2007/2008 Season Preview - Boston Celtics

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by mikhail1973, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. mikhail1973

    mikhail1973 All-Star Administrator 1x Fantasy Champion

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    Season 2006/2007

    Record 24-58

    Boston’s season went mostly as expected. They lost to everyone and anyone and gave Pierce a chance to recover after his injuries (maybe longer than actually needed), while waiting for Greg Oden, the second coming of Bill Russell. However, the fate demolished Celtics’ castle in the sky and they didn’t get the ball #1. And they didn’t get the ball #2. And so forth and so on. Although, after Oden’s injury the jury’s out whether Boston would’ve benefited from that #1 ball.

    Offseason

    Draft

    The team drafted Jeff Green at #5 and promptly traded him in a Ray Allen deal, and Gabe Pruitt in the second round.

    Key Trades

    Acquired: Boston made a lot of noise in the offseason trading half of their team for Kevin Garnett and making a splash by acquiring seven time all-star Ray Allen. Celtics also signed free agents James Posey, Scot Pollard, Eddie House, and Dahntay Jones to plug the holes created by the trades.

    Left: Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, Al Jefferson, Jerald Green, and Ryan Gomez (all in KG trade to Minni), Wally Scherbiak and Delonte West (to Seattle for Allen). Allan Ray was cut.

    Offseason grade: Inc

    Season 2007/2008

    Mr. Inside, Mr. Outside, and Mr. Pierce – how will they look together? Pierce and Allen’s game should complement each other. KG should catch second wind finally playing with partners of this level, something he never had before. There’s material for a very competitive team. But what worries Boston and its fans? The main difficulties the team is going to face are tactical adaptability, their bench, and absence of an established point guard.

    Tactical adaptability you may ask – what is it and why? Well, if you look at the NBA championship teams of the last couple of decades be it Jordan’s Bulls or O’Neil’s Lakers. Even today’s San Antonio or Houston Rockets of the 90’s. Any of those teams was able to win in the play-offs playing different style during the different parts of the games. They could adapt to what their opponent did and could find key weaknesses and exploit them. It could have been surprisingly stingy defense by Lakers during the deciding minutes, or shower of 3-pointers by Rockets, even an unexpected fast-break by slow-by-nature Pistons team, or lessons of early offense that Spurs gave to Suns during the two games at Phoenix during the 2005 play-offs.
    The contending team should be able to choose its style of play depending on the pieces in place, but by definition it can’t be one-dimensional. Such a team is destined for a failure. Today’s Boston team has three superstars, but until they learn to play together and to vary their style of play they won’t pose a threat to the NBA elite. Usually growth like that takes between 1 and 2 years while players learn each other’s games. That is why Pistons and Spurs managed to stay competitive for long periods of time due to limited changes in the player personnel and players being used to one another.
    Boston has Rondo for the point guard. He is solid defensively, but has no reliable jump shot. I am not sure that Celtics need a play-maker. But they could sorely use someone with the reliable shot. And Rondo could be anything, but not a player who can consistently hit his shots.
    There is another seed of doubt that is on the mind of many Celtics’ basketball fans – Doc Rivers. Can he handle this collection of stars? Does he fit the current team? Some teams need a strict specialist, others almost need a player/coach (please no Lindsey Hunter references here) who is players’ friend. Rivers could actually be a good fit with players. Current Boston stars don’t need a disciplinarian. He also has rapport with younger players. The main thing is to stay within himself and not pay attention to the media, who already started the championship talk.
    Pierce will most likely remain the leader of the team. He’s the most fearless of the Big Three. And he will have the ball in his hands with the game on the line making the important decisions. He is also going to be happy finally surrounded by all-star type talent.
    The bench is one of the bigger issues for the Celtics in this upcoming season. Because of the salary cap restrictions and limited availability and time frame, Danny Ainge was able to sign outcasts that couldn’t find their place with other teams. It doesn’t look like they have anyone even remotely resembling a sixth man of the year candidate. One can’t expect much from the likes of Pollard and Scalabrine. The only couple of players that can actually contribute are Posey and Tony Allen. House is a streaky shooter, so the team can’t count on him game in and game out. Batista only shown his potential, but nothing indicating that he is going to come in and contribute.

    Note of importance

    Tony Allen. The only one retained after the trades besides Pierce, Rivers, and Ainge. He has good hops and good moves, he’s also very active. He is an outstanding in your face defensively. He missed most of the 2006/07 season after getting himself injured trying to dunk the ball well after the referee’s blown the whistle.


    Bottom Line

    40+ wins in the improving Eastern conference. Could get as high as 50
    Playoffs – yes
    Championship - no
     

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