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Who Will Be The Celtics’ Biggest Underachiever Next Season?

Over at ESPN Boston, Celtics Hub’s writers have been participating in the Summer Forecast series hosted every year by our good friend Chris Forsberg. Forsberg’s questions are generally a fun glimpse into how the Celtics’ blogosphere projects the upcoming season to go.

Here are my thoughts on the Celtics’ biggest underachiever next season:

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 1.22.13 PMThere are a lot of other options here. I mentioned Jeff Green, who underachieved so hard last season it’s hard to imagine him continuing to fall. Similarly, Evan Turner is likely to disappoint, at least to the people who expect 18-points-per-game-with-Philly Evan Turner to show up in a much slower offensive system that focuses on other players. Marcus Smart is a dark-horse candidate, if only because we’ve built up our expectations pretty high — perhaps unfairly so. Tyler Zeller, who averaged 15 minutes per game last year, is somehow being hailed as a potential starter. Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger both took steps last year, but there’s no guarantee they’ll continue to do so as teams improve their scouting reports. There’s all kinds of potential disappointment on the 2014-15 Celtics.

But I think Thornton is a good bet to be the most disappointing, at least under the most basic definition of “underachiever.” Fans seem to expect him to be a scorer off the bench, and he’s likely to do plenty of that, but he’s unlikely to do it efficiently. Some inefficient shooters can be enjoyable to watch if they have other skills, like absurd athleticism (JR Smith) or an excellent handle (Allen Iverson). Thornton has neither. He’s serviceable but not entertaining in both areas, and he’s old enough that any questions of his ceiling are gone.

Other than that, he’ll be a ton of fun!

Who do you guys think will be the most frustrating player to watch next season?

Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.

  • hax

    My main candidates.

    Olynyk: He dropped 53% FG and 25 PPG in the 3 games he started at the end of the year. While we don’t expect that for the season, he needs to be a double digits PPG off the bench or a 15+ as a starter to show he’s our Dirk.

    Sullinger: Got overweight again. Maybe he gets his weight back down to 260 by the start of the season, but that time running calories off his body could be used on the court getting his jumpshot improved. KO is looking better than ever, and Sully might be tradebait if he fails to be a starter.

    Green: He’s far too athletic not to be a great scorer. He showed flashes of it, but was too inconsistent. But now he’s had a year to learn from being the ‘#1’ guy, and we should all expect him to be a 20 PPG player. Especially with Turner right there who would gladly take the starting job for half the cost of Green.

    Bradley: We paid him. Now he has to show he can be our future SG. 15+ PPG and lockdown defense. Another injury would make him a massive underachiever. This guy was #1 in the country out of high school, remember.

    Rondo: He’s in his prime now. Can he lead the team? Can he actually score like most all-stars can? Can he earn a larger contract? Let’s see it. If he ends up with another 11ppg-10apg year, I think Danny will trade him and let Smart be our guy.

  • Ray

    This has got to be one of the stupidest / most depressing articles ever posted on this site…

    Why not take an optimistic approach and talk about which player we are most excited to see…. instead the tone is “which knucklehead will be the most boneheadedly bad for us this season”

    lol… marcus thorton will probably ball out… im excited as shit to see him play

  • check12check

    I just want a season where Bradley doesn’t get injured…..

  • Robert

    If Green always underachieves…is he really underachieving?

    He’s been in the league 7 years, he is who he is. Do you know where Jeff Green ranked in Hollinger’s PER stat this year? 201st! Behind all-stars like Tyler Hansbrough, Ronny Turiaf, and Shelvin Mack.

    • hax

      I think a small line-up (KO-JG8-Turner) would help Jeff be more consistent.

      • Coach A. Johnson

        And yet Green remains our most athletic player. No one on this roster can run and jump like he can and does. FTR Kidd became a great three point shooter as he got older, it can happen despite what Robert says. Oh and that small ball lineup will be on the court at times. Versatility is key.

  • swissflix

    Why does the name Jeff Green cross my mind immediately?

    • hax

      Because we expected a guy who we got in exchange for PERKINS to be the next Paul Pierce and he had no chance to meet our expectations.

      • swissflix

        No. I never expected Green to be the next PP. And i think he has had his share of chances to shine after two full seasons.

  • Coach A. Johnson

    I really can’t see(blinders on full) anyone missing their opportunity to shine this year, They all have put in the work to contribute mightily to the cause of being a really good team. Every player has some motivation for the upcoming season. Now some guys are going to have to wait for other guys to mess up, get injured or whatever, so they can get their chance. We are so deep the 12-15 men on the team will have a hard time getting some playing time. They are Anthony, Faverani, Pressey, Young, respectively. That said Danny will work hard to rid us of Anthony(to a contender that needs another C, Dallas maybe?) and Thornton(to a contender that needs a shooter, Dallas again?).