After every game, we'll take stock of how each individual performance affects the player's overall value.
Paul Pierce: Until he gets himself into game shape, his value will continue to drop. I'm not giving up on him now, but I AM saying that the short term prognosis is negative. I'm optimistic about him turning it around in the long term, but I'm also not completely sold on that idea either.
Rajon Rondo: It's obvious that without Rajon Rondo, this team would be in a terrible, terrible position. He's trying to do everything out there: score, rebound, and set up his teammates so they can get out of their funks. It's an immense amount of pressure on him to carry this team in a way no one has had to carry the Celtics in a very long time. I think its time to excuse some of the mistakes he makes because those mistakes are very often the product of trying to be everything for this team.
Ray Allen: Ray Allen is the only one of the "Big 3" to play well. He's also in phenomenal physical condition and he maintains that condition throughout the year. He's always prepared. Sometimes his shots won't fall… but that happens to every shooter. You can continue to count on him because he continues to make sure he's ready for any situation.
Brandon Bass: Bass caught the same cold shooting as the other starters. I think one problem with him starting along side Garnett, Allen and Pierce is a sudden deference to them. He's "no pass Bass" when he's with the second unit, but I wonder if there was a slight hesitation with the other guys thinking "should I be the one shooting here?"
Avery Bradley: It's hard to call him anything but an offensive liability. I'm surprised by it because I think his jumper looks good. Still, Doc can't play him because he's only effective on half the floor.
Greg Stiemsma, Marquis Daniels, E'Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson:. Garbage time minutes should tell you a little something about where these guys stand. I'm mostly disappointed about Marquis. I really don't know what's going on there.
Doc Rivers: This is Doc's biggest coaching challenge to date. He's using games to get guys into shape, and desperately trying to figure out matchups and line ups that will get some production and energy. It's like his car broke down on a desolate road and he's trying to figure out how to get engine started before dark. He's trying everything.
Watching that first half yesterday made me feel ill. I'm not joking, either. I literally was feeling physically ill watching the first half performance. My rational side continues to scream that it's way too early to hit any kind of panic button, especially when the Celtics came all the way back and cut the game to 1. They have been close at points of most of these games, so a voice still exists in my head that says "take it easy there, buddy… let's just ride through this early storm and see what happens on the other side."
But at the moment, in the short term, my emotional side wins out. My overall feeling is a negative one. I see what I see and even though I hear what everyone on the team is saying, it doesn't change what I've seen right now.