Celtics Question of the Day: Who will be seen as the best offseason steal?

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Celtics Question of the Day: Who will be seen as the best offseason steal?

The Boston Celtics had quite a summer as they hauled in more talented players than we've seen in quite a while. And they did so without breaking the bank for any particular player. But who was the biggest bargain for the C's this summer?

The four-year, 21.4 million sign-and-trade deal Boston pulled off for Courtney Lee was a sweet coup for Danny Ainge and the Celtics.

But if Boston has the kind of season they're anticipating, the three-year, 15.7 million deal signed by Jason Terry will be huge.

He addresses what head coach Doc Rivers identified this offseason as a priority for Boston to pursue this summer.

"We wanted a scorer off the dribble," Rivers said. "I sit down and write Danny a letter about needs; that was my number one need. I didn't think we had enough guys that could score off the dribble. (Rajon) Rondo can score off the dribble. But we needed a guy that could score and be a knock-down shooter. That was very important for us."

The 35-year-old veteran has been among the NBA's best 3-point shooters in addition to having a knack for scoring off the dribble in the lane or on pull-up jumpers.

And while his age might be seen as a deterrent, Terry has been one of the most durable players in the NBA since he came into the league in 1999.

Out of a possible 1,050 regular season games, Terry has appeared in 1,022, or 97.3 percent.

For a Celtics team that has been riddled with injuries the past couple of years, having a veteran who can impact games the way he can who has that kind of track record, is invaluable.

That's why it was clear that he was a priority for Boston, even more evident by the fact that the Celtics coach Doc Rivers spoke with him shortly after he hit the free agency market this summer.

"He's a guy that I wanted to play for," said Terry, who added that Rivers was one of his coaches during the 2001 Goodwill Games in which Team USA won the gold medal. "He was the first one to call me. When Doc calls, you answer. I'm just happy to be here."

Talent and experience certainly bodes well for any player joining the Celtics family. But there is an intangible swagger that all of those who thrive in this town seem to possess.

And it doesn't take long to see that Terry well, he's got it.

I asked him about whether there's a mental adjustment to coming off the bench as opposed to being a starter.

"Not at all," he said. "My mission is to kill whoever that is. Whether it's the Heat, whether it's the Lakers. Hopefully both. That's my mission, and that's what I'm here to do."

Yup.

He's a Celtic, for sure.

One that will be viewed as a steal if he can help deliver the only thing that this team and this franchise cares about: Banner 18.

Marcus Smart will get start for Celtics for injured Isaiah Thomas

Marcus Smart will get start for Celtics for injured Isaiah Thomas

As expected, Marcus Smart will get the start for the Boston Celtics tonight against the Orlando Magic in place of the injured Isaiah Thomas. 

Thomas, who leads the Celtics (12-9) in scoring (26.0) and assists (6.2) this season, suffered a right groin injury in Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston on Monday.

Head coach Brad Stevens explained his decision a few minutes ago.

“He’s started a lot of games here in the past as a point guard,” Stevens told reporters. “He’s basically our sixth starter. It wasn’t one that I had to think a ton about.”

Starting Smart also allows second-year guard Terry Rozier to continue in his role coming off the bench. 

Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, Smart’s production has been consistent. 

In the five games he has started this season, he has averaged 10.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. 

His numbers off the bench are almost identical with Smart averaging 9.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists as a reserve. 

Stevens also mentioned that Amir Johnson would be back in the starting lineup in place of Jonas Jerebko. Earlier in the day, Stevens told reporters the decision to start Jerebko on Monday was strictly because of the matchup with Houston. 

“We have to be able to be flexible in doing that,” Stevens said. “Houston plays four guards. We didn’t feel like we could defend them unless we switch one through four. I thought he (Jerebko) did a pretty good job. This (Orlando) team is different than Houston other than both are super-hot.”

Orlando (10-12) has won four of its last five games in part because of its size, strength and versatility along the frontline which includes Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic who now comes off the bench. 

And while the Celtics have benefited heavily from the play of their guards, obviously that plan will be amended tonight with Thomas out. 

“He (Thomas) generates a lot in the open offense what we call flow, spread offense,” Stevens said. “So some of those type of things you may not generate at the same rate. But certainly there are other ways that we’ll look to play when he’s not in the game normally, or when we’re trying to play through bigs in the post. You have different ways to play within all your schemes. Hopefully we can play to each other’s strengths and go from there.”