and perhaps Lee (spot minutes) can play the SF. All of the SG's and possibly Green (with the right matchup) are capable of playing SG. All of the PG's, Crawford, and Bradley are all capable of playing PG.
Looking at the Miami Heat, the most successful small ball team in the league, it's incredibly important to have flexible players on your roster. Bosh plays PF and Center, Chalmers plays PG and SG, and LeBron...... well he plays everything. Point being, the Celtics seem poised to play in the same fashion based on their player flexibility.
The major difference between the two, is the PG position. Everything runs through Rondo and his drive and kick capabilities are a major part of the offense. This of course requires great floor spacing, allowing lanes to open up for Rondo. Danny has made this possible by selecting big men who are capable of spacing the floor. Fab was the final piece of the puzzle to be moved.
While he has been working on on his jumpshot, Melo could not space the floor to save his life. Greene on the other hand, is more then capable of spacing the floor, even out beyond the three point arc.
All of this makes me wonder... Did trading Fab mean more? Does it show a paradigm change in the Celtics, and a commitment to small ball? I think it's possible... What do you think? Let me know, I look forward to your comments.