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The (Gulp) Minimum Bin

 

Rumors of potential signings and trades abound, but the C’s, for now, have nine players on their roster for next season. They need at least 13, and they have only one cap exception left to use for outright free agent signings: the veteran’s minimum exception. And while Boston might tempt a quality ring-chaser to take the minimum, it seems likely they’ll have to look at at least one player who is really, truly worth the veteran’s minimum. That player will either be a big guy or a wing player.

Here are some wings:

Antoine Wright. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a player who has never cracked double-digits in PER, but I sort of like Wright. He’s only 26, and he seems to be realizing that he can prolong his career by becoming a three-and-D guy capable of guarding both wing positions. He split time between small forward and shooting guard last season, and he hit a career-best 33.5 percent of career-high 173 attempts.

Now, that’s not a good percentage.

It’s a tick below league average. But move that up to 37 percent and continue improving on defense? You can be an effective role player. Wright’s teams have given up fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the floor in three of the last four seasons (with ’09 being the rather ugly outlier), though his head-to-head counterpart stats aren’t as encouraging.

Damien Wilkins. Another guy the C’s have reportedly discussed. He’s older (30), and his positive plus/minus numbers with the T’Wolves last season ended a nasty streak in which his teams in Seattle and Oklahoma City generally performed better (if not dramatically so) with Wilkins on the bench. The common denominator in most of those seasons: His team’s offense performed significantly worse with Wilkins on the court.

The emergence of Corey Brewer had Wilkins splitting time between the two and the three last season, so he can fill either role in a pinch.

The question I have: Is he a 29.5 percent shooter from deep, as he was last season? Or is the 37.5 percent mark he hit in ’09 a more accurate reflection of his long-range shooting capability?

He can be a bit turnover-prone, and he’ll hoist the occasional long two-pointer that’ll drive you mad. But you could do worse at the vet’s minimum.

Keith Bogans. There is a perception that Keith Bogans was awful last year in San Antonio, and that perception may drop his price all the way down to the vet’s minimum. But offensively, Keith Bogans did for the Spurs what he always does: Hit 35 to 38 percent of his three-pointers while contributing little else.

And that’s fine, as long as his defense is acceptable. The Spurs hoped he’d be Bowen-esque, and, for whatever reason, he wasn’t. The team’s defense was slightly worse with Bogans on the floor, reversing a trend that saw Bogans generally helping in that regard.

Bogans never fit in San Antonio. His usage rate dropped to Reggie Evans levels (11 percent), and that’s almost like playing with four guys instead of five on offense.

Bogans is 30, and at 6’5”, he can’t play small forward in a normal line-up. Worth a look?

Devean George. George is about to turn 33 and he hasn’t played a significant role for any team since 2007. The height (6’8”) and the league-average three-point shooting look appealing on paper, but it’s asking a lot to expect George to give you meaningful minutes at this point.

Stephen Graham (or, Graham The Lesser). This Graham has a resumé that similar to TA’s: In each of the last three seasons, his team’s offense has suffered badly with Graham on the floor while at the same time allowing significantly fewer points per 100 possessions, according to Basketball Value.

He can’t shoot threes. At all. But he did hit 49.6 percent of his shots last season after hovering around ‘Toine territory (the low 40s) for most of his career. The percentage gains came in the mid-range (a place from which Graham rarely shoots) and the long two-point range (from which he shoots often). Are they sustainable?

If they are, he won’t kill your offense, and what little evidence we have suggests he is at least a neutral presence on defense. Neutrality from your bench is a good thing.

At 6’6”, he’s a much better fit at shooting guard than at small forward, but he can play either position.

Joey Graham (or, Graham the Greater). I love Joey Graham. He’s just so damn fun to watch. He can jump high, he dunks hard, his jump shot is funny (but it goes in a lot!), he uses the glass and when he messes up, it can be spectacular.

He’s a tad bigger than his brother, so he’s a natural fit at the three and not really capable of playing the two—he’s more capable, in fact, of spotting you some minutes at power forward. Like his brother, he cannot shoot three-pointers. Also like his brother: His teams have generally scored less efficiently with him on the floor but played stingier defense, according to Basketball Value.

That said, Graham hits long twos at a league-average rate (about 40 percent) for small forwards and shooting guards, according to Hoopdata. Perfectly Acceptable Basketball.

Rodney Carney. People freaking love Rodney Carney. He’s long and athletic, and he can do spectacular-looking things. And this: Carney’s teams have given up fewer points per possession on defense in each of the last three seasons, according to Basketball Value. He has the physical tools to be a super defensive player, and he might blossom into one within Boston’s system.

But he has not shown the ability to help on offense. Save the ’09 season, when he hit 35 percent of his threes, Carney has been a bad shooter from all over the floor, and he’s a supremely uncreative passer and ball-handler. For his career, Carney has assisted on just 4.6 percent of the baskets his team has scored while he’s been on the floor. That is, frankly, incredible for someone who is not a power forward or a center. It speaks of a player who hasn’t really learned to play a sophisticated team offense.

Carney is only 26, and he’s spent most of his career on mediocre to bad teams. Could he develop a passable offensive game in Boston? Maybe. Is it worth using up a roster spot on him to find out?

Have you noticed a theme among the Minimums? Most of them can defend at least decently, but none of them, save perhaps Bogans, has proven much help when it comes to putting the ball in the basket. As a C’s fan, I’d almost like to find the opposite sort of player in the minimum pile—a guy who can shoot but has a terrible record on defense. The C’s have shown that they can turn allegedly bad defensive players into average ones, and an average defensive player who can shoot at a better-than-average level is a valuable piece.

Problem: This is a league that pays for shooting. Kyle Korver is getting $5 million per year. J.J. Redick, admittedly more than just a shooter, is about to ink a deal that will pay him nearly $7 million per year. Steve Blake will bank $4 million a year for his ability to toss entry passes and hit open threes. Matt Carroll will earn $8.2 million over the next two seasons for some shots he made in 2008.

If you can shoot, you’ll get paid. (Unless you’re Steve Novak, and his athleticism is just too far behind the rest of the league for him to be hide-able on defense).

Some other possibilities:

Mario West. Ugh.

Tracy McGrady. We covered him here. I’m not convinced he’d help much.

Larry Hughes. I’m not out, but he’ll probably get significantly more than the minimum from the Bobcats.

Devin Brown. Aging fast.

Royal Ivey. May not be an NBA player.

J.R. Giddens. Still unproven.

Ime Udoka. Appears to lack the speed to defend on the wing.

Am I missing anyone? See anything you like?

  • Al

    this list depressed me

  • NHBluesMan

    i feel like you used ‘esque’ way to many times in acouple of those descriptions…

  • Sweeney

    Not so depressing to me. Can Lafayette and Harangody make the team and be 8 – 10 minute contributors? That would take us up to 11 and still waiting on the sign and trade.

    This is the first time in a few years where I am excited about these younger guys. I am not saying we have uncovered stars of tomorrow. However, to have some kids who understand the game and can contribute right away is a great opportunity.

    It won’t hurt for them to get some burn now with an eye towards 2012. Plus, we are really all just waiting until February and the return of Perk. I believe in Perk and know he will come back when ready. We will probably have a similar year as last where we make playoffs as a 4 – 5 seed and have to play the uphill battle.

  • http://CelticsHub.com Zach Lowe

    I think Harangody has an inside track to a spot.

  • http://www.livefromapt.blogspot.com w2

    Ugh.

    Matt Janning?

  • tk

    what about rasual butler? hes a vet whos a solid scorer and hes just about better than anyone else on this list

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @tk: Great call. I knew I missed someone. Butler might get more the minimum, though at this point to play for a contender, you basically have to take the minimum.

    I also left Rashad McCants out, but apparently nobody wants that dude.

  • Tebucky

    I don’t mind these guys assuming we can leverage Sheed’s contract for the main feature of our bench i.e. Howard/Brewer. You guys still think that’s gonna happen?

  • Evan

    I feel like most of those guys save for Bogans played on really bad teams. All of them should get easier shots with the Celtics.

    When TA was taking shots for us most of them were wide open or strong takes to the hoop. Every single one of those players would have an improved field goal percentage playing for us (if that makes you feel better about the lack of offense on the bench).

    I love Butler but if he has to choose for the Vet Min I wouldn’t be shocked if we lost him to Miami.

  • dicknavis

    Matty Janning

  • startorien

    I very much liked the buffalo wings featured in the post.

    The rest…. not so much.

  • German Dude

    @ Evan: I don’t think Miami has any more playing time for another wing. James and Wade will play close to 38 min/game i guess, and mike miller can spell both. So even if they take another 2 or 3 into the rotation it will be a minor role. Boston (and LA) might have the most intriguing roles for a player at that position, if he wants to seriously compete for a championship and still get decent playing time.

    Hopefully Barnes/Butler are thinking the same. If at the minimum these guys seem to be the best options.

  • Jay P

    I dont understand the Janning posts… come on people.

    The guy had one good game… in Summer league. Let’s not start any parades.

    I’m far more excited, about the consistent performances by Harangody, and defensive performances every single game from Gaffney, than one flash in the pan from Janning.

  • Perry

    Man, we are really bottom feeding this morning.

    The bottom of the barrel doesn’t have to be the narrative just yet.

    That s/t rumor of Shaq/M. Williams is just that. No substance. Would the Cavs be amiable to a s/t or would Shaq settle a bi annual exception? If the latter were to happen I think the Celts would be out of running. I beleive it was used last year on Quis. Nevertheless, I think the veterans are working Shaq behind the scenes, and it would a real coup if Danny could land him. His last hurrah spent in Boston chasing Riley for a title. A tad more intriguing than dying on the vine in Atlanta. Dallas is a possibility, but they already have a ton of $$ invested in Haywood/Chandler. Shaq is a better fit in Boston.

    Cavs are pitching Butler, Wright and Brewer too. Isloa in the NY Daily News says Fernandez is still considering Boston. The Blazers say they want draft picks. What’s holding us back from dealing a number one?

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    depressing indeed – great picture. they can fill out the bench with these guys but will need to make a trade to get a wing that can help them contend for a title. danny will be patient. i am patient.

  • James

    I was having a good morning until I read this list.

  • Tom

    Cavs used their bi-annual on Moon or Parker if I recall correctly.

  • Jay P

    @Perry

    If Portland thinks they can get better picks, basically. Also Danny hasn’t been known to deal his picks, mostly because he usually drafts very well, and gets better value out of those picks.

    They being said, if Portland would trade him for a mid 1st rounder (where Boston will likely be picking) then it’s a no-brainer. But I think Portland is holding out for a team like the Nets, who would conceivably be drafting a bit higher, to offer up a pick.

  • Eric

    actually Janning had a few good games in vegas in addition to the one standout game for us (but he only played two for us). I don’t know why but I have a really good feeling that this kid could actually contribute SOME minutes as soon as this year. I think his rebounding is fairly good too. Obviously not the ONLY answer, but there are now a few teams interested in him, I for one would like to see him play for us.

  • sam

    Fernandez is looking almost as good as those buffalo wings.

    He’d have a huge role off the bench here. Like Ray, he can do a bit of everything at the wing.

  • Perry

    @JayP

    Absolutely right. First, they have Matthews in the fold, which makes Fernandez totally expendable. His salary would comport with a mid 1st rounder, and the final year is a qualifier. He’s got the size and skill set to be groomed for Ray’s slot. I can’t think of a better thing for Danny to be doing this weekend than chasing him down.

  • Perry

    @Sam

    Maybe Zach, Brendan or Brian could text the image of the wings over to Danny?? Hint…Hint

  • efstje

    boy,the flotsam and jetsam of nba is on this list…I haven’t even heard most of these guys..
    i think though, we will sign a big man with the vets min and get the wing man we want by trading sheed’s contract.makes more sense to me..

  • Luke

    JEREMY
    LIN

    worth a flyer, no?

  • I love Green

    Yep…Danny waited too long.

    Lets trade Sheed, and a #1 to Portland for Rudy, then sign Bogans.

  • Demetri

    Rashad McCants would be nice, or trade Sheed and Nate for a wing and a big. But don’t trade a 1st rd pick because we’re gonna need those to help replace the sagging old guys that Danny keeps signing. I feel so bad for Rondo… 2 years seem like an eternity.

  • tgee

    eddie house?!

  • Arthur

    what would we have to do to sign a guy like Stanley Robinson? he doesn’t have a guaranteed contract. i think his athleticism is a major plus and he could be a key contributor in the future. His style of play would fit well with Rondo. how do we go about getting him from the magic?

  • jfree781

    Matt Janning looks great in summer league
    Roger Mason
    Cartier Martin
    CJ watson to back up ray
    And for PF I like anthony Tolliver or BC’s own Craig Smith

  • Ben

    Butler would be great but i doubt he’d take the min. I think Rashad McCants would be excellent. Instant scoring off the bench, kind of like a poor mans Ricky Davis but getting less minutes. For those that doubt McCants read this article
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/news/story?id=5383373

  • Shooter

    Actually the Bobcats could very well take a pass on Hughes so don’t give up hope yet.Him and Butler are the only remaining players who could come here and contribute off the bench.

  • JH

    Have you heard anything about Chris Douglas Roberts? NJ has loaded up with other shooting guards and looks like to have left him out. Any chance the C’s can sign him?

  • Ian Bolling

    What about Rashad McCants?

  • rav

    @JH

    CDR was traded to the Bucks for picks.

  • Antoinew8

    You missed Rasul Butler, Jerry Stackhouse, Flip Murray, Earl Watson, Bobby Simmons, Roger mason, and possibly Josh Howard who i’m almost sure now will join the Celtics now that Chicago is out of the mix.

  • william

    Why don’t the celtics try and get shannon brown?

  • Tim

    Jerry Stackhouse please…

  • hamo

    a lot of good players have already been picked up by other teams. this list sucks, it would’ve been nice if ya’ll picked up stoudemire or barnes.

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