After the Boston Celtics waived rookie guard Lester Hudson yesterday, the question on every Celtics fan’s mind was how GM Danny Ainge plans to use the open roster spot. If Hudson clears waivers, there is still a chance he may return, but what else might the Celtics do with their new-found roster flexibility?
Tomorrow, I’m going to write a trade column detailing various trades the Celtics may pursue, but today my focus is on the possible internal solution: signing Celtics Director of Basketball Development Tyronn Lue out of retirement.
In the offseason before Lue retired, Ainge and Lue’s close friend, Kevin Garnett, were in hot pursuit of the veteran point guard. After signing on as Director of Basketball Development, however, Lue has remained in shape by practicing and working out with the team.
Both Ainge’s offseason interest and Lue’s ability to play, combined with Boston’s recent history of mid-season additions ( P.J. Brown, Stephon Marbury), have led to speculation that Lue might return from retirement to fill out the Celtics 15th roster spot.
The Boston Celtics desperately need a true backup point guard, but is Tyronn Lue really the answer?
When I first heard the idea, I’ll admit, I wasn’t buying Tyronn Lue as the solution. I mean, this was the same guy whose claim to fame was defending Allen Iverson in the 2001 NBA Finals – a Finals series in which AI averaged 35.6 ppg – right? The possibility of signing Lue didn’t exactly have me jumping off the couch.
But then I thought over the idea some more.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers doesn’t need another scorer off the bench. Marquis Daniels, Eddie House, and Rasheed Wallace already score plenty of baskets. All Rivers needs is a steady hand to guide the offense for the few minutes a game Rondo rests.
Not only has Lue proven to be a heady, veteran player who Doc could trust, but he’s also a career 39.1% three-point shooter. On a team that has been plagued by turnovers all season, Lue has a career assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.6 to 1, averaging a measly 1.19 TO’s per game.
If Lue can run the team efficiently while Rondo is on the bench, and knock down a few open 3′s, he will be a welcome addition to the Boston Celtics.
There are some drawbacks to Lue’s return, of course. Listed at a (generous) 6’0” , 175 lbs, Lue is a small PG who’d be hard to pair with the undersized House in the same backcourt. What the Celtics really need is a big PG who can guard the shooting guards, so that House can guard the point guards.
However, that dilemma could be resolved with some creative lineup adjustments by Rivers. Rivers could play Lue more often with the first unit, letting Rondo lead the second unit. This adjusment would keep House and Lue off the floor together, so as to avoid defensive mismatches. An added bonus to playing Rondo more with second unit is that it would give Rondo more offensive freedom, allowing him to be the go-to-guy for once.
Despite a few minor drawbacks, signing Tyronn Lue would be a low-risk, relatively high-reward move that could bolster our championship chances.
Count me in.
Let’s just hope we don’t have to face Allen Iverson and the 76ers anytime soon…