It’s that time of year again:
Because the Celtics have been on their very best behavior in 2010 (see: epic playoff run sabotaged only by last second injury and 23-4 start to new season), we’d like to suggest some possible gifts for each member of the team; from the last guy on the bench to the leading scorer.
We’ll do this in two parts, beginning with the bench, with the starters coming later on this morning.
Glen Davis – Davis is posting career-highs in minutes, points, PER, TS%, eFG% and taking charges like he’s a masochist. Unlike previous years, he’s comfortable working in the painted area and knocking down jumpers from the outside, starting and coming off the bench. We don’t see instances like this or this anymore. In short – our little Big Baby is all ‘grownsed’ up! For that, we’d suggest he receive serious consideration for sixth man of the year.
Marquis Daniels – We were going to suggest getting Daniels some jewelry but feel like it would pale in comparison to the bling he’s already sporting. So, let’s give him the gift of performance – a playoff run filled with inspiring shutdown defense at the 3-spot, which helps the Celtics past the Miami Heat and helps Daniels secure a healthy new contract in the offseason.
Delonte West – The gift of redemption. West seemed on the way to a great year after a few strong games back in the lineup. He quickly stabilized the second unit and Doc Rivers showed immediate confidence in his ability to close games with the starters. As much as the Celtics have missed Kendrick Perkins this year, West’s return may have the most impact on this team. Let’s hope it continues to be a positive one.
Nate Robinson – What Robinson needs (besides another seven inches of height) is the ability to make good decisions all the time. Or the opportunity to focus completely on scoring. Given the latter is more likely than the former, we’ll give him the gift of a returning Delonte West, who’ll shift him back to 2-guard where he belongs.
Semih Erden – Erden gets an economy-sized vat of industrial strength glue, to be slathered all over his hands before games. His confidence looks to be on the upswing and he’s improved at finishing contested shots at the rim, but he keeps having rebounds slip through his grasp and deflect off his fingers. If his hands get a bit stickier on loose rebounds, he’ll seriously up his impact.
Avery Bradley – Bradley gets the sound of snapping mesh. How many jumpers has the 20-year-old missed this year? The answer – almost all of them. The rookie is shooting 23% from the field in his seven games. Lately, he’s been stepping into his shots with confidence but only drawing iron. That’s actually an improvement from some of his early airballs but let’s hope his jumpers start falling because he looks like a keeper on the defensive end.
Luke Harangody – The gift of lateral quickness. I still suspect Harangody is a longshot to stick in the league for more than a couple of years, but if he can find a way to hold his own on the defensive end of the court, he could make a living as a twelfth man/practice player for a number of years. Which is where the comparisons to Brian Scalabrine actually make sense.
Von Wafer – If we see Wafer for extended minutes at any point this season, it probably means two of Daniels, West and Paul Pierce are injured. So, let’s think positive, assume that won’t happen and ship Wafer off to a place where he can get some real run. We’ll include the receipt for this gift should Wafer want to exchange it for a comfortable spot on the Celtics’ bench, garbage time minutes, and a good view of Gino.
Jermaine O’Neal – Motivation. Celtics fans are impatient with the length of time it has taken O’Neal to recover from his injury, and a couple of Doc Rivers’ comments suggest he’s feeling the same way (my speculation only). So, let’s hope O’Neal returns with a healthy fury and shows us he deserves all that mid-level money because comparisons to Rasheed Wallace (who, by the way, gets a lump of coal in his stocking) grow louder by the day.