The Boston Celtics, one year removed from their 17th NBA championship, with their nucleus healthy and their bench revamped, took the floor Tuesday morning at their training facility in Newport, R.I. Preseason training camp is under way, and it's time to see what these C's are made of.
The good news is that we appear to know now exactly who they're made of. With the signing of No. 58 overall draft pick Lester Hudson to a one-year contract this week, the Celtics have rounded out their 15-man roster, adding a backup point guard with tremendous upside and the potential to score in bunches.
"It feels great," Hudson told The Boston Globe this week. "Makes me feel a little more comfortable going into training camp. I’ve just got to keep playing hard, working hard."
Hudson has worked hard already, just to get here. As a guard for the University of Tennessee-Martin, Hudson grew into one of the best players in Ohio Valley Conference history. He worked to develop his defense, his ballhandling and obviously his scoring. He was the second-leading scorer in the nation last winter, trailing only Davidson's Stephen Curry.
It makes perfect sense that Hudson would claim the 15th spot on the C's roster. He's young, and given his flashy collegiate numbers, he's certainly got potential. With his scoring ability, he brings an offensive flair to the team's bench that will help fill the void left by Leon Powe. And since he can play the point, he might finally lay to rest the question of who's most qualified to back up Rajon Rondo.
Sounds like the perfect guy to assume the last spot on the Celtics' roster. Case closed, right?
The Worcester Telegram and Gazette's Bill Doyle noted Tuesday that the Celtics also agreed to terms with Michael Sweetney, an undersized big man who's been out of the NBA since a brief stint with the Chicago Bulls through 2007. Sweetney appears to also be in the running for a spot at the tail end of the Celtics' roster.
It's unclear why. The Celtics already have plenty of big men on their roster — Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins are back, Glen Davis was re-signed, and Rasheed Wallace and Shelden Williams have arrived to bolster the Boston bench.
By going after Sweetney, the Celtics were simply adding to the depth at a position where they don't really need it.
The C's are too smart for that. The more likely solution is that Sweetney is an insurance policy — on board just in case someone gets hurt. If someone higher up the Celtics' depth chart goes down early in the season, Sweetney can slide right in.
He may be needed even earlier than that. C's swingman Tony Allen, who's still recovering from right ankle surgery in June, appears to be less than 100 percent. With the health of the Celtics' active roster already in question as camp begins, it's a good thing they have backup plans.
But make no mistake — Hudson should be the Celtics' Plan A. He was a standout performer in college, and by filling the Celtics' need for another guard, he can be a contributor at the pro level as well.
It's still early. No one's demanding that the Celtics have everything figured out right away — camp's just getting under way. But as an initial plan, it makes sense to pledge the last spot on the C's roster to Lester Hudson.
In the long run, it just might pay off.