First Rounder Demoted

On the surface, something of a surprise move announced today by the Celtics:

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics announced today that they have assigned rookie guard J.R. Giddens to their NBA Development League affiliate Utah Flash. Giddens is the team’s first assignment to the NBA Development League this season.

Giddens averaged 2.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in 7.5 minutes during preseason and has been on the inactive list for the Celtics in each of their first 10 games during the 2008-09 regular season. The former New Mexico Lobo was selected by the Celtics with the 30th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

But if you’ve been watching this season, it really isn’t. Giddens seemed to be behind second round pick Bill Walker (who would have been drafted higher were it not for injury concerns) every step of the way, and if I’m not mistaken, J.R. has yet to even be activated for a game. At least now, he’ll get some much needed playing time (like Gabe Pruitt did last year).

For those of you wondering why Doc is sticking to a 9-man rotation (starting five, TA, House, Powe, and Big Baby) with the Big Three notching heavy minutes, I’ll tell you this:

– Doc told me after the Hawks game that he wants to give the Big Three a heavy run now, early in the year, so they get in game shape… resting them as the season progresses.

– Remember that Big Baby and Leon Powe barely appeared in any games until the season was a couple of months in… Doc started giving both small minutes, gradually working them in until they had become key contributors by the end of the season.

– Plus, it’s entirely possible Sam Cassell still isn’t in game shape yet, or Doc is choosing just to save him for the second half of the season, when a veteran’s experience is of more use. That, or Sam I Am is just an under-the-table assistant coach (also entirely possible).

I think as the season moves on, you’ll see Pruitt as the beneficiary of the Powe/Davis plan, getting more time at the backup point guard spot behind Rondo, with House used to spell Ray Allen, and Tony Allen backing Paul Pierce. Powe and Davis will rotate through with Perkins and Garnett.

I’m sure the fans want to see more of the explosive Bill Walker, who posterized Samuel Dalembert of the Sixers with a huge slam in the preseason (among several good performances). He’s also known for his defense, not unlike Tony Allen. If there are injuries to TA or Pierce, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Walker get some PT, but if not, he may find himself apprenticing for most of the year.



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