Monday, October 6, 2008

Pre-Hibachi's-: Boston Celtics

This years Celtics preview is brought to you- the faithful- by the one and only SPRUCE MOOSE!

Moose is well known for his commenting work on and for his insightful thoughts on all things Celtics, as well as his contributions to 'late night posting' between himself and Betcats.

Without further adoobies we present to you: Moose! *ta da!*

Last year's Boston Celtics were truly unstoppable. Three all stars in their starting lineup, a budding point guard, a seemingly infallable sixth man, an enviable bench. They approached the record for wins in a season, with a superb showing of 66-16. And with their mauling of the Lakers in most parts of the 2008 NBA Finals, they had their 17th Larry O'Brien Trophy to boot. And it was obvious to everyone who the top dog in the NBA was.

But that was last year. With the big three a year older each, James Posey gone to greener pastures (in more than one way) and a mixture of older players and younger players, this year's Celtics is looking different from last year, but not drastically different.

THE OLD: Almost the whole team . . . Garnett, Allen, Pierce, Perk, Rondo, Big Baby Davis, Eddie House, Leon Powe, Scallie, Gabe Pruitt, Sam I Am

: Drafted guard J.R. Giddens and forward Bill Walker, also drafted Turkish center Semih Erdin, but are keeping him overseas to try to develop him, and it will be about five years until we first see him, if we see him at all . . . signed big man Patrick O'Bryant . . . they also picked up swingman Darius Miles.

OUT: James Posey, P.J. Brown, Scot Pollard

First, the returning players. Obviously, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are the basis of this basketball team. With Pierce as the leader and the Captain, Garnett bringing the intensity to levels barely known to man, and Allen being the quiet threat, last year they were a deadly trifecta. But with Pierce, Garnett and Allen aged 30, 32 and 33, respectively, the Celtics will have to mildly limit their minutes, (I said mildly, I mean like 3-5 minutes per) because of age. But if the big three can be the BIG THREE of last year, then Boston is in a great position. And with Rajon Rondo, speedy third year point guard who is improving every year, Boston has a blossoming young court general that is learning more every year, and if he can improve on his (horrid) jumper, than the Celtics have a great weapon in stock. And with physical center Kendrick Perkins, they add another great force in the middle to complement KG. On the bench for bigger guys there is Glen Davis, Leon Powe and Brian Scalabrine. Big Baby and Leon Powe show great hustle, great physical play in the middle, and finish well on layups, getting to the line often. Look for those guys to get more minutes this year. And, Scalabrine . . . let's say that we should look (or hope) for him not to get more minutes this year. For returning guards off the bench is Sam Cassell, Eddie House and Gabe Pruitt. Cassell is basically the veteran mentor this year (even though that might not be the place where I want him) and he will not get significant minutes (at all). House will be the first option off the bench for point guards, bringing energy and a fairly reliable shot from downtown. Not sure if Gabe Pruitt will make the team this year, after playing mostly in the D-League last year. The returning guys are looking pretty good, and ready for action.

Now, the new guys. In an attempt to fill the void that James Posey had left when he went to New Orleans, the Celtics signed Darius Miles, who has been out of the NBA for two years due to microfracture surgery on his right knee. The 26 year old swingman has a lot to prove, known for being injury-prone and inconsistent, but the upside is big with Miles. The Celtics also drafted J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker. Giddens, taken with the 30th pick, a 6'5" guard who has a knack for scoring and the Celtics have been impressed by his defense. Bill Walker, a 6'6" swingman out of Kansas State and drafted in the 2nd round by the C's hopes to bring more energy off the bench. And the last but not least player picked up by the Celtics this offseason is Patrick O'Bryant. A man who excelled in college at Bradley and has barely played in the NBA yet, he is another guy who has something to prove. Hoping to up one of the weakest parts of the Celtics' game, the seven footer will back up Perk this year.

The Celtics look in good shape for the upcoming year. Still the team to beat in the East, the big three are fully intact, Rondo and Perk are improving, and with a bench filled with the young and old, they also have good depth almost everywhere. Everybody is talking about a repeat, and I think not, but they will come damn close to it. They still have the ability to win the Eastern Conference. But they will have a tough road in the playoffs. I predict somewhere between 45 and 60 wins. And with the East improving rapidly, how far they'll go in the playoffs is uncertain; although they do have a lot of potential. It depends on if the big three are the big three of last year, or if they don't show up as hungry and focused as last year. The younger guys also need to prove themselves, and the loss of Posey needs to be nearly unnoticed. But all in all, I like their chances.



DP said...

Moose! Nice to see you on Bachi kid. We are for sure going to have to add you to the group. good preview. Rondo's jumper wasn't excellent last year but it wasn't that horrid either. Dude made the big shots when they counted and he literally became a point guard stat stuffer. I like Rondo because he runs the show for all those superstars and he doesn't let the presurre get to him. One of those guys that in college you didn't expect him to be good but he is just a guy that is better in the L than in college.

Hursty said...

Rondo's jumper is suspect though DP (like 80% of the L is though). He can hit an open one, but having a guy flying out to him like Billups or Williams puts him off big time. Still, rather him than Disaster Dan or Slava Medvedenko or Patty Mills.
He's a good rebounder as well, he had games where he'd have 6 or 7 boards consistently. He got ups too.

moose said...

Thanks, DP. And I agree with what you guys said about Rondo. But if Rondo had a nice jumper, the celtics would literally be unstoppable. Because the Lakers would just leave him open and double cover one of the big guns, leaving Rondo to take a jumper, which usually just bounced off.

B. Long said...

Moose! I hope Sarah Palin shoots you and hangs your head on the wall. J/K. This preview isn't awful. I'm just glad that you don't have enough faith in your own team to buy into all that repeat crap. At least you already know. If you want to see some genius at work you should peep that Brandon Jennings article on SKO.

Moose said...

B. Long, It's not that I don't have enough faith in my team to buy into the repeat stuff, it's just that I see realistically. If my team sucks, I won't overplay them, and if they are the best, I won't downplay them. And I definitely dislike some guys on my team (coughtonyallencough), so I don't have a closed mind to the truth or nothin. And I have to admit that your Lakers ARE better than my green guys this year.

B. Long said...

Like I said, at least you know. 8)

BETCATS said...

that was pretty good. You can join the Cats Meow if you want a place to channel your work Moose

Money Bill Williams said...

nice moose, pretty damn solid for a youngun like yourself! and i gotta agree with b long, no repeat is happening

moose said...

Thanks, Money Bill.

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