The Boston Globe has a feature up on their site with a poll that asks the fans whether they want to keep or replace all of the players from last year's squad. There were a few surprises, but pretty much as you would expect after the play of each of them last season. You can check out the poll and it is still open for votes if you don't agree with the results and want to make your voice heard.
The player that fans want back the most is Jared Sullinger. That's no surprise. He showed tremendous potential last season in spite of playing with a back problem. He fast became the Celtics' best rebounder, an area in which the Celtics desperately needed some help. I have a feeling that the 4% who want to replace him are Heat fans not wanting to see this team with a healthy Sully. 96% keep, 4% replace.
The second most popular player is Jeff Green. Again, this isn't a surprise. After missing the previous year with open heart surgery, Jeff started a bit slowly and was inconsistent early, but came into his own after the All Star game, often carrying the team offensively in the playoffs. Hopefully we see the aggressive and consistent Jeff Green right from the beginning next season. 94% keep, 6% replace
Next on the list of players the fans want to keep is Avery Bradley. Bradley came into the season still rehabbing his surgically repaired shoulders. He was just beginning to come into his own and play well when Rondo went down and Avery was forced into the point guard roll, which took away his strengths of running the floor with Rondo and cutting to the hoop as well as some of his defensive intensity. 89% keep, 11% replace.
Next in line is Rajon Rondo, who not surprisingly, most fans want to keep. In spite of his reputation as a difficult player and his impulsiveness, he still is one of the best point guards in the league. In spite of some success right after Rondo's injury, the Celtics' first round exit for the Celtics this season showed just how important Rondo is to this team. Pretty much every year, trade rumors surround the Celtics' mercurial point guard because he is their most valuable asset. But, with Rondo coming off of an ACL injury, now is not the time to trade him. He will be more valuable to the continuity of the Celtics than his value on the market coming off a serious injury. With Derrick Rose missing the entire year on their minds, teams will be a bit skittish about trading for injured players. In fact, the fear of Rondo's inability to come back strong from the injury may be the reason for the 29% who want to replace him. 71% keep, 29% replace.
KG is next in line for players that the fans want to bring back. In spite of his age, for most of the year, KG was one of the more healthy players on the team. He was hampered with the ankle/foot problems down the stretch, but he still came up big in the playoffs and was arguably the Celtics most consistent player. KG has 2 years left on his contract and a no trade clause so leaving would have to be his decision. He has hinted that his decision will be tied to Paul Pierce's fate. If Pierce is dealt or if Doc leaves, KG may decide to retire or to go to another contender. If Pierce and Doc are both back, I can see KG wanting to give it one more try to win with the same core. He certainly has a lot of good basketball left to give to a team, whatever he decides. I know one thing, though, if KG doesn't feel that he can play at 100% he will not return for another year no matter what else happens with the team. 65% keep, 35% replace.
Just as the careers of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have been intertwined over the past 6 seasons, their results in the poll are very close as well. Paul Pierce still put up all star numbers for most of the season and, as with KG, he was healthy for most of the season. He struggled somewhat in the playoffs, but there were rumors of a pinched nerve in his neck and other little injuries that were hampering him. He is still the Captain, and the Truth. Most Celtics fans can't picture him playing in any other uniform after 15 seasons in Green. Still there are some fans eager to begin the rebuild and feel that trading their two older stars is the way to do it. 63% keep, 37% replace.
Another player that the fans want to keep is Shavlik Randolph. This isn't a surprise. He is a tough 7 footer that doesn't mind banging inside. He's a good rebounder with a soft touch around the basket. He came in late in the season, but showed enough positives to become a fan favorite in spite of limited playing time. He seemed to make good things happen when he was on the court. Surprisingly, though, more fans want to keep Randolph than either Pierce or Garnett. 67% keep, 33% replace.
The only other player that the fans wanted back was Fab Melo. Although he spent most of his time in Maine and saw very little time with the Celtics parent team, he did show some promise. Up until he missed some time with a concussion after running into a door frame, Melo was playing very well and was an integral part of the Red Claws' starting lineup. After missing time with the concussion, as well as a sore hamstring, he struggled somewhat to find his role on the team once again. But the potential is still there and he is a legit 7 footer who is willing to work to get better. 56% keep, 44% replace.
On the other side of the coin, the player that the fans feel most strongly about replacing is DJ White. That's not a surprise. He came to the team late in the season and averaged only 7.2 minutes over 12 games. We really didn't see enough of him to know if he can contribute or not, but most of the fans feel that by replacing him, we can find a better player. 94% replace, 6% keep.
Next would be Courtney Lee. This is a little surprising for me. Lee struggled somewhat early and his shot was inconsistent at times, but he still shot 46% from the field and 37% from beyond the arc. His defense was stellar when he was paired with Avery in the back court and they were dubbed the "pit bulls" by some fans. Doc lost confidence in him though and he saw limited action in the playoffs. The verdict by the fans was that the majority want to replace him. 75% replace, 25% keep.
Chris Wilcox didn't really get a fair shake last season. His heart surgery was 3 months after Jeff Greens and it took until after the All Star Game for Green to begin to find his rhythm and to get his conditioning back. Wilcox wanted to play so much that he came back too quickly and had some nagging injuries early and couldn't get his conditioning to where it should have been. Also, Rondo's injury took away one of his strengths, running the court and finishing at the basket. I'm all for giving Chris another chance. I think he deserves it. 73% replace, 27% keep.
The fans also voted to replace Terrence Williams. He showed promise in the time that he got to play.last season. He is athletic and has good handles on the ball. However, with his legal problems looming, his future with the Celtics is in question, no matter what kind of promise he showed in the time he was with the team. 71% replace, 29% keep.
Fans also want to replace Jason Terry. JET struggled much of the year and did a lot more talking at times than he did scoring. However, in the playoffs, he did come up big in a couple of the games. His age along with his struggles may have fans thinking that his best is behind him. 58% replace, 42% keep.
Jordan Crawford didn't endear himself with the fans in his short time with the team. His performance on the court was erratic and he showed that he has maturity problems when he started something with Carmelo Anthony after a playoff game. He was also seen at at shoot around with marijuana leaves on his socks. I agree with the consensus of fans, we can do better. 53% replace, 47% keep.
Finally, the fans are fairly evenly divided in their thoughts on Brandon Bass. He struggled through parts of the season and seemed to be disgruntled when he was replaced in the starting lineup. But, in the playoffs, his defense on Carmelo Anthony was very good and he was a big part of why the team was even competitive.
51% replace, 49% keep.
48% of the fans want the team to make some changes and begin the transition from KG and Pierce but remain competitive. 27% of the fans feel it's time to completely overhaul the roster. Only 24% feel that we should try to build a contender around Rondo Pierce and KG.
There you have it. There were as many as 6400 votes in the Globe poll. I know there are a lot more fans out there than that. If we were to somehow include all Celtics fans, the results might change considerably. Or then again, they might not. What are your thoughts on who we should keep and who we should replace?
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