A new rumor on the Celtics backup point guard front broke late last night courtesy of a report filed on Truehoop by ESPNDeportes.com reporter Alfredo Berrios. A few nuggets of interest from the story:
Carlos Arroyo is ready to return to the NBA. However, the Puerto Rican guard, who last played in the NBA with the Orlando Magic, won’t reveal the names of the teams that are allegedly having talks with his agent — not until the FIBA Americas Championship in San Juan concludes.
“There are some opportunities that we’re considering. Negotiating a contract is a pretty slow process,” Arroyo said. “But my focus is totally on Puerto Rico’s national team. My mind and heart needs to be here.”
According to several sources, Arroyo, represented by Leon Rose, is in talks to join either the Boston Celtics or the Milwaukee Bucks. However, both teams told ESPN.com’s Chris Sheridan that they have had no contact whatsoever with Arroyo or his representatives.
On Saturday, El Nuevo Dia, a newspaper out of Puerto Rico, reported that Arroyo was close to signing a deal with the Chicago Bulls. According to the report, the agreement would be for one season and $1 million.
Arroyo guided Maccabi Tel Aviv last season to an Israeli Premier League Championship and was named MVP of the finals.
The news of the C’s potential interest in Arroyo is an encouraging situation for me, for a couple reasons. First and foremost Carlos Arroyo, despite being out of the league last year would be a significant upgrade talent wise over any of the remaining alternatives on the point guard scrapheap.
Before we go any further though, let’s first get up to speed on the Puerto Rican point guard currently playing for his nation in the FIBA Championship. Arroyo has bounced around to five teams over his seven year NBA career showing flashes of brilliance along the way. The 30 year old guard was anointed John Stockton’s heir apparent back in 2003 while showing terrific distribution skills and a nice shooting touch on his way to a career year of 12.6 points and 5 assists a game for the 2003-04 Utah Jazz.
The honeymoon ended quickly for Arroyo in 2004 who began to earn a questionable reputation around the league by butting heads with coach Jerry Sloan. This turmoil led to Arroyo being shipped out of town to the Pistons for virtually nothing (Elden Campbell) midway through the 04-05 season.
Arroyo served adequately as a backup point guard for that Pistons team and the Orlando Magic through the majority of next couple seasons. During his 07-08 campaign Arroyo lost the backup job in the early months of 2008 to Keyon Dooling in Orlando, as once again another coach appeared to lose patience in him. In this case it was Zach Lowe’s favorite whiner Stan Van Gundy.
If you can get past his off the court antics, Arroyo’s career numbers show a guy who is only one year removed from bring an extremely capable backup in the NBA. The guy can stroke the long ball at a decent clip (35% during 07-08 season, 32% for his career) and has also been characterized as a skilled passer with good vision. Arroyo has averaged 3.3 assists for his career in only 18 minutes per game, an impressive number given a lack of heavy playing time. Defensively, Arroyo’s play is reportedly below average but sustainable in a backup role from most accounts.
Arroyo’s success last year leading his Israeli team to a Championship and earning the finals MVP would seem to indicate his skillset has not fallen off too far last season, all though the playing level between the two leagues are not exactly a good barometer.
One bit of concern I had when looking through his scouting reports is Ben Q Rock’s from Third Quarter Collapse concerns over his on the floor decision making. Since Ben has watched the guy for the better part of three seasons with Orlando, I looked at his take quite closely when he profiled Arroyo earlier this offseason for the Magic’s backup point needs. An excerpt from his report:
Part of me thinks Arroyo would be a solid, safe choice. The other part of me recalls his at times poor decision-making–we’re calling Hedo Turkoglu-esque levels of befuddlement here
Questionable on the floor decisions are admonished by Celtics coaches, brass, and fans so a susceptibility to this kind of play could force the team to think twice about bringing a guy like Arroyo in, who has been a headache for his teams in more than a few locations. All things considered though, I’d love to see the team take a flier on the guy. More thoughts on how Arroyo could fit in after the jump
The C’s clearly have a crowded roster station right now with only one free roster spot available once Marquis Daniels finds his way to town. Despite the large number of bodies, and the team’s significant upgrade of their bench depth this offseason, I still worry about the team’s backcourt depth as it currently stands for a couple reasons.
1) What happens if Rajon Rondo does down?
The team has stated they would be potentially willing to go it alone with Marquis Daniels and Eddie House as backups for the PG slot. However given Rondo’s propensity to sprain ankles every 10 games, I worry about the team’s depth at this spot if Rondo goes down for any considerable length of time. Sure these guys could theoretically handle 15-20 minutes a game at the backup spot, but what happens if that number jumps up to 48? I don’t want to envision a scenario like that.
With Arroyo though, the C’s could have a natural point that could slot into Rondo’s role as a distributor if number 9 were to go down. Clearly, there would be a dropoff in production from the position but it could be a lot less drastic with a natural distributor like Arroyo filling the role.
2) Even if Rondo is healthy all year, how will Paul Pierce and Ray Allen’s minutes be reduced if Marquis Daniels and Eddie House are forced to play some point?
We all ready discussed above the scenario of Daniels and House playing point and it’s clearly possible that Bill Walker could be the guy this year to take over those minutes at the backup 3 for Pierce as Brendan Jackson noted earlier this week if those two were relegated to guard spots. I would like this scenario of Walker as a backup 3 to be more of a pleasant surprise for Doc Rivers, rather than a situation he is relying upon to fill those minutes.
Bringing in Arroyo for the C’s would allow House to play primarily the 2 where he and the team excels the most with him in the game. Daniels could also be shifted between the 1, 2 and the 3 at will based on matchups, maximizing the number of options Doc would have with his bench.
Now all of this talk about Arroyo could become mute extremely quickly if the Puerto Rican signs with one of his other potential suitors or if the C’s interest has been overstated. However, even without Arroyo, my concerns and questions about the depth in the backcourt still stand. Obviously, bringing in a bottom of the barrel point guard backup just to have one would be rather pointless given the C’s lofty goals this year. I would love to see Danny somehow try to maneuver his way into finding a capable backup one to fill out the team’s bench and create stability and depth in the backcourt.
My hope is Arroyo is that guy since Danny clearly does not have a lot of trade chips to work with. What is everyone’s feeling on this though? Would you like to see Arroyo in Green or am I overrating him here? And do you share my questions about the team’s lack of depth in the backcourt? I’m curious to hear everyone’s take on this.