And just like that, we have a bench.
When our bench was just House, Pollard, Scalabrine, and a bunch of young or hurt guys, there was plenty of reason to worry. There was a big hole. Tony Allen was the 6th man and he remains a big question mark. If he plays with explosiveness and confidence, great. If not, then there was going to be a lot on the shoulders of Brian Scalabrine.
Insert James Posey and everything seems, …well, a little more rosy.
Posey is the sixth man on this team. He can provide both Pierce and Allen plenty of rest. He can play hard-nosed, lock down defense on the opponent’s best players, meaning even more rest for Pierce and Allen. And he won’t back down from anyone and is perfectly willing to mix it up (as you can see from these youtube clips). He also brings Championship experience to the squad. Basically he’s the perfect fit for what this team was lacking (aside from a backup point guard).
Somehow this actually makes me feel a little better about the point guard position too. Yes, I’m still hoping that the team finds a guy that gets cut from their current team and is willing to play for the vet minimum here. However, adding Posey solidifies the wing position which has a kind of trickle-down effect on the other ones.
House is really more of a shooting guard than a point guard, but he can play the position as a shooting point guard. Our starter really is a pure point guard and an above average defender to boot. Having a gunner for a backup isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially when Posey (defense) is subbing in for Allen or Pierce (offense).
This also keeps Scalabrine from needing to play small forward, which makes him more valuable as a 4, which leaves Scot Pollard to back up the 5.
On the other hand, as a group this bench is very flexible. House can play the 1 or 2. Posey can play the 2 or 3. Scalabrine can play the 3 or 4. Pollard can play the 4 or 5. Once Tony Allen gets back to full speed, that’s 5 legit bench players with NBA experience and versatility. We’re looking at a team that is 9 or 10 deep now.
Of course sometimes bad things happen. There’s always the threat of injury. Or some of these guys might not pan out the way we would hope. With the possible exception of Posey, I have reservations about all of them. House seems one dimensional. Pollard is a year removed from getting any playing time at all. Scalabrine should be better this year, but he's still Scal.
However, we still do have some youth to fill in the gaps where needed. Pruitt is a nice 3rd point guard to have around. Powe and Davis could both challenge for time in the big man rotation. Even Wallace or Manuel (for now) are available in case of injury.
I also admire the way that Ainge is maintaining salary flexibility. They could have used the whole MLE to sign someone to a 5 year deal. But they wouldn’t have enough money to sign other players and they would have been further in luxury tax land year after year. In other words, he could have made the same mistake McHale made getting a guy like Mike James. Instead, he’s added low cost, no-strings guys that might just surprise people. Especially if they gel as a unit. If they work out, great. We can always resign them. If not, we’ll try someone else next year.
This team will go as far as the starters will take them. But the underlying fear since The Trade was that somehow the bench would be their undoing. In one move, Danny made everyone feel a whole lot better about that situation. Ainge has to be the early favorite for GM of the year. He’s done a masterful job. Now the team just has to go out there and win.