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Daily Babble: Posey Becomes 'Our Boy'

Within ninety seconds of Hedo Turkoglu's improbable trey dropping through the twine on Sunday afternoon, I had already put a block and a half of distance between my residence and myself in an effort to walk off my fury rather than exploring its possible consequences around other humans.

It was at about that minute-and-a-half mark that I realized I hadn't even taken the time to put sneakers on.  So ended the walk.

Upon my return, I did what I do after each and every Celts game I watch and what would have done a lot more to calm me down than any shoeless walk could.  I called one of the two greatest mentors and influences I have ever had (can't disrespect the Mama Weinman either): Pops, known in some circles as The Guru.

After the predictable "This ruined my weekend" pleasantries from my end, and after The Guru was done with his patented Perk bash session (he has a truly special talent for this), he broke out his positive sentiment for the day: "At least my boy did well.  We could have done without him driving to the basket like a wild man on one or two occasions, but on the whole, it was another solid performance from him."

Can't argue with him there.  The man with the distinction of being anointed 'The Guru's boy' this season came through when this team needed it most.  He played excellent defense, logged big minutes in the frontcourt and seemed to answer every three that stretched the Magic lead with a bomb of his own.

And while the 16 points he scored yesterday may have been out of the ordinary for James Posey, the big effort and the enormous worth he carried for this team were anything but.

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I have to be honest: I had no idea about the treat we Celtics fans were getting when James Posey signed on board last summer.

Sure, I had a fair enough knowledge of the basics of his game.  That he was a good defender, a tough guy and a versatile player.  That he had become something of a three-point shooter.  That he could be a solid role player for this team.

Without question, James Posey fulfills all that.  But that doesn't even begin to cover what the guy is worth to this squad.

Posey's hallmark coming in was that he was a fairly solid defender.   No question about that.  At 6-foot-8 but just 217 pounds, Posey guards the three and the four extremely well -- at age 31, he remains one of the best perimeter defenders in the league -- and has the length and speed to guard off-guards when needed as well.  He may well be this team's best individual defender.

Offensively, Posey is a dream reserve for this team.  He is an unselfish player who knows his role and doesn't need to have the ball in his hands, and as a result, his low scoring statistics belie how valuable he is on that end of the floor.   Posey is an excellent three-point shooter, and his 38.9 percent accuracy from deep thus far this season is the second best figure of his career.  Given that a high percentage of his field-goal attempts are treys, his 43.1 percent shooting from the field isn't bad at all, a number validated by Posey's true shooting percentage of 59.2 percent, which also takes into account the fact that he is an excellent foul shooter.

But Posey isn't done at simply stretching the floor.  He isn't afraid to take the ball to the basket when necessary, and his long reach allow him to make a lot of apparently difficult shots around the rim.  He is surprisingly capable with his left hand, and he is deceptively quick.  Both on off-the-ball cuts and on his own drives to the rack, Posey has a much easier time getting by defenders than he is reputed to have.  Just one more pleasant surprise about his game.

And then there is the final bonus: the energy.  Celts games must have an average actual tip-off time way later than most around the league because every Celtics starter gets that awesome ten-minute, twenty-three-step handshake-hug from Posey somewhere between the bench and halfcourt.  When he is both on the floor and off it, Posey is always afire with emotion for this ball-club.  The latest demonstration: After a strong second-chance lay-up by Leon Powe in the middle of the first quarter yesterday, the ABC cameras cut to Posey waiting at the scorer's table to check in.  For a moment, he was a dead ringer for Kevin Garnett, Captain Intensity himself.  Posey was jumping up and down, his shooting shirt and snap-off points bouncing wildly, as he pointed and shouted encouragement at Powe.  This sort of thing happens all the time with Posey.  On the court, he will do anything, from playing the three or the four to diving to the floor for a loose ball to giving a hard foul to stepping up in the clutch offensively.  It is virtually impossible not to smile watching this guy play.

Granted, it is certainly possible that I could have been living under a rock regarding James Posey.  Perhaps a great percentage of Celtics Nation was well aware of just how complete a player this guy was and how not only was he a nice role player (as I initially suspected) but an excellent and incredibly valuable one instead.

I definitely wasn't.  In the midst of this season of joy, much as I hate to make his head swell, I can't help but agree with The Guru about how much of a wonderful surprise James Posey has been this season.

Pundits love to talk about the 'little things' guys that every championship team needs to have.

James Posey is one of those guys.

The Guru might have gotten there first, but count me on board, too.  James Posey is one of the boys in Beantown now.

And I couldn't be happier that he is one of ours. 



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