By A.Sherrod Blakely
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.
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.
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.
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.