Before we get to the 2K rankings, here's head coach Brad Stevens on the "evenness" of this year's roster and the different combinations he could throw out on the floor:
"If you go through it, like really go through it, there's about 150 variations of this you can go with. And more so than last year," said Stevens who used 24 different starting lineups last season. "I thought last year we were pretty hard to figure out. It's been a fun puzzle to think about. But it's a puzzle that's going to figure itself out once we start practice."
Indeed, the fight for floor time in Boston will be as intense as we've seen it in years as several players will try their best to impress Stevens and the Celtics coaching staff in the coming weeks.
Stevens has seen glimpses of that intensity during voluntary workouts at the Celtics' practice facility this summer.
"There's no question people are working with a sense of urgency," Stevens said. "It's not just spots, but we have a lot of evenness. Playing time is gonna have to be earned."
You'd think that going into this season with a more well-rounded roster would be a blessing for Brad, but with so many players with potential and only 240 minutes to dole out, it could be a problem. There are rookies and players in their sophomore and junior years in the NBA that you want to season with experience, but there are also vets on expiring contracts that could use a few weeks of showcasing before the trade deadline.
I don't know if Stevens is a gamer, but he could tinker with a few lineups and substitution patterns when NBA 2k15 comes out on October 7th. They've released their pre-season player rankings and echo what Stevens and Ainge have been saying about their current roster: there's an "evenness" to it.
Outside of Rondo coming in at an 87 (the 5th highest rated point guard and three points less than last year's rating), the rest of the team rates in the above average to the average. Check it out:
- Rajon Rondo 87
- Jeff Green 78
- Avery Bradley 78
- Jared Sullinger 78
- Evan Turner 76
- Marcus Smart 76
- Marcus Thornton 76
- Brandon Bass 75
- Kelly Olynyk 74
- Gerald Wallace 74
- Vitor Faverani 72
- Tyler Zeller 70
- Phil Pressey 70
- James Young 68
- Joel Anthony 66
Some notes: Smart ranked only behind Jabari Parker (78), Andrew Wiggins (77), and Joel Embiid (77). After a season of consistent improvement, AB did not see an increase from last year. Turner and Green, both efficiency gluts, are down -4 and -1 respectively where as Sullinger (+2), Bass (+5), Olynyk (+6), and Zeller (+5) all saw healthy bumps. As arbitrary as the ratings sound, 2K does a really good job of differentiating between all the players. Some players have special skills or "badges" like perimeter lock-down defender (ahem, Avery) and tenacious rebounder. Considering that the median rating out of 424 players is 74, what looks like a roster of meh is actually pretty decent. And for what it's worth, I toyed with making a roster out of the best available players with identical rankings as ours and theoretically--rankings-wise--we could be as good as a team with:
- PG: Rajon Rondo, Mo Williams
- SG: Kyle Korver, Terrence Ross
- SF: Trevor Ariza, Harrison Barnes
- PF: Boris Diaw, John Henson
- C: Kendrick Perkins, Kosta Koufos
Not exactly world beaters, but a nice mix of role players from contenders and complementary pieces. That's the puzzle that Stevens needs to figure out. Who on this team can be a go-to player and who could be a James Posey to his core's Big Three?
Does CelticsBlog have any gamers out there? It could be really cool to put together a green vs. white, training camp-style scrimmage when NBA 2K15 comes out next next Tuesday and maybe we could throw it up on Twitch. Include your gamertag in the comments.