Gone are Shelden Williams, Rasheed Wallace, Tony Allen, Michael Finley and Eddie House. In their place on the C's bench will be Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, Von Wafer, Semih Erden and draft-picks Avery Bradley and Luke Harangody.
With Kendrick Perkins likely out until the winter and Wallace in retirement, the Celtics will need the O'Neals, as well as Erden and Harangody to step up in the interior. All are expected to be role players, but both Shaq and Jermaine O'Neal have a lot to prove. Shaq's tenure in Phoenix did not work out as hoped, nor did his time in Cleveland. Jermaine O'Neal's dominance declined drastically when he moved from Indiana to Miami.
Even in a down year for the Cavs, Shaq did averaged 12 points and 6.7 rebounds in 23 minutes — good numbers for a role player. That's all that is expected of him for the Celtics.
After being an elite big man and 20-10 guy in Indiana, Jermaine O'Neal's numbers dwindled to 14 points and seven rebounds in 28 minutes this past season in Miami. Again, those numbers are far from insignificant, and if Shaq and Jermaine can continue those paces, they will combine to put up strong stats at center.
They aren't alone at that position, though. Erden , a 2008 Celtics second-rounder has been been signed after spending the past five seasons in his home country of Turkey. He is an experienced player, having played for one of Europe's best teams, Fenerbahce, for a half-decade, but he is still young — only 24.
Harangody, the team's most recent second-rounder, proved himself in summer league and earned a contract with the team. The former Notre Dame star is still developing his game, but he may contribute some this season.
In the backcourt, first-rounder Bradley will back up Rajon Rondo at point guard. The former Texas Longhorn was a highly-touted high school recruit renowned for his athleticism and upside. He too is young and raw, but his athleticism should allow him to contribute as a strong defensive guard immediately.
Wafer, back from a stint in Europe, will take House's role as shooting specialist. The Florida State alum shot 39 percent from behind the arc in 2008-09 for the Rockets.
So, which Celtics newcomer will make the biggest impact next season?
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