Stat Projections for Each Boston Celtics Offseason Addition
The Boston Celtics may not have made the leaps and bounds of improvement many hoped, but they did add a handful of players who will have big opportunities with the franchise next season and beyond.
Boston drafted Marcus Smart and James Young at Nos. 6 and 17, respectively. They made a trade using their traded-player exception to bring in Tyler Zeller and Marcus Thornton. Avery Bradley was re-signed to a lucrative new contract. The Celtics have also signed unrestricted free agent Evan Turner.
With Kris Humphries and Jerryd Bayless leaving the team in free agency, there are a couple of open spots to be had—not to mention the fact that following a 23-win season, everyone's job is up for grabs in training camp.
Beyond that, there will only be so many spots in the rotation to go around, so some of these players may be squeezed out. They will all receive an honest shot, though, with Brad Stevens not playing favorites in his second year as an NBA head coach.
Draft Pick (No. 6 overall)
Projected stats: 10.1 points, 3.6 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 24.5 minutes, 82 games
Marcus Smart's projected rookie numbers took a hit when Danny Ainge and the Celtics made the decision to re-sign Avery Bradley to such a generous contract.
Clearly, the team has a lot off faith in Bradley and will be giving him every opportunity to succeed alongside Rajon Rondo in the starting backcourt. That means that, barring a Rondo trade, Smart will come off the bench. He'll be battling for the role of third guard with Phil Pressey, Marcus Thornton and Evan Turner.
This will take a chunk out of his overall stats, as he won't be seeing much more than 20-25 minutes per game.
Smart brings an all-around game which will help him stay on the floor even if his shooting is poor. After a dismal summer league performance, that is a hefty concern. Still, Smart should see enough regular opportunities to average double-digit points.
Defensively, there is a lot to like, and it isn't hard to see him averaging well over one steal per game.
Draft Pick (No. 17 overall)
Projected stats: 4.2 points, 0.9 assists, 2.1 rebounds, 33.9 3P%, 9.7 minutes, 40 games
As it stands, there just isn't much room for James Young on the Celtics' active roster, much less in their regular rotation.
Unfortunately, the team is still paying both Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace big money and will be giving them first crack at the wing position, with Young picking up games due to injuries or perhaps a midseason trade. The backcourt, where Young could also see some minutes, is similarly well-stocked.
The Celtics are sole affiliates of the D-League's Maine Red Claws, allowing them to use the Portland organization as a virtual farm team. Young will likely spend a fair amount of time up there in what will essentially be his sophomore collegiate season. At just 19 years old, Young simply isn't ready to play NBA basketball full-time.
Boston did this successfully with Avery Bradley a few years ago. He played in just 5.1 minutes over 31 games for the Celtics as a 20-year-old rookie. The situation is a bit different, given that those Celtics had title aspirations, but they still won't rush Young.
Trade from Cleveland Cavaliers
Projected stats: 10.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 49.2 FG%, 27.2 minutes, 80 games
Unlike the Cleveland Cavaliers of 2013-14, the Boston Celtics will be giving Tyler Zeller opportunities to succeed. He won't be a part of an ever-changing center crew. Instead, he may very well be the leader of that group.
Zeller will duke it out with Kelly Olynyk during training camp, with one of them likely to earn the starting role at center. The two have very different games, so even if Zeller doesn't get the starting gig, there will be plenty of minutes for him.
As a rookie, Zeller averaged 7.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in just under 27 minutes per game. Last season, despite a minutes cut, he improved his efficiency. With more minutes this coming season for a rebuilding Boston team, Zeller could easily become a double-digit scorer.
He posted 0.9 blocks per game as a rookie as well. Keeping in mind that he is an athletic 7-footer, swatting 1.2 shots per game isn't a stretch.
Trade from Brooklyn Nets
Projected stats: 4.9 points, 2.2 rebounds, 36.7 3P%, 14.4 minutes, 65 games
With so many guards on the Celtics' roster, it is going to be tough for Marcus Thornton to break through.
Yes, the team desperately needs his outside shooting, but they can hopefully squeeze that out of him in just around 15 minutes per game. The Keith Bogans comparisons are a bit of a stretch considering Thornton is still just 27 years old.
However, he is still a veteran who isn't going to improve much. Boston will be looking to give Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and even the slightly younger Evan Turner most of those shooting guard minutes. All three have more potential than Thornton, and this rebuilding team would like to see those ceilings reached.
There is also a distinct possibility that Thornton only plays half a season with the Celtics. At the trade deadline, his expiring $8.575 million contract, per Basketball Insiders, could be very appealing, and Danny Ainge will look to capitalize on a willing team.
Unrestricted Free-Agent Signing
Projected stats: 11.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 25.8 minutes, 78 games
Evan Turner's role on the Celtics is still fairly unclear. With the size and game to play either the shooting guard or small forward spot, it is tough to say where he will spend the majority of his time.
At shooting guard, he'll be competing with Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Marcus Thornton. At shooting guard, Jeff Green is going to be the de facto starter and big-minute guy, with Gerald Wallace's contract earning him some minutes as well.
Still, Turner can flat-out play. He has yet to find the right situation in which he can thrive as a player. With such a clogged rotation, it is tough to say Boston is that spot. At the same time, though, Turner can leapfrog and steal minutes from all these players. If he shows what he is capable of early on, the minutes will bump and we'll see real production out of him.
At the time of his trade (dumping) from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Indiana Pacers, Turner was averaging 17.4 points, six rebounds and 3.7 assists. That is the type of all-around game he can bring in limited minutes as well, as he has a bit more experience than Smart.
Turner is a durable player as well, missing just six games over his four-year NBA career. There is a very decent chance he plays his way into more and more minutes as the season goes along.
Restricted Free-Agent Re-Signing
Projected stats: 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.7 steals, 28.2 minutes, 65 games
While not a new offseason addition, it is important to figure out where Avery Bradley stands amid the acquisitions of Evan Turner, Marcus Smart and Marcus Thornton.
Where Bradley was a big-minute starter in the 60 games he managed to play last season, the Celtics' roster is bit fuller now, with more deserving players competing at his position.
The idea of him starting a full season of games playing off the ball with Rajon Rondo is a very exciting thought. However, given his recent health track record, it isn't something one should bet on.
Likewise, an improvement in his overall numbers over last year is unlikely. Bradley was a main option on the Celtics for much of last year while they scrambled to fill roles with the likes of Jerryd Bayless and Chris Johnson.
This time around, Smart and Turner are real players with just as much potential as Bradley, who will be given their share of chances to succeed.
Bradley will still likely start the season as the main off-guard, but his seeing over 30 minutes a game again, for the whole season, is a stretch.
One major thing to look forward to is the return of his on-ball defense. It was there in flashes last year, but with another defensive guard or two out there with him he'll be allowed to focus on what earned him that new contract in the first place.
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