One position at a time, we will break down the roster of the 2013-14 Boston Celtics. The Celtics made drastic changes to their roster in the off-season and should be one of the more interesting teams to watch this season. At small forward, the team has one young player ready to break out for have a career year while behind him a former All-Star veteran looks to reclaim some of his former glory. With the team rebuilding and a new coach to impress, these small forwards will have a lot to prove in 2013-14 and should make the small forward position one of the most productive and reliable positions on the roster.
This is unquestionably the biggest season in the career of Jeff Green. After playing a backseat role to some of the games’ biggest stars early in his career he is now set to be a leader on the 2013-14 Boston Celtics. The 27 year old Green has endured a great deal in recent years, missing the entire 2011-12 season after being diagnosed with a heart condition that required surgery and months of intense rehabilitation. He returned to the court last season, averaging 12.8 points and 3.9 rebounds but early on there was obvious fatigue and rust issues that wore off as the season went on and Green showed some of the best form of his career. After the All-Star break, Green’s averages jumped to 17.3 points, 5 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 33.5 minutes per game. We could see Green’s minutes eclipse that number this season and without the veteran presence of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett offensively, more of the responsibility will fall on Green’s shoulders.
The obvious starter at small forward for the Celtics and one of the few players who will be locked into a big role from day one, the signs are good with his 17 games in the starting line-up last season resulting in an average of 20.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists. Green showed that when given the opportunity to log big minutes and be a factor in the offense he could produce effectively and with solid efficiency across the board. He will likely be leaned on as the primary scorer in the 2013-14 Celtics’ offense and the biggest question will be how the sometimes laid-back Green handles the pressure of being a go-to scorer. Green benefits from the passing of point guard Rajon Rondo but the team may be without their All-Star guard for a number of months to start the season and that will only add to the pressure on Green to be the team’s leader and best player from the get go.
Green has all the skills and physical talents to be one of the league’s best small forwards and in 2013-14 he will get his chance to prove that he is one. He has the trust of the Celtics’ management, the coaching staff and if he believes in himself as much as others within the organisation do we could see a huge year from Jeff Green. Expect to see him in talks for the Most Improved Player award as he averages between 21 and 23 points per game to go with 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
2013-14 will provide veteran forward Gerald Wallace with a chance to redeem himself after a disastrous showing in 2012-13. The 31 year old Wallace had the worst season of his career in Brooklyn last season averaging just 7.7 points and 4.6 rebounds in over 30 minutes per game while he shot under 40 percent from the field. It was the first time Wallace had failed to average double digits in scoring since the 2003-04 season when he was an unproven youngster in Sacramento. As the Nets relied on the isolation heavy offense of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, Wallace was relegated to a fourth or fifth option on the floor and became a spot up shooter which is a role that does not suit his aggressive style of play.
Wallace is signed for the next three seasons at over $10 million per year so the Celtics will be hoping he can regain some of the former glory that made him an All-Star and one of the best rebounders the league has ever produced at the small forward position. Ideally, Wallace should be running the floor, defending, rebounding and finishing around the rim in a high paced offense which is exactly what the Celtics will be doing this season with a young, enthusiastic roster. He will be the primary back up for Green at small forward but could also see time alongside him at power forward to match up with some of the smaller line-ups in the East.
Wallace needs a bounce-back season after a disappointing showing in Brooklyn and will be looked on for his energy and veteran leadership on this young squad. The Celtics will also be hoping Wallace can prove he still has some gas left in the tank so they can look at dealing the veteran to a contending team near the deadline or next season. Wallace showed he could still contribute in the playoffs last season averaging 12 points and 4 rebounds, he will battle for minutes behind Green and with the crop of young front court players but should find enough time to get himself back into double digit scoring this season.