The Celtics' success the past couple seasons was due in large part to the fact that they could rotate between starters and reserves seamlessly, always managing to keep at least one and sometimes two members of the Big Three on the court. And while this plan was responsible for their success in 2007-08, it was greatly affected by the injury bug during the stretch run in '08-09.
With a depleted bench, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were forced to play major minutes over the final weeks of the season, which — combined with the injury to Kevin Garnett — eventually led to the team's demise in the second round of the playoffs.
But after watching his team fall to a younger, healthier, deeper Magic team in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Danny Ainge is doing his best to prevent an early exit from happening again through key free-agent signings.
There is no doubt that Rasheed Wallace will vastly improve a team that, when healthy, needs little improvement. Wallace will likely be the Celtics' sixth man, but probably won't spend as much time on the pine as the stereotypical bench player. He might currently be classified as a reserve, but he did start 62 of the 66 games he played in for the Pistons last season.
Aside from Wallace and the recent news of the Pacers' Marquis Daniels committing to sign with the C's, Leon Powe and Glen Davis remain the most important free-agent cases for the 2009-10 Celtics in trying to solidify the bench.
A year ago, Ainge let James Posey walk away after playing a significant role in the Celtics' title and Ainge was unable to replace him, which left a gaping hole in the depth chart. This season, Ainge has chosen to do the same with Powe and Davis so far, but luckily for him the market settled down to the point that neither of them has been able to land a contract elsewhere.
The Celtics might be in cap trouble, which is cause for concern in trying to bring back the two role players. But deciding on whether or not bring back the duo could very well be the difference between a banner being raised in the Garden or in another arena next June.
Ainge has been given a second chance to bring back two Celtics with rings and experience in Doc Rivers' system, and it's time he did what's right to round out his bench.
It wasn't too long ago that many believed that Powe and Davis had seen their last days in green, but that is longer the case anymore. And that could be very good news for the Celtics.
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