Free agent primer: Shooting guardscombo guards

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Free agent primer: Shooting guardscombo guards

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

With Chicago's Game 4 loss to Miami on Tuesday night, the Boston Celtics hold the distinction of being the only team this past season to not suffer three or more consecutive losses. That success means nothing right now, not with the Celtics watching the playoffs unfold.

The C's aren't in a revisionist mood now.

Instead, it's all about rebuilding for the upcoming season.

Among the areas the Celtics will look to shore up this summer will be finding a backup shooting guard for Ray Allen.

Boston could address the position via next month's NBA draft, but a more likely route will be through free agency.

Here are some of the top free agent shootingcombo guards available this summer.

Top available shootingcombo guards (team they played with last season): Jamal Crawford (Atlanta); Von Wafer (Boston); Rasual Butler (Chicago); DeShawn Stevenson (Dallas); Arron Afflalo (Denver); Rodney Stuckey (Detroit); Leandaro Barbosa (Toronto); Delonte West (Boston); Michael Redd (Milwaukee); Marco Belinelli (New Orleans); Roger Mason (New York); Eddie House (Miami); Anthony Parker (Cleveland); Daequan Cook (Oklahoma City); Mo Evans (Washington); Nick Young (Washington)

-restricted free agents

Best of the bunch: Crawford, Barbosa, Young, Stevenson and Afflalo.

Best fits for the C's: Crawford, Barbosa, West.

Why Crawford?
The Celtics are in the market for a player who can carry them through those inevitable scoring droughts. There's no better free agent on the market this summer to do just that, than Crawford. The 31-year-old has spent the past two seasons coming off the bench in Atlanta where he averaged 18 points and 14.2, respectively. To have a player with his knack for delivering instant offense would be a huge plus for the C's moving forward.

Why Barbosa?
He can play some at the point, but his strength whenever he's on the floor is that of a scorer. A career 12.7 points per game scorer, the 28-year-old also has the kind of speed that few players in the NBA possess. For a team looking to run more, Barbosa could be a huge asset coming off the bench. The biggest knock against Barbosa has been staying healthy. Out of a possible 246 games the past three seasons, Barbosa has played in 172, or 69.9 percent, of them.

Why West?
There isn't a single player on the free agent market at this position more familiar with Doc Rivers' system here in Boston. Like most of the C's this past season, West spent a considerable amount of time out with injuries. West probably helped himself more with his playoff performance than any other Celtics players, which means he'll likely have quite a few suitors this summer. But you have to believe that the way the C's stuck by him through his off-the-court issues heading into last season, that loyalty will be rewarded in West re-signing with the club that originally drafted him in 2004.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Ainge: Groin injury will 'probably' keep Thomas from playing Friday

Ainge: Groin injury will 'probably' keep Thomas from playing Friday

There’s still no concrete answer on how long Isaiah Thomas’ right groin injury will keep him sidelined, but the 5-foot-9 guard probably will not play against Toronto on Friday.
 
Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, addressed Thomas’ availability on 98.5 the Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich show Thursday morning.
 
“It’s day to day,” said Ainge, who added that Thomas had an injection into his thigh muscle. “He is a warrior; he loves to play. He’ll be back faster than most players would be back after an injury. At the same time, we have to be really careful with Isaiah over the long haul and make sure he doesn’t come back and injure it.”
 
Thomas did not play in Boston’s 117-87 win at Orlando on Wednesday night, his first missed game since the 2014-15 season.
 
He is ranked among the NBA’s top-10 scorers with a career-high 26.0 points-per-game average, in addition to leading the Celtics in assists (6.2) per game.
 
Thomas has been effective while playing through an assortment of injuries during his time with Boston. But a groin injury isn't something that can just be played through,  which is why the Celtics are wisely shutting him down now.
 
“We’ll try and get him as much rest as we can and get him back on the court when he’s ready,” Ainge said.