The writers here at CelticsBlog teamed up to create some consensus projections for most of the main Celtics rotation players. Basically, we all just came up with our own projections for points, assists, rebounds, field goal percentage, and three-point percentage, and then we took an overall average to see what we came up with as a team.
The writers involved were Sean Penney, Ian Mark, Jeff Clark, Bill Sy, Jeff Nooney, Jack Jemsek, Ryan Sharry, and myself, Daniel Hebert. I would like to thank all of the writers involved for helping out. Now I will go through and break down the projections we came up with for each player.
Rajon Rondo: 12.7 PPG; 10.4 APG; 5.2 RPG; 47.4 FG%; 30.4 3P%
It looks like most of the writers agreed that Rondo's field goal percentage this year would be closer to his career field goal percentage of 47.5%. We also projected that Rondo would once again reach double digit assists after failing to reach that milestone for the first time in 4 years last year. Considering that people around the organization expect Rondo to have the best year of his career, these numbers do not feel unreasonable. In the 2012-2013 season, Rondo averaged more points, assists, and rebounds with a higher field goal percentage than what we projected. Therefore, the only thing that stands out is his three point shooting percentage. However, last year, Rondo was hovering right below 30% for most of the season. If he is in good shape and has continued to work on his shot, maybe he can finally break that 30% barrier that he has only reached once in his eight-year career.
Avery Bradley: 13.7 PPG; 1.6 APG; 3.3 RPG; 44.1 FG%; 38.3 3P%
Avery Bradley is coming into this season with the high expectations that come along with having a freshly inked 32 million dollar contract. However, the writers at CelticsBlog projected a drop in both scoring and three-point percentage with a marginal increase in field goal percentage. I think this can be attributed to the fact that Avery Bradley stated over the first few days of training camp that he wants to get back to playing All-NBA defense. If Bradley expends the amount of energy necessary to play defense at an All-NBA level, it should be expected that he would not play as large of a role offensively. With a smaller offensive role, he would have the option to pick and choose his spots a little bit better, so a small decrease in scoring with a marginal increase in field goal percentage actually makes sense.
Jeff Green: 15.9 PPG; 1.5 APG; 4.9 RPG; 44.5 FG%; 36.1 3P%
For those of you hoping that we would project a break out season for Jeff Green, I am sorry to say that you will be disappointed. While we did think he would be a lot more efficient than he was last year, that increase in efficiency came hand in hand with a small dip in production. With Evan Turner, Gerald Wallace, and James Young all vying for minutes, it may be hard for Stevens to give Green the nearly 35 minutes he averaged last season. If his minutes do go down, hopefully he can pick and choose his spots more effectively than he did last year and get his percentages back up to a respectable level.
Jared Sullinger: 13.7 PPG; 1.4 APG; 9.3 RPG; 46.5 FG%; 30.1 3P%
I know a lot of Celtics fans are expecting a big jump out of Jared Sullinger this season, so they may not like the projections that we came up with. However, for a third year power forward, I would be ecstatic if Sullinger averaged a near double double while increasing both his field goal percentage and three point percentage. I think a big part of what he is able to do will depend on how many minutes he is able to stay on the floor. With guys like Brandon Bass and Kelly Olynyk on the roster, there just aren't enough minutes at the four to go around.
Kelly Olynyk: 10.0 PPG; 2.4 APG; 6.1 RPG; 47.0 FG%; 36.4 3P%
A lot of the things I said about Jared Sullinger also apply to Olynyk. While fans are hoping for some sort of breakout season from the second year seven footer, he is going to be battling against several different players for minutes at both the four and five. Stevens has said that he intends on making Olynyk a large part of his system, but with Zeller, Favarani, Bass, and Sullinger on the roster, he will have to earn every single minute that he gets. Therefore, an efficient 10 points and 6 rebounds per game should be considered his "first" breakout. Over the next few seasons, the Celtics should be able to unclog their frontcourt rotation leaving more minutes for both Olynyk and Sullinger to prove what they are capable of.
Marcus Smart: 8.7 PPG; 3.9 APG; 3.5 RPG; 42.6 FG%; 29.5 3P%
While most would think that the number 6 overall pick would have better numbers than what we projected, he walked into a situation where he will backup the best player on our team. Rajon Rondo's hand injury may keep him out for a few games at the beginning of the season, but the only way for Smart to get extended minutes throughout the season is with Rondo being traded to another team. I actually think that Smart learning from Rondo and Bradley is going to be amazing for his long-term outlook. Rondo is one of the best floor generals in the NBA, and Bradley is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. If Smart spends his first season becoming a better distributor and defender, he could develop into a two-way stud in the near future.
Evan Turner: 7.2 PPG; 2.9 APG; 3.2 RPG; 43.0 FG%; 31.1 3P%
Evan Turner is another guy who plays at a deep position. Stevens has said that he will play him at point guard some during the preseason to see what he is capable of, so Turner could theoretically line up at three different positions throughout the upcoming season. Unfortunately, the Celtics are deep at all three of those positions (point guard, shooting guard, and small forward). He is another guy who could have completely different projections if a move is made to open up minutes at one of those positions. However, as it sits, he will fill the stat sheet in multiple ways just in limited minutes.
Tyler Zeller: 7.0 PPG; 0.8 APG; 5.6 RPG; 52.7 FG%; 0.0 3P%
These projections for Zeller were hard for all of us to come up with. First of all, we have no idea what his role will be since he has never played for Stevens. Second of all, he hasn't gotten much run in Cleveland, so it is hard to project what he would be capable of in a larger role. If he works his way into the starting lineup early on, these projections could be way short. If Stevens gives most of the minutes at the four and five to Sullinger and Olynyk, I feel like these projections could be right on the money.
Brandon Bass: 7.4 PPG; 0.9 APG; 4.9 RPG; 47.3 FG%; 8.8 3P%
Brandon Bass is looking like the odd man out in the current Celtics frontcourt rotation. Sullinger, Olynyk, and Zeller all fit the mold of young big men with untapped potential. On the other hand, Bass is coming into his tenth NBA season, and he probably is what he is at this point of his career. Without much more untapped potential, he doesn't figure into the Celtics long term plans. Therefore, the writers at CelticsBlog projected drops in production that can be attributed to a smaller role.
Marcus Thornton: 5.8 PPG; 1.2 APG; 1.3 RPG; 42.8 FG%; 37.3 3P%
Marcus Thornton comes into a tough situation in Boston. He is a veteran player on a team that is trying to get younger. He also has an expiring contract that makes it hard to envision a long-term future with the Celtics. However, Thornton is really good at putting the ball through the hoop, and that is something the Celtics sorely lack at the moment. There may be a few games where he explodes for 20 or more points, but there will be several games where he will not see the court at all. His three point shooting should be a weapon off of the bench, but he will have a pretty limited role on a team flush with shooting guards.
Phil Pressey: 3.6 PPG; 3.1 APG; 0.9 RPG; 37.9 FG%; 30.8 3P%
Phil Pressey was one of the feel-good stories that took place for the Celtics last season. He was an effective floor general, but he was really ineffective as a shooter and defender. The addition of Marcus Smart makes Pressey's role harder to distinguish, but with Rondo out at the beginning of the season, he will get an opportunity early on. Unfortunately for Pressey, once Rondo gets back it will be hard for him to get extended minutes. These projections reflect a smaller role for Pressey, but if any moves are made to open up the backcourt rotation, he may be able to surpass them.
James Young: 3.6 PPG; 0.5 APG; 1.4 RPG; 41.4 FG%; 34.7 3P%
James Young is only 19 years old. He comes to the Celtics after a solid one-and-done campaign at Kentucky, and he is still an incredibly raw young athlete. These projections aren't very favorable for his rookie campaign, but that doesn't mean we don't expect big things from him in the future. These projections are largely a product of roster clutter. It will be hard for Young to carve out a regular role since both the backup shooting guard and small forward positions are filled out with solid veterans. I expect a couple of trips to the D-league, and Stevens will probably bring Young along a lot slower than his fellow draftee Marcus Smart.
Gerald Wallace: 4.0 PPG; 1.5 APG; 2.0 RPG; 46.5 FG%; 26.3 3P%
Gerald Wallace's contract is one of the must unmovable in the NBA. Wallace's athleticism has deteriorated over the last few years, and his game has deteriorated along with it. Wallace was vocal last year about his displeasure with coming off of the bench, but I doubt that will have any affect on his role with the Celtics this season. Since he is coming off of a knee injury, the Celtics will probably bring him back into the rotation slowly. Even then, it is hard to see him carving out a huge role for the Celtics this season. That is why his projections resemble those of his first few years in the league when he wasn't playing very much.
You will notice that a few players were left out of the projections. This was due to the fact that it was hard to figure out exactly what their roles would be this upcoming season. Vitor Faverani is one of our few true centers, but with Olynyk, Sullinger, Bass, and Zeller on the roster, he has a ton of competition. He is also coming off of a serious knee injury that has been acting up at training camp, and the Celtics have also said that he will be penalized for his drunk driving (although Faverani denies the allegations) accident. Joel Anthony, Dwight Powell, and the other guys with non-guaranteed contracts also figure to have extremely limited roles this season (for the ones that even make the team). Let us know how you feel about our projections below in the comments section.