Over/Under: Keyon Dooling
September, 13, 2012
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
Mike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesThe Celtics get leadership -- and intensity -- from veteran guard Keyon Dooling.Each weekday for a three-week span, ESPN Boston colleague Greg Payne and I are playing a game of over/under while trying to predict the potential production for a Celtics player during the 2012-13 campaign. Today's target: guard Keyon Dooling, who inked a veteran-minimum deal this offseason to return to the Celtics.
Minutes per game: 12
* Forsberg: Under. Dooling averaged 14.4 minutes per game in 46 regular-season appearances last year, but the Celtics restocked the guard position this offseason with the additions of Jason Terry and Courtney Lee. That'll make it a little tougher for him to find consistent minutes, so it will be on Dooling to define his role this time around -- whether it's as a pure ball-handler adding depth behind Rajon Rondo, or deep depth at the 2 with an ability to consistently knock down 3-pointers (like he did in the playoffs last year on short minutes).
* Payne: Under. Dooling will benefit from Avery Bradley likely starting the season out on the shelf as he rehabs from shoulder surgery. But once Bradley returns to the lineup, Dooling will revert to an insurance role. The C's will already have a logjam at the shooting guard spot between Bradley, Terry, and Lee. Lee will likely start at the beginning of the year, while Terry and Bradley will alternate between the backup point guard and shooting guard spots. Dooling will still have a voice on the team, but his time on the court will be minimal.
Points per game: 3.5
* Forsberg: Under. Smaller doses of playing time, coupled with the fact that Terry and Jeff Green are likely to drive the bench scoring will limit Dooling's opportunities to fill up the point column. He'll knock down the occasional clutch 3-pointer, but his value won't be judged in the least by his offensive output.
* Payne: Under. I'm choosing the under due to a lack of minutes, as Dooling has proven in the past he can hit timely shots and score in bunches when given the chance. That just won't be his role for this season's team.
* Forsberg: Over. Way over. Let's face it, every team needs a guy like Dooling. He's a consumate professional who will be ready whenever his number is called. But his biggest contribution will come in the role of -- as Brandon Bass so appropriately dubbed him last season -- the "Reverend." You can't put a price tag on Dooling's ability to mentor younger guards like Rondo and Bradley, whose ears he immediately attracted upon arriving in Boston last season. Couple that with Dooling's ability to tell the other veterans on the team when they aren't pulling their weight and you have a locker room leader whose value clearly exceeds a veteran-minimum salary. Dooling also served as a bit of team spokesman for the Celtics at times last year and, selfishly, reporters will be thrilled to have him back to offer his perspective on the team's season.
* Payne: Is there the equivalent of a salary cap for the number of upbeat veterans one team can have in its locker room? As if Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Terry weren't enough, Dooling adds that extra kick. Terry and Dooling are bound to hit it off and I'm firmly convinced they'll deserve their own radio show mere weeks into the season, with the draw being their charismatic and upbeat personalities. Dooling's so clutch to have around for the likes of Bradley, Lee, Dionte Christmas, and even Rondo -- and not just for on-the-court matters. If those guys want to grow into class-act professionals, there's no better role model than Dooling.