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. If you missed the last column in this series you can check it out here.
Fourteenth on the roster is the last inactive spot after the NBA made this past year’s rule change that increased the active roster to thirteen permanent. With this in mind, I think players 14-11 on the countdown will be pretty fluid during the regular season, depending on what Doc thinks he might need on any given night. Unfortunately for Joseph, in addition to his youth his position is also working against him. Joseph is a small forward and at the far end of the roster, less likely to be active on a nightly basis than if he were able to play multiple positions. At small forward Joseph is already behind Pierce and likely Jeff Green, both of whom will command some pretty significant playtime (and if one of them went down Courtney Lee or even Dionte Christmas can also play SF in a pinch. See? Flexibility). It’s nothing against Joseph, he just happens to be on a very deep and versatile roster. If you have the choice between activating a rookie who can play one position or a veteran who can play two or three, chances are the veteran gets the nod.
That said, I think it’s been pretty well documented how much we here at Celtics Town love Kris Joseph. He was one of the most pleasant surprises of Summer League, averaging just under 12 points and seven rebounds (on 41% shooting) through the first four games before he was pulled from the fifth with a hip injury (he would also injure his knee later in summer league). While he suffered a steep drop off in production after tweaking his hip he still managed to average eight points on seven shot attempts for the remainder of summer league. Though it’s not like he was lighting it up, his lift was clearly affected and he only shot 34% over that period, Joseph is just really good at drawing fouls. Also to his credit, Joseph plays bigger than he is — in Orlando summer league he averaged 5.8 rebounds a game, tied for second on the team (if you throw out the 5th game where he played eight minutes and was pulled after injury he would have led the team with 6.75). He also averaged two offensive rebounds a game in Orlando because of his ability to follow up his own shot, so in terms of efficiency his points-per-possession are even better than his shooting percentage would suggest (if you think it’s crap that I’m throwing out his Vegas stats because he was “injured,” Joseph averaged two offensive rebounds in Orlando, 1.5 in college, and .2 in Vegas — he was injured!). Joseph is also a better outside shooter than his summer league numbers would suggest (he shot 10% from deep in summer league, a misleading number in part because Joseph kept stepping out of bounds and then making the shot), shooting 35% from downtown in college.
All in all I feel pretty good about Kris Joseph. He arrives as advertised, a jack of all trades who — even though he’s not particularly great at anything — possesses no glaring holes. Despite listing him at 14th on the Roster Countdown, I expect he’ll get a decent amount of play time this season. Because Joseph is a one-position player (and a rookie) he’s not going to be active on a nightly basis, but I do expect that if Pierce or Jeff Green are sidelined at any point he’ll be activated and given reasonable playing time. There’s no telling if and when those opportunities may come, but if Joseph takes advantage of them he might find himself on the active roster a lot more often.
You can follow Jordan on Twitter, @OffensiveG.