The trade that sent Glen Davis to Orlando was not popular among some Celtics fans, who had grown fond of Big Baby's unconventional game and attitude, but it was hard to argue with the immediate results.
Brandon Bass, whom the Celtics received in return for Davis, was arguably Boston's best frontcourt player in the season opener in New York. The seventh-year forward had 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting and 11 rebounds, better than seven-footers Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O'Neal had in either category.
Bass showed a soft touch from the outside and finished with power around the basket in a way Davis never did. Although Bass' contributions came in a losing effort on Sunday, the Celtics need more performances like that if they are to survive the condensed 66-game schedule. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen aren't getting any younger, and Rajon Rondo should carry a heavier load than in any other year. So it's up to Bass and some of the other new faces to fill in the gaps.
Bass made by far the biggest impact of those newcomers on Sunday, but the team hopes that by the middle of the season rookie JaJuan Johnson is pitching in as well. The slightly built 6-foot-10 forward out of Purdue is a reliable jump-shooter who needs some seasoning (and a little more meat on his bones) to become an important part of the Celtics' rotation.
There is less competition for playing time in the backcourt, where second-year guard Avery Bradley and veteran Keyon Dooling received a fair share of playing time against the Knicks. Dooling scored four points, all on free throws, and three assists, while Bradley missed both his shots. Bradley will need to put a few in the net if he hopes to fend off rookie E'Twaun Moore for playing time behind Allen.
Chris Wilcox, another offseason acquisition, muscled his way to three rebounds and a blocked shot in just over 14 minutes of work. Depending on the health of O'Neal, Wilcox could end up becoming the most important of this bunch.