I want to talk about Posey a little bit. While the Celtics' results so far this season have been shocking, individual players have not really stood out for being far more exceptional than in the past. The Triumvirate have played like the three All-Stars that they are; and Rondo, Perkins, and House have all filled their roles as most of us (optimistically) hoped they would. The exception to all this has been Posey. I wrote back when they signed him that I was lukewarm about the deal, and I had my reasons. Posey's PER in his two years in Miami was 9.90 and 12.75. Offensively he seemed dormant, and his tough defense didn't really seem to make up for his offensive shortcomings. I lamented paying such a player $3.5 million a year when you were already over the cap.
And Mr. Jimmy, that lovable salty s.o.b., has done everything to quiet my doubts. The other night in Philadelphia is obviously a prime example, but Posey has been making similar contributions the whole season. And for those of you who expected this, I have to praise you, because it was hard as hell to see this coming. Posey did not play like this for Miami. While he was a tough-nose player, the first guy to rough it up out there if the situation called for it, James was not really an important cog in the Heat's machine. There was just no definable place for him in Miami. Between Wade, Shaq, and Antoine there weren't enough shots as it was, rendering Posey a complete afterthought. And with a player like James you might think that would be okay, but it certainly wasn't. When Posey got the ball for the Heat he would usually chuck up a three pointer or cumbersomely move with the ball, seemingly unaware of where any of his teammates were on the floor. For a good chemistry guy, he had terrible flow on the offensive end. Defensively he often matched up against the opponent's big scorer, but his contributions never seemed that noteworthy, his defense was good but not game-changing. There were just too many other things going on in Miami for Posey to ever mean anything; his unique chirpiness was leveled inaudible. Riley specifically lamented this past summer that Posey was not a creator, admitting his uselessness to the Heat's scheme. Likewise Miami gladly dispatched Posey for Ricky Davis, the "creator" that Riley referred to.
Of course it was not always that way for Posey, although we can partially excuse Riley for forgetting this. Under Hubie Brown, in Memphis, Posey had developed into an awesome player, offensively intelligent and defensively manic - he might have been the main reason the Grizzlies finished with 50 wins in 2004. Yet when Fratello took over for Brown the next year Posey fell back to Earth, and played his way out of town. That year and his two Miami seasons meant it had been three years since he'd done anything really mentionable. His career seemed to have permanently turned downward.
Which brings us to today. Ainge can talk about how he knew Posey was a good chemistry guy, but he said the same thing about Scal when he brought him in with a $15 million contract; and we all know how well that's worked out. The way Posey is rubbing off on everybody has to come as a major surprise. He's mainly playing undersized power forward, and getting away with it because he just seems more feisty and into it than most of his adversaries. Posey appears to legitimately be a team guy, and the fact that this Celtics squad is so invested in being a team has resurrected Posey's career. The man clearly feeds off positive energy, and this team is the perfect context for such an instrument. Posey wants to be loved and will love in return. Something tells me that Perk is a little more affected by a hug before each game than Jason Williams.
Posey is a mettlesome forward out there, and his scrappiness is not because of a lack of athleticism. Similar to Pierce, Posey is a big, loping fellow - and his quickness often lies in his deception. He is able to get to the ball faster than it would appear, and he is able to fill a lane more briskly than expected. You can count on these things, there's no way Posey is going to let up. What we can't count on is for him to continue on hitting 53% of his threes; but even though he probably will not continue to be such a dangerous offensive option, he does not need to be to deserve our praise. He will still be Mr. Jimmy Posey, the heart and soul of the bench.