58. Lester Hudson, G, Tennessee-Martin
The Celtics have done a nice job of finding second-round steals lately (i.e. Leon Powe and Glenn Davis.) Both Powe and Davis are restricted free agents so I thought a power forward would be a better pick. (Pick Grade: Don't Get It)
2009 NBA Offseason Transactions:
Knicks sign PG Gabe Pruitt
Warriors sign C Mikki Moore
Cavaliers sign PF Leon Powe
Celtics re-sign PF Glen Davis
Celtics sign PF Shelden Williams
Celtics cut SG Gabe Pruitt
Celtics sign SG Marquis Daniels
Celtics sign PF Rasheed Wallace
2008-09 Season Summary:
The Boston Celtics began defending their title in 08-09 with a dominating 27-2 record, the best start ever for a two loss team. That blazing start also saw Boston set a franchise record by winning 19 straight games. The Celtics headed to the All-Star break with a wicked good 44 wins, tied for most in league history at the break. Then things turned sour in New England when Kevin Garnett injured his right knee in a loss to Utah. Boston chugged along without KG, finishing with the second best record in the Eastern Conference. But Garnett's attempt at a comeback failed as he ended up missing more games in '09 than any other season during his 14-year career.
The loss of "The Big Ticket" and then Leon Powe didn't de-rail Boston's confidence heading in the post-season, even though most everybody else was writing the defending champs off as finished. In the first round of the Playoffs, Boston won a hard-fought seven-game set over the Chicago Bulls, in a one-for-the-ages series with a playoff record four overtime games and seven total overtime periods. Bench players stepped up when it counted and second year point guard Rajon Rondo emerged from the shadows of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, developing into a star fueled by an exciting match-up with Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose. After finally finishing off the Bulls, the Celtics faced a young up-and-coming Orlando Magic team. This series went seven as well, but the Celtics found themselves on the losing end this time, blowing a 3-2 series lead and getting utterly routed at home in game seven.
2009-10 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Kendrick Perkins/Glen Davis/Shelden Williams
PF: Kevin Garnett/Rasheed Wallace/Glenn Davis#/Brian Scalabrine
SF: Paul Pierce/Bill Walker
SG: Ray Allen/Eddie House/Marquis Daniels/Tony Allen/J.R. Giddens
PG: Rajon Rondo/Lester Hudson
NBA Free Agents:
PG Stephan Marbury (UFA)
SG Eddie House (PO) - Took Player Option ($2.6 million)
2009-10 Team Salary: Approximately $72.4 million
2009-10 Expected League Salary Cap: $57.3 million
NBA Offseason Needs:
1. Depth Up Front - During the '08 title run, Leon Powe played a huge role, providing toughness, or "blue-collar play," "lunch-pail type work," "the things that don't show up in the stat sheet" (pick your painfully annoying clich?). He was sorely missed as was Kevin Garnett, the team's best defender. As KG would say, "anything is possible" and for Glen Davis, who began the season a lowly third-string four, progressed to the point where he was taking (and hitting) the clutch shots down the stretch of playoff games. But like Davis said, he's the "ticket stub" not the big ticket, and a free agent this off-season just like Powe. And with Garnett finally beginning to show some wear on his treads, Boston needs to address their depth inside.
2. Nobody will ever give Ray Allen or Paul Pierce the title of a defensive stopper. While Tony Allen was supposed to step into that perimeter defender role, his incompetence on offense often landed him on the bench. A big reason Boston got routed in their elimination at the hands of Orlando was Hedo Turkolgu and his ability to get good spacing on his jump shot. In the previous series, it was Ben Gordon and Derrick Rose consistently using their quickness to get easy lay-ups or open looks. Not having KG patrolling the paint played a factor, but nevertheless, expect to see a solid wing defender "shipping up to Boston" this off-season.
3. Back-up point guard - Each of the past two seasons, the Celtics have had to sign a veteran point guard midway through the season to provide some depth at that spot. Rajon Rando has emerged into an All-Star caliber player, but logged a lot of minutes during the post-season. Stephon Marbury is a free agent, leaving a young, inexperienced Gabe Pruitt as the team's only other point guard. Marbury accepted his role as Rando's back-up when he signed with Boston, and if he is not brought back, expect the C's to pursue another veteran floor leader.