Finally…Center Grades









Kevin Garnett








Up until last week, KG would have been placed with the power forwards, but with the injury to Jermaine O’Neal, KG has been moved to center and thrived. KG doesn’t have the quickness that he used to in his prime but understands maybe better than anyone else in the NBA how to use his body defensively and to be in the right position.

20120308-120538.jpgPositives: By all accounts KG, has not Pierce or Rondo has been the Celtics best player this season. He has the highest PER on the team as well as the best +/-. As I said up above, KG just understands the game. He is still quicker than most centers and gets to good position defensively and the five game win streak was correlated to KG being switched to center. His jumper from outside is still pure as ever. He stretches the floor just like Bass does, and allows room for Rondo, Ray, and Paul to drive the lane. He is still the heart of the Celtics and he brings the intensity to every single game. Last season according to Synergy, KG was the second best defensive power forward in the game, behind Taj Gibson.

Negatives: He has lost the quickness and the ability to jump that he had as a youngster and it shows on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Quicker players just go right by him as he helplessly looks on. Also, KG doesn’t seem to want or feel the need to box out. If he stuck a body on some players he would have saved at least 30 offensive rebounds this season for the Celtics. His knees are also a constant worry for the Celtics and his minutes need to be monitored.

Grade: B+









Jermaine O’Neal








Positives: Jermaine O’Neal is the rare NBA player who has completely transformed his game. Long gone is the high-flying center that would sky for dunks on one end and have highlight reel blocks on the other. He still blocks shots now, but it is completely due to his great positioning and timing instead of athletic ability. He is also the rare player who has the ability to not only block shots, but be in position to take charges. Before his injury Jermaine was up and away leading the NBA in charges taken this year. He is also one of the Celtics best rebounders and provides much needed big man depth for the team.

Negatives: His offensive game has much to be desired. He has a decent 10-15 foot jumper, but outside of that, does not bring much else to the table. He is constantly hurt and his latest wrist injury, may keep him out for the rest of the season. Poor guy, because his body just doesn’t seem to be able to hold up anymore. On top of the wrist, his knees are farther gone than KG’s.

Due to the uncertainty with his wrist for the rest of the season. The Celtics may look to cut Jermaine O’Neal to open up space to sign another big man for the playoff run. They also were looking to trade his expiring contract. While I love Jermaine and his passion, I am not sure that the Celtics are going to have him on the roster past this season.

Jermaine O’Neal Update

Grade: C+









Greg Stiemsma








Positives: The steamer has been a fun player to watch this year. Burdened with big expectations after a big preseason, Stiemsma has played well in some situations and looked lost in others. He is averaging almost a block every 9 minutes and has shown great defensive ability. He also has a better than expected 10-15 foot jump shot that he’ll hit every once in a while.

Negatives: He is not always ready to play and will sometimes just look lost or confused out there. He takes chances defensively going for the big block and can look silly out there. Other than a few jumpers, he is extremely limited offensively and has terrible hands. You gotta love the steamer though.

Grade: C

Power Forward Grades

Small Forward Grades

Shooting Guard Grades

Point Guard Grades


Jermaine O’Neal Injury News

Jermaine O’Neal injured his wrist in the game against the Mavericks and it was initially ruled as a sprained left wrist. He met with a hand specialist in Boston and the injury was ruled much more serious than expected. Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe reported that O’Neal has three options.

1.)    Take a cortisone shot

2.)    Minor wrist surgery

3.)    Season-ending wrist surgery

O’Neal is currently deciding on which situation to choose. It should be noted that Jermaine has struggled with wrist injuries in the past.

Going forward, it looks like Garnett will get moved to center and it looks like Brandon Bass will start at power forward. Chris Wilcox and Jujuan Johnson will get more run off the bench as the Celtics will probably run more in transition.

If the Celtics end up losing Jermaine for the season, they will be losing what has been their best post defender this season. Jermaine O’Neal has been rated by synergy as one of the top-ten defensive players in the NBA this season. He has a unique ability to be able to block shots and take charges. But at this point in his career Jermaine is extremely weak offensively. He ranks 49th out of all centers offensively this season even 9 spots behind the steamer, Greg Stiemsma.

Hopefully Jermaine comes back this season and helps the Celtics. I was hoping that they would be able to use his contract to trade for some future assets or players (Michael Beasley’s contract matches up nicely). But I am trying to not to get too greedy.

AL East Position Matchup: Left field

On the agenda today is Left field. Left field looked like it was going to be a very weak spot last month when it was announced that Carl Crawford underwent offseason surgery on his wrist. It was recently announced that Crawford has high hopes to be back for Opening Day, which is great news for the Red Sox. Hopefully he can start living up to his contract.

Anyways, back to the rankings:

(Once again for other positional rankings click here: C1B2B3BSS)

1. Brett Gardner, Yankees
2. Carl Crawford, Red Sox
3. Desmond Jennings, Rays
4. Nolan Reimold, Orioles
5. Eric Thames, Blue Jays

Brett Gardner was a no brainer in the top spot. If this was said before the season last year, it is almost guaranteed that most of Red Sox Nation would have been up in arms. Gardner has been one of the top defensive outfielders in the past two years (3.2 defensive WAR last year) and he’s a force on the basepaths (at least 47 SB’s in each of the last two years). Gardner came back down to Earth in batting last year from his ridiculous 2010 numbers and saw a drop in his BA (.277 to .259), but he still drew a lot of walks.

Carl Crawford is the true question of this division, and the Red Sox team. After a monster year in 2010, where he had a .307/19/90 line with 47 steals, the Red Sox signed him to a massive contract. Hoping for production close to his 6.1 WAR (wins above replacement) in 2010, they were rewarded with a whopping 0.0 WAR in 2011. Despite this, I can’t stand hearing Sox fans bitch about how bad the guy is. Yes, we overpaid for him, but what big signing haven’t we overpaid for?!? He had a horrible April, along with the rest of the squad, and then as he was starting to get into a groove, he got injured. His wrist was nagging him for a while and his hamstring’s were bothering him all summer. Speed is his forte, and he lost his speed last season, I don’t know what fans expected. I’ve heard how hard of a worker he is and I’m confident he will come back strong this year. It’s great news that he is on pace to come back earlier than initially planned, but I’d rather we make sure we don’t rush this one. Crawford was very consistent for the Rays with the exception of 2008 (marred by injuries) and I am confident he will get his mojo back this year and start to live up to (some) of his money.

Next up is the Tampa Bay Rays leftfielder, Desmond Jennings. Jennings was the main reason that the Rays were able to so willingly part with Crawford (that and the fact that the Sox put way too much money on the table). Jennings came into the big leagues on fire last year hitting .333 throughout July and August, until he finally cooled off in September with a .160 BA. Jennings has been touted as one of the top prospects for the last couple years. He is a great athlete and was voted the most exciting player to watch in the International League in the minors.He is regarded as a top baserunner and defensive player in the minors and I’m really interested in seeing how Jennings does as an everyday guy for the Rays this year.

The fourth spot was the hardest decision to make. Eric Thames was never a big prospect for the Blue Jays organization, but had a good run in his first year in the Majors last year. Nolan Reimold was a highly touted prospect, but is now 28 years old and has yet to make an impact for the Orioles. I’m not sold on Thames considering his struggles against lefties and weak fielding skills. Reimold has yet to pan out in the majors due to injuries and personal problems, but he has been effective in his small samples (13 HR in 267 AB’s last year). He has good speed, which pays off on the basepaths and makes up for his bad instincts in the field. Reimold gets the edge in this matchup due to his greater potential for a full year.

For other positional rankings click here: C1B2B3BSS