Final Celtics preseason grades: Wallace leads the way

Final Celtics preseason grades: Wallace leads the way
October 24, 2013, 3:45 pm
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(AP Photo)

WALTHAM, Mass. — The Boston Celtics closed out the preseason with a victory on the same night the Red Sox crushed the St. Louis Cardinals 8-1 in Game 1 of the World Series.

Life couldn't get much better for Boston Celtics forward Gerald Wallace, a die-hard Red Sox and Patriots fans.

It was a good win, but he'll be the first to tell you that there's still plenty of work to be done by all.

Part of that involves Wallace and the rest of his teammates continuing to become more familiar with one another.

But if there's one thing Wallace's teammates know about him by now, it's that he's not afraid to step on a few toes if it means helping the Celtics become a better team.

That's why as the preseason wraps up, the school of thought around these parts is that Wallace has established himself as this team's leader second only to Rajon Rondo.

And until Rondo returns from his torn right ACL injury, this squad in many ways is Wallace's team.

"It just comes with the game," Wallace told Comcast SportsNet's Abby Chin when asked about his leadership. "I want to do whatever it takes to win."

And because of his play and poise as a leader, Wallace has indeed stepped to the head of the class among his Celtics teammates.

Here's a breakdown of how the rest of Wallace's teammates fared during the preseason portion of their schedule which concluded with a 101-97 win over Brooklyn on Wednesday.

Valedictorian

Gerald Wallace: He called out the team, they responded with one of their best practices of the season and then a much-needed win (even if the Nets sat most of their main players). "You get motivation, something to smile about going into the season (after a win)," Wallace said.


Salutatorian

Rajon Rondo: He has managed to lead this team without playing in a single game, balancing the need to be encouraging with the reality that has to come in the form of criticism.


Honor Roll


Kelly Olynyk: Considered by some league execs as the biggest draft night steal, Olynyk aka "Sunshine" has a bright future ahead of him in this league.


Phil Pressey: Has lottery-pick confidence and swagger, something you don't expect to see from an undrafted rookie point guard.

Merit Roll


Jared Sullinger: Has been up and down most of the preseason, but that's to be expected considering the long layoff he had following back surgery.


Brandon Bass: The Celtics' best rebounder in the preseason, Bass has shown the ability to contribute both as a starter and coming off the bench.


Courtney Lee: His versatility especially on the defensive end of the floor, will make it hard for him to be cut out of Brad Stevens' rotation this season.


Kris Humphries: With Faverani's emergence, Humphries may be the odd man out at times this season.


Best of the rest


Keith Bogans: Thumb injury limited him to just three games. Healthy or not, Bogans is not expected to play much this season.


Jordan Crawford: His playmaking seemed to dip as camp progressed, too often reverted back to his shoot-first ways.

 
Team Superlatives

Most likely to succeed: Vitor Faverani
Comment: At 25 years of age, he's old by NBA rookie standards. But the growth he has made from the start of training camp until now has been impressive enough to where starting him is starting to make a lot more sense.


Most likely to start: Avery Bradley
Comment: He's the only player to start every preseason game. The challenge for Stevens now has to be how to balance his minutes so that his suffocating on-the-ball pressure defense is clicking at a high level at the end of games.


Most likely out of the rotation: MarShon Brooks
Comment: His playing time was spotty throughout the preseason and the final preseason game, he didn't play (coaches decision).


Class flirt (shows glimpses of greatness): Jeff Green
Comment: He should be the best player on this team, hands down. But he continues to play with the kind of force and aggression that the Celtics desperately need for him to bring on a nightly basis.


Best of the rest


Chris Babb: He is the best shooter on this Celtics squad. But with half a dozen guards on the roster with guaranteed contracts, Babb has little to no shot at sticking with this team.

Class Cuts


Damen Bell-Holter: Played less than five minutes the entire preseason, will likely resurface with the Maine Red Claws.


Kammron Taylor: Like Bell-Holter, he too will be on a roster this season. In the NBA? Probably not.


DeShawn Sims: Knee injury cut short any shot he had of making the Celtics roster.