The Big Three? You must be talking about the Miami Heat. The Celtics big three are so 2008. If the Detroit Pistons are the Expendables, then the Celtics are basically the cast of Red, with Paul Pierce as Bruce Willis, Ray Allen as Morgan Freeman, KG as John Malkovich and Rajon Rondo as a machine gun toting Helen Mirren. Can the old guys hold it together for one more run? If you listened to our Miami Heat podcast, then you know my answer to that question.
PG: Rajon Rondo, Nate Robinson, Avery Bradley
SG: Ray Allen, Delonte West, Von Wafer
SF: Paul Pierce, Marquis Daniels, Tony Gaffney
PF: Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis, Luke Harangody
C: Jermaine O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal, Kendrick Perkins, Semih Erden
The list of Celtics’ players likely to improve this season is a short one: Rajon Rondo and… ok let’s move on. What Rondo is going to give a fantasy team is clear at this point. Last year, he was fourth in the league in assists (9.6 per game) and led the league in steals (2.3). Rondo also has a great FG% for a guard (51%) because he doesn’t take many shots from outside 15 feet. His three point shooting is atrocious (21% from three) as is his free throw percentage (62%). Don’t expect Rondo to improve his shooting anytime soon, but he will continue to be an assist machine, a very good rebounder and great on defense.
Like a McDonald’s Happy Meal, the 35 year old Ray Allen keeps keeping on without seeming to age. Last season, Allen averaged 35 minutes and played in 80 games and he is a surprisingly safe bet this year considering his age. The one warning sign with Allen is that the 1.8 threes per game he averaged in 2009-10 was his lowest total since 1999 and his 36% three point percentage was one of the lowest of his career. But even with that drop, Ray is still one of the best shooters in the league and even at this point in his career is something akin to roto glue that can quietly help hold a fantasy team together.
Did you remember to send Paul Pierce a birthday card this past week? The newly 33 year old Pierce ran into some injury trouble last season, but otherwise he had the same type of Paul Pierce year that we’ve come to expect. Pierce is at the point in his career where he will experience some age-related decline in his stats, although as long as he just enough athleticism to get his shot off, Pierce will be good for 18 points and 1.5 threes per game, with above average shooting percentages.
The good news: Kevin Garnett’s knee is apparently doing well this preseason. He’s moving around easily and pain free. The bad news: KG has more miles on him then the crew of Apollo 11. Last season, Garnett averaged less than 30 minutes a game for the first time since his rookie year and because of those knee injuries, he hasn’t played in more than 71 games since joining the Celtics.
So while KG may be entering the season healthy, don’t expect him to be completely rejuvenated for the entire year. The regular season is a marathon and the Celtics need to keep KG healthy for the playoffs. Expect Garnett to miss games again this season to rest those knees; and 30 minutes a game would put him around 16 points, 8 boards and 1 block a game. As Delonte West put it, KG is like a KFC combo meal, cause he’s a got a little bit of everything, including biscuits…
Jermaine O’Neal was a get for the Celtics this off season given the fact that Kendrick Perkins is going to be sidelined until sometime in 2011. In 28 minutes a game with the Heat last year, O’Neal averaged 13.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists. Provided he can stay healthy and keep up with Rondo, O’Neal should be able to put up similar numbers with the Celtics. For half the season anyway.
Shaquille O’Neal danced on the edges of fantasy reliance last season with 12 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and some horrible free throw shooting in 23 minutes a game with the Cavs. He’s in line to get fewer minutes with the Celtics, is another year older and few pounds heavier. Stay away unless Jermaine O’Neal gets hurt.
As for Kendrick Perkins, he’s out for half the year and will come back to a crowded position once he returns. Stay away from him this season unless one or both O’Neals go down.
The Celtics’ bench exists more for comic relief purposes than anything else. Nate Robinson will posterize you anytime, anywhere, so watch your back. Glen Davis will continue to pose ridiculously for pictures and could be in line for a few more minutes off the bench now that Rasheed Wallace retired (although it won’t be enough to make him fantasy relevant). Delonte West, who is apparently on the KFC payroll, returns to the Celtics to back up Ray Allen (and is suspended the first 10 games of the season). Avery Bradley is way down on the depth chart. Unless one of the starters gets hurt, there is not going to be much value here.
So, for the guys we want to draft… Here’s your official GMTR Guidance (for a 12 team league):
Rajon Rondo: 2nd
Paul Pierce: 3rd
Kevin Garnett: 5th/6th
Ray Allen: 5th/6th
Jermaine O’Neal: 12+
Erik previews the Celtics for BTV
fBasketballBlog previews the Celtics
fantasy Basketball Daily’s Celtics fantasy preview
Life is Just a Fantasy … Basketball Blog takes a look at the Celtics
Damn Lies & Statistics previews the Celtics
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