By Matt Moore, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA
Since the trade dead line in mid-February, the Celtics roster has been turned upside down.With 21 games left, it’s up to Doc Rivers to find a fit for all the new acquisitions, and for those players to learn the system and find a role. We’ve already had a pretty good look at what Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic can do. Krstic is fitting nicely as the starting center, and Green has found himself contributing late in games. But besides these two, the Celtics also have three other new players. Let’s take a look at each, and what they can potentially bring to the C’s for their playoff run:
Troy Murphy: Murphy is a veteran with size and good outside shooting. He looked pretty rusty in his first few outings, but it was expected after only playing in 18 games prior to arriving in Boston. Playing in Indiana last year, he posted an impressive 14 points and 10 rebounds per game, while having a decent percentage from behind the 3-point arc. Coming off the bench for the Celtics won’t give him an opportunity to match these averages, but it shows what Murphy is capable of producing. No one the Celtics brought in can match the defensive presence of the departed Perkins, but Murphy is another big body that can get rebounds, help control the paint, and also chip in offensively. You can see why the Heat wanted Murphy just as bad as the Celtics did, and thankfully Murphy chose Boston. It’s hard to say how much Murphy would play in a shortened rotation come playoff time, behind Green and Glen Davis. But if called on, Murphycan hit a big shot when needed.
Sasha Pavlovic: Pavlovic wasn’t a name that many people were talking about coming to Boston, but after being bought out the Celtics made a move on him. At 6’7”, he has good size and is a career 40% shooter from the field and 35% from behind the arc. He also comes with playoff experience, as a role player during Cleveland’s winning seasons. Doc Rivers has praised Pavlovic for his defensive abilities. One thing the Celtics lacked was a player off the bench who could shutdown, or at least contain, an opponent’s primary scorer. They had that with James Posey and then with Tony Allen; now they are hoping that Pavlovic can help along with Green. Pavlovic rounds out the roster and gives the Celtics another player that Rivers can put on the court with confidence when needed.
Carlos Arroyo: The most recent addition is Arroyo, who was let go by Miami after they signed Mike Bibby. There was some talk of Bibby coming to Boston, but in my mind that would not have been a great fit. Besides his past issues with Boston’s fans, Bibby isn’t the productive player he used to be. Arroyo is a welcome surprise to the Celtics, and a better pick up than Bibby. Primarily a back up his entire career, Arroyo puts up decent numbers for a reserve point guard. He can distribute the ball and shoots at a high percentage. Adding another experienced point guard was a key following Delonte West’s most recent injury. Avery Bradley can’t be expected to back up Rondo if West ever went down during a playoff series. The Celtics now have a little more insurance at the point guard spot.
Time will tell how these players work within the Celtics system and with the core players already in place. Expectations for these three aren’t as high as Green and Krstic, since the Celtics didn’t give anything up to acquire them. Nobody is claiming that these three are the final pieces that will guarantee the Celtics an 18th banner. But looking at the roster, you have to like it a little better than when it featured Semih Erden and Luke Harrangody. Any contribution they can make will be welcomed. How many healthy players we have and how deep of a rotation Doc wants will determine their playing time in the playoffs. But if it comes down to it, I have confidence that these three, especially Murphy, can make a difference in a few games.