As my fellow writers have alluded to, and I’m sure everyone is aware of; it’s the off-season. While we may still be subjected to endure the pain of watching the remaining playoff teams duke it out, it is never too early to start thinking about next season.
Now, a couple years ago, I was an NBA 2k9 Association Mode junkie. I would simulate through entire seasons just to shock the world with my impressive general managing during the signing periods. I made the moves Danny Ainge never even imagined, and you best believe they were genius. Far-fetched, but genius. These suggestions may be pipe-dreams at best, but Danny, if you ever happen to come across this humble editorial, take a second look. It might just be worth your while. (Keep in mind these are only very loosely taking regard to the salary cap situation and possible new CBA)
1. Marcus Williams – PG 6’3″ 205 lbs. (Russia)
He’s overweight. He’s slow. His shot selection is questionable at best. Marcus has been labeled as an under-achiever with a lousy work-ethic. Yet his skill-set continues to intrigue me. What I saw with the Celtics second unit was an oxymoron. They weren’t a unit at all. All too often it turned into five guys trying to play five games of one-on-one. No disrespect to Delonte West, I loved what he did for the subs and I do believe he can play the point, but I think West thrives in the position when he has playmakers around him (i.e. LeBron James). From the first time I saw Williams play at Connecticut, he possessed a feel for the game that was invaluable for point guards. I even was hoping he would fall into the Celtics hands before Rajon Rondo (silly me). Maybe I’m a little bias, but Marcus Williams’s ability to run the show might be exactly what the 2011 Bench Mob needs. At 26, it’s not too late for Williams to rediscover his place in the NBA.
2. Jarvis Hayes – SG/SF 6’8″ 220 lbs. (09-10 New Jersey Nets)
Your first reaction is probably “who?” but Hayes played seven semi-productive seasons in the league, and it baffles me how this man doesn’t have a place on a roster. Jarvis Hayes might be the very definition of the “average player,” but average might not be such a bad thing. At 6’8″, Hayes has the ability to defend both shooting guards and small forwards effectively, and could thrive in Boston’s defensive schemes. What always impressed me about Jarvis Hayes was his understanding of his role off the bench. He never tried to be the hero (I’m looking at you, Glen Davis) and simply fell into place where he was needed. Jarvis’s calling card is his shooting stroke, most effective as a spot up shooter from mid to long range as a career 35% shooter from beyond the arc. He has shown the ability to be reliable at the line as well, knocking down 80% of his freebies over his career. Hayes isn’t going to turn any heads, but he would be able to provide relief for both Paul Pierce and Ray Allen effectively. The second unit lacked a perimeter threat that defenses really had to worry about.
3. Yao Ming – C 7’6″ 310 lbs. (10-11 Houston Rockets)
Wipe that smirk off your face and reread the title of this article. We signed Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal, did we not? Doesn’t it seem like Danny has a fascination with former stud big men generations past their prime? It was only two years ago that Yao was a legitmate 20 point-10 rebound guy on a nightly basis. You’d be lying to yourself claiming to not even be the least bit intrigued. Yao may have bones of glass and tendons of thread, but the man is not lacking the skills. Obviously his minutes would have to be very carefully micromanaged to maintain Yao’s body, but he’d be just another weapon in the first or second team that defenses would have to take note of. A 7’6″ center can’t exactly be disregarded. Injuries make it easy to forget how well Yao Ming can actually play the game.
4. Sasha “The Machine” Vujacic – SG 6’7″ 205 lbs. (10-11 New Jersey Nets)
I hate him as much as you do, if not more. He’s a dirty pest who always seemed to bring out his best stuff against the Celtics. Who’s to say The Machine won’t bring out his best stuff while on the Boston Celtics? Vujacic may not possess the most blazing lateral-quickness, (see here) but he’s a gritty defender who’s going to give 110% every time down the floor. We all know Sasha can knock down the three-ball effectively and is lights-out from the free throw stripe. I actually believe the Lakers’ triangle offense limited Vujacic as a one-dimensional player. I’ll admit this is a REAL stretch, but hey, impossible is nothing.
5. Kenyon Martin – PF 6’9″ 240 lbs. (10-11 Denver Nuggets)
What team doesn’t want an under-sized, under-achieving nutcase? All I’ve heard from daytime radio regarding the Celtics is their lack of “toughness”. Say what you may about Kenyon Martin, but he is a tough dude. When I look at Martin, I see all the skills that Glen Davis possessed (and more), with twice the finishing ability and athleticism, even at the age of 33. At this point in his career, coming off the bench might do Kenyon Martin some good. Even at his age, Martin has shown the ability to rebound at a respectable clip, knock down a mid-range jumper, and continue to finish strong in the middle. My hope would be that Martin’s statistics would be able to be condensed into short energy bursts coming off the bench. My dream is that Kenyon will be willing to put his ego aside to do so.
6. Antoine Walker – SF/PF 6’9″ 245 lbs (10-11 Idaho Stampede [NBDL])