Point Guard Options



Forsberg By Chris Forsberg

The Boston Celtics have rolled the dice without a pure backup point guard in recent seasons, but the loss of Rajon Rondo might force their hand this season.

The Celtics plan to lean on a four-guard rotation of Avery Bradley, Leandro Barbosa, Courtney Lee, and Jason Terry -- all of whom have ballhandling experience but prefer to play off the ball -- while supplementing that group with ballhandling swingmen such as Paul Pierce and Jeff Green.

Boston undoubtedly can get by with that crew, but the question is whether it's sustainable for a long stretch -- particularly in the postseason, when defenses ratchet up a couple of notches. Playing without a proven ball handler is not a recipe for NBA success. You can't help but think back to recent seasons when the Celtics were left scrambling to add a backup point guard -- someone like Carlos Arroyo -- for emergency depth on the mere chance that Rondo would miss time.

The concern for Boston has to be turnovers. The Celtics are not a good enough offensive team -- particularly without Rondo -- to overcome a rash of giveaways (which, as the worst transition defense in the league, often leads to easy buckets). Through Tuesday's games, Boston is tied for 11th in team turnover percentage (15.3 percent), according to NBA.com, and it can't allow that number to dive.

Boston averages 14.6 turnovers per game, but the line of demarcation appears to be 17 turnovers, as Boston is a mere 1-8 in games in which it reaches that number this season.

Teams will smell blood and pressure the likes of Bradley, while Lee and Terry have been prone to some careless turnovers. Barbosa might be the best option with his speed and handle, but it remains to be seen whether he can sustain that play during longer batches of minutes.

Ultimately, the Celtics have to keep an open mind to adding another ball handler. With two open roster spots, if they can find someone who can grasp the offense and provide a steadying presence, they absolutely have to consider him, because now they don't have the Rondo security blanket they've been accustomed to having.


By Greg Payne

The Celtics shouldn't look to make any drastic moves to alter their backcourt in the wake of Rajon Rondo's season-ending ACL tear. Unless director of basketball operations Danny Ainge decides to revamp the roster, bringing in a free-agent point guard would do very little to alter the team's playoff chances as they look right now.

Although championship hopes certainly seem futile, Boston's current makeup -- assuming some sort of consistency can be found -- still should be more than enough to secure the eighth playoff spot in the East and maybe even a higher seed. The Celtics still have a very solid backcourt rotation with Leandro Barbosa, Courtney Lee, Avery Bradley and Jason Terry. Would a guy like Delonte West or Mike James really do that much more than any of those four players?

Also, the Celtics don't have many desirable trade chips and likely don't want to give up Bradley or Jared Sullinger to try to secure another productive young guard. For now, Boston should increase Barbosa's minutes, start him alongside Bradley and keep Lee and Terry paired together with the second unit.

Except for Bradley, whose own development (he's still just 22 years old) might be sped up a bit with Rondo out, those players all came to Boston to accept smaller roles on a championship contender, but had held greater responsibilities on some of their past teams. All four are capable of assuming a greater role with Rondo out, and the Celtics should explore that scenario first before trying to seek other arrangements.

As Ainge contemplates both the short-term and long-term future of this team, he's best to keep the pieces he has in place and see how they adjust to having more substantial roles.