Wednesday, July 4

Off-Season Review Part 2/30: The Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics: 24-58

Key player performance

Paul Pierce: Last season, Paul Pierce became one of the greatest examples of futility and a burn-out by a basketball player in a season. Pierce is playing in the prime of his career, and displayed one of the best regular seasons of his days last season; unfortunately, his team was going the opposite direction. Pierce sat out half the season, with majority of the games coming as the season was coming to an end. Either Pierce was really hampered by injuries, or he gave up on the season completely. Pierce is an overall great guy: basketball player, business man, and family man, and people can attest to that; but Paul Pierce looks TIRED. Tired of playing? Maybe. Tired of losing? Probably. His eye bags have grown and he slouches on the bench in his designer clothes looking on as the score runs up against his team. What an incredible waste of talent, especially with the outcome of last season. It is an amazement that Pierce has yet to cry foul and demand a trade. Somebody get this guy some wins, please!

Al Jefferson: Al is one of the few bright spots in a plane of dark apathy of failure that is the Boston Celtics of the present; and he carries one major goal for himself and for all the other million Celtics-fans across the globe: spread the brightness and carry Boston back up to the peak. Al Jefferson, coming out of his 3rd season, showed tremendous improvements in his game during the past season. The season was an overall failure for the Celtics, including the off-season, but Al Jefferson gave hope for the franchise after surprising everyone with his dominance in the low-post. From an underachieving sophomore, to one of the most powerful post presences in the league, defensively and offensively. It's a surprise Jefferson did not win the Most Improved Player Award; only because a number of other players vastly improved as well. He has a streak of Zach Randolph on him, so look for him to break out next season the same way Randolph did a few years ago.

Delonte West: A decent guard that has flourished in some clutch situations. The most notable moment would be a game-winning shot against the Charlotte Bobcats early on in the season from a kick-out pass by Paul Pierce. Delonte is a young player, and has already shown toughness in his career through a number of breakout games last season; although his minutes were moved back late in the season. It was a valiant effort by Delonte to try and lead the Celtics to a respectable regular season showing, but never really got to that point. Expect him to further improve his game... Seattle.

Team review:

The Boston Celtics continued their dismal display of basketball yet again this season winning only 24 games out of a possible 82. Their awful campaign came to its climax with a lengthy 18-game losing streak stemming from January 7 all the way to February 14; with the streak-breaking win coming at the expense of the Milwaukee Bucks. The 6th longest losing streak in the history of the NBA tarnished the reputation of what was once the proudest franchise in all of basketball. After the fallout, everyone knew that the Celtics were done for the season. The best thing left to do was to skip futile efforts, sit Paul Pierce, and let the young guns play the garbage games and try to develop their games. It is still questionable as of the moment whether Pierce really did decide to sit it out and disguise it with a "season-ending injury", but the weariness in his face was evident. After the incident, the media along with a bucketful of fans, watchers, and such, accused the Boston Celtics of tanking to try and get the worst record in the league for the best chance to acquire one of the top 2 picks in the draft. Nobody really knows for sure whether it was a purposeful disgrace of the game or the Celtics just couldn't win, but Doc Rivers still got his contract extension nonetheless for his efforts in coaching the team to the 2nd worst record in the league. Unfortunately, luck was never on the Celtics' side as the draft that was 19-years in the making fell towards the favor of Portland and Seattle. The disappointed Celtics, which acquired a "low" pick at #5, decided to trade their pick for Ray Allen. An act of desperation? Or a subtly genius trade? Although all signs point to the former, check it out next season.

Player transactions:

An obviously disgruntled Celtics front-office drafted G-Town forward Jeff Green with the 5th overall pick and shortly after traded the rights to Green, along with Wally Sczerbiak and Delonte West, to the Seattle Supersonics for Ray Allen. It seems like an act of desperation, and the world is asking how the hell will Ray Allen fit in with the Boston Celtics? Ray Allen did fine with the Sonics considering Rashard Lewis dwells more on the post area and Ray Allen controls the perimeter, but can the same combination work with the Celtics? Well, why not? It looks good on paper, but it can turn out to be bad on the court itself if the two can't find a way to coexist; much like Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury. On the flip note, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are both good citizens and good people who have developed their service and humility; in other words, they're old and don't belong to the new generation of luxury and thuganomix. They will indeed find a way to coexist without hogging the ball from each other; given the fact that Paul Pierce is versatile enough to play through anywhere on the floor. It's an exciting wait for the outcome, unfortunately it will be short-lived as both Allen and Pierce are approaching wear and tear within the next give-or-take 5 years. Shame.

Let's expect:

The total productivity of the Boston Celtics will rely heavily on the coexistence of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. However, it is already quite a guarantee that the Celtics will improve next season as compared to the last one. Unfortunately, there's an eerie foreboding from out of nowhere that's whispering that both Allen and Pierce will be out for long periods of time during the season due to injuries. If the two stay healthy though, along with Al Jefferson, the playoffs is not an impossibility.

Potential starting line-up:

C - Kendrick Perkins
PF - Al Jefferson
SF - Paul Pierce
SG - Ray Allen
PG - Rajon Rondo

Injury-riddled? or surprisingly blended? Watch out for the Boston Celtics next season..

Full Court NBA Blog will be reviewing the teams of the NBA, how they fared last season, and what is expected of them next season with the current off-season moves that have taken place. Feel free to e-mail your thoughts and suggestions regarding any team at any time.


tntshave said...

"...the world is asking how the hell will Ray Allen fit in with the Boston Celtics."

Not too dramatic. Obviously the war in Iraq is nothing compared to the monumental question of whether Paul Pierce can co-exist with Ray Allen.

Did you have another column prepared in the case that the Celtics had simply kept Jeff Green? Were you ready to pounce on the fact that they had not addressed a need for veteran help for Pierce?

"The playoffs is not an impossibility..." Grammatical errors aside -- you really went out on limb with that one, huh?

Have you renewed your Knicks/Sixers/Lakers season tickets yet?


Chris said...

Well I am not a hater but there are some questions going into the next season. Can Pierce/Allen work? How will the young players develop over the year? Is Rivers the right coach? How will Jefferson do? Even if they do stay healthy, I don't think they will win more than 40.

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nbabeats said...

To bad they don't have Al Jefferson anymore. I would way rather have jefferson than garnett. Yeah paul pierce is there best player. And i love ray ray. But Garnett is the most overrated player.Good blog.