All previews follow the same format, I’ll be going in depth only on the players worth owning in a standard 12-team league, followed by players who you might consider as injury handcuffs/deep sleepers. As always, it starts with the most valuable player on the team:
Kevin Garnett (PF):
Helps: FG%, FT%, Rebounds, Points, Blocks, Steals
I’ll admit it, I drafted Garnett as the No. 1 overall pick in one league last season. I knew his scoring would come down but thought he would make up for it with assists to his new, more effective teammates, and better defensive stats.
What I didn’t count on was the Celtics being SO good that the minutes of their core players was restricted and minor injuries, like Garnett missing 11 games due to an abdominal strain. So that’s now the story for most of the Celtics key veterans.
The team is likely to be so good during the regular season that the players’ values are lower than their abilities because of the limited minutes they’ll receive as well as the fact that they will be useless for the last two weeks of the season as Boston rests for the playoffs.
Garnett’s per minute numbers were pretty much in line with his last season in Minnesota (20.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.4 blocks) and his FG% greatly improved (from .476 to .539). He still helps in nearly every category, although his assists are down because of his role with Boston being less of a facilitator and more of the anchor inside.
But he is as consistent as any player in the sport and still a top flight fantasy pick.
Where to take him: Late first round, although he could slip to the early second round.
Paul Pierce (SF):
Helps: Points, FT%, 3-pointers, Assists, Steals
In the same situation as Garnett, Pierce’s numbers decreased significantly last season as he found himself surrounded by elite talent. His cumulative numbers were lower but his percentages went up as he was not forced to carry a crappy team by himself.
Pierce help across the board, his FG% is no longer a liability and his turnovers were down as well, making him a more reliable fantasy player, although not nearly as explosive on a game-to-game basis as he once was.
Where to take him: Late third round, because he can no longer help you dominate any one category and his minutes will dwindle as the season moves along.
Ray Allen (SG):
Helps: 3’s, Points, FT%
I am always wary of drafting one-dimensional players and Allen is becoming just that. He is a lethal 3-point shooter, making 180 last season, but his scoring dipped below 18 per game and his assists and steals were the lowest since his rookie season in 1996-97.
Allen is still one of the game’s all time great free-throw shooters, but he only attempted 3.2 per game last season – also his lowest number since his rookie campaign. He is a career 45% shooter from the floor, which is harder to accept when he isn’t averaging 24 points per game.
Allen is a big name and may get overvalued based his notoriety, but for me he is a last resort kind of a guy if I am desperate for 3-pointers in the middle rounds.
When to take him: In the sixth round or beyond. His minutes and ability to stay healthy are question marks.
Rajon Rondo (PG):
Helps: Assists, Steals
Rondo continually improved as last season went along and will likely be the only Celtics starter to consistently log major minutes. He averaged 12.7 points, 6.1 assists, 5.0 rebounds and two steals per 36 minutes last season, including a slow start.
I’m not totally convinced Rondo will duplicate is 48% shooting from the floor, but he’s no longer the shaky shooter from his rookie season. Smart selection will keep his FG% respectable and he’ll provide enough steals and assists to make him a solid backup point guard or utility player.
The big drawback is he adds very few 3-pointers for a point guard (only five last season) and is an awful free-throw shooter (.611). Mercifully, he does not go to the line all that often.
When to take him: I view Rondo as an eighth or ninth rounder based on the assumption that you should already have two decent point guards and aren’t desperate for assists and steals.
Kendrick Perkins (C):
Helps: Blocks, Rebounds, FG%
Perkins took a big step forward last season as playing alongside Garnett boosted his per minute numbers from the previous season. He averaged 10.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per 36 minutes while shooting 61 percent from the floor. Even for a player who does not score a lot, that kind of percentage can help.
Perkins’ minutes have increased in each of his first five seasons and if he can approach 30 minutes per game this season (aka stay out of constant foul trouble), he will be a nightly double-double threat. His 62% free-throw shooting isn’t much of a concern in light of his gaudy FG%.
When to pick him: Tenth round or lower. You should probably have a couple solid centers before grabbing Perkins, but his upside for rebounds and blocks makes him a player to be drafted in all 12 team leagues.
If Garnett or Perkins goes down with an injury, Leon Powe or Glen Davis could have significant value securing the interior on such a talented team. Powe averaged an astounding 19.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per 36 minutes last season while Davis posted 12 and eight. There will likely be little room for either player to produce at the start of the season, especially with Doc Rivers’ maddening bench rotation, but that could change.
Be sure to check your league rules for specific position eligibility rules.