If there’s one thing that the Boston Celtics do have, it’s age. If there’s a second thing they have, it’s a glut of guards. The guards currently remaining on the roster-Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, Leandro Barbosa and Avery Bradley-make up a serviceable guard corps other teams around the league would love to have. Jason Terry and Courtney Lee aren’t having the best of seasons, and Avery Bradley has just returned from injuries, but all four in different situations have shown they can step up. Courtney Lee was thrust into a shooting guard role with the Magic’s Finals run in his rookie season, Bradley stole the starter role from Ray Allen last year, Leandro Barbosa was serviceable during the Suns’ seven seconds or less offense, and Jason Terry obviously stepped up when the Mavericks won the chip. Danny Ainge may just decide to see if this rag tag group of non-traditional guards can pull through.
There’s no doubt that Doc Rivers will be experimenting with various lineups before the trade deadline, but the one that could has NEVER gotten any play could be the most successful. The starting five would look like this: Avery Bradley at point guard, Paul Pierce and shooting guard, Jeff Green at small forward, Jared Sullinger at power forward and Kevin Garnett at centre. The lineup would be slower, especially with Pierce at shooting guard, but there’s one place this kind of scoring lineup already works: Miami. Missing a traditional point guard doesn’t translate into an automatic loss, but again, this kind of lineup should be tried in Boston before it’s tossed aside.
Though they may not be openly shopped, there are some guards out there that could be had for the right price. With the amount of guards on the Clippers (Chris Paul, Eric Bledsoe, Jamal Crawford), and the amount of success they are already having, it seems Chauncey Billups is the odd man out. As a veteran with championship experience, he should fit right into the Celtics’ rotation. The Kings currently also have a group of point guards that may be of interest, namely Isaiah Thomas or Jimmer Fredette. And the Raptors of course, could offer up Jose Calderon. Though I’m not sure how well he would get along with Kevin Garnett.
Even with Rajon Rondo, the Celtics were struggling to hold onto the eighth seed. With Rondo out, is this the time that the veterans are jettisoned out of town? Paul Pierce has one year left with 15.3 million in his contract. Kevin Garnett has two years remaining with 23.5 million against the cap. Could this be the time to clear the cap to bring in pieces for an extended run beyond 2014? Paul Pierce could be a valuable scorer to a veteran team for the playoffs, and a smart young team would pay the price to pick up Garnett as a veteran presence to mentor their bigs. Me though, I hope they hold onto these guys until the offseason at least.