With the most exciting moments of the offseason behind us, Celtics Town is counting down the Celtics’ roster from 16 to one. We’ll offer speculation on the role each player has to play, and where they’ll be in the rotation as we look towards the upcoming season.
Jamar Smith has the misfortune of coming in at 16th on our Roster Countdown, not a good place to be on a 15-man roster. Smith had a shot of making the team before veteran chemist Keyon Dooling resigned, but the Reverend’s return makes it likely that Smith won’t be there on October 30 to kick off the season with the rest of the team, barring an injury (knocks on wood). Still, anything is possible, so lets take a look at why Jamar Smith is 16th on the rotation list and what he has to offer the Celtics.
The Celtics are currently rostering six guards other than Jamar Smith (Dooling, Terry, Rondo, Bradley, Lee, and Christmas). Of the four that have spent time at point in the NBA three of them (Dooling, Terry, and Rondo) have a better career assist/turnover ratio than Smith had in either summer league this year or during his stint in the D-League (all of these guys had a ratio of at least two, Smith did not). Christmas also out performed him in this category during summer league, barely, but even though Christmas’s assist/turnover ratio was only tenths of a point better, he averaged 1.4 more assists/game (in about 4 more minutes) than Smith did (also worth noting, Smith’s best passing game featured three assists, Christmas averaged 3.1). The number one thing I was looking for during summer league, when I wasn’t busy gushing over Joseph and Sullinger or trying to convince myself that Sean Williams could get his shit together, was a backup point guard and I’ll be honest, no one really stood out to me. There are seven guards on this roster and only one of them is a natural point. I suspect that Terry and Bradley will split the backup duties, but having someone who could step in even for a few minutes and run the offense would have been a huge boon for this team (I was really hoping the Celtics would snag Scott Machado for their summer league roster but the Houston Assets snatched him up instead). Smith’s best chance of making this roster was to stand out as something more than a shooter, and he wasn’t able to do that.
I know it sounds like I’m really down on Smith, but there’s actually a lot to like. Assist numbers aside, he’s a willing passer and probably had the best shot selection on the summer league roster (he wasn’t just gunning with reckless abandon, a la Jonathan Gibson). In fact I built the damn Jamar Smith bandwagon right here on Celtics Town. If Smith is to somehow find a role on this roster it’ll be as a 3-point specialist in the tradition of Eddie House. Of the Celtics current roster the best 3-point shooter during the 2011-2012 season was Avery Bradley (41%). Smith shot 38% from beyond the arc during summer league but in games where he wasn’t asked to be a primary ball-handler (before the Courtney Lee trade) he shot 47%, which seems more in line with the 43% average he held in the D-League. However, with the addition of Courtney Lee the Celtics added another quality 3-point shooter (I would argue the best on their roster besides Smith) and Smith just isn’t great at anything else. He doesn’t offer playmaking ability or a veteran presence, and he isn’t particularly physically gifted. Unless something changes, I don’t see Smith opening the season with the Celtics.
You can follow Jordan on Twitter, @OffensiveG.