Tony was in town to sign his contract yesterday, so the local scribes all have stories on him.
A few papers have the key quote by Ainge:
"We just think he is healthy now," said Ainge, who sounded relieved to be through with the bargaining process. "We (knew) there would be a transition last year when he came into training camp with a leg brace and wasn’t 100 percent healthy or mentally confident in his leg.
"By the end of last season we thought he had turned the corner and Doc (Rivers) and I both think he’s going to have a breakout year this year."
But the one that really caught my eye was fom the Globe where Ainge compares and contrasts Tony and Posey:
"He's a slasher and attacks the rim. [Posey] is a spot-up shooter and he defends the bigger guys a little better than Tony," Ainge said. "But Tony moves his feet and fights through screens better than Posey and he can play a little point. When [Rajon Rondo] went down, he scored 16 points in the first half against LA and we won a big game on the road. We gain things - he gets to the rim and gets to the free throw line more than Pose. We'll miss Posey's experience and 3-point shooting, but Tony is a better defender than Posey.
That is an interesting (and detailed) analysis of Tony vs. Posey. Frankly I'm surprised Ainge would even compare the two. The last thing Tony needs is to be burdened with the expectation that he is taking Posey's place. Then again, he might be making a point of making sure we all know how different they are so we don't make that assumption.
I don't know who is going to defend the 3 spot when Pierce goes out of the game. Maybe Bill Walker can learn enough about Thibbodeau's schemes to step up into that role. Or maybe Scalabrine will indeed make a mini-comeback. Or perhaps we'll pick someone up closer to training camp. One thing I know is that while guys like James Posey are hard to find, decent backup wing players are a dime a dozen in this league.
Getting back to the shooting guard position, I do like the different look Tony gives us off the bench. On the starting unit, Rondo drives into the paint while Ray spots up. On the 2nd team, Tony is the slasher and House will bomb away from deep. There's good balance there.
I think we are all rooting for Tony Allen to have his breakout year. Just don't expect him to replace Posey in the lineup. They are different players and the bench will have a different feel. We just hope the result will be the same.