With the trade deadline looming (Thursday afternoon), all Celtics fans have the right to be worried. If it wasn’t for Danny Ainge trusting in Shaq’s deteriorating health and trading Kendrick Perkins a few years back for Jeff Green, the Celtics would have won another championship. At least that’s what most think. We needed a big guy to clog up the middle, and no one was afraid to run through Nenad Krstic, like they always were with Perk or Shaq in the paint.
However, this year, it is possible that we could lose the anchor of our team, who has been with the Green and White since we drafted him with the 10th pick in the 1998 Draft. I know all about how the league is a business, but sometimes I think you should stick with your own. And it’s not like Pierce is just some player who we can’t use and that just takes up Cap Space, he is still a solid contributor. Paul is averaging 18.5 PPG and grabbing 6.4 Boards (up from 5.2 last season). And with Rondo going down, he is the only one who is generating some assists lately.
Supposedly, they are in preliminary talks with the Hawks about bringing Josh Smith (6’9” Forward) to Boston in exchange for Pierce, and probably something else. Smith is averaging about the same assists as Paul (just over 4) but is averaging 8.6 RPG. He also drops about 17.4 PPG and has over 2 Blocks per Game over his career. He is younger and more of a “future” player for the franchise, so I can understand it. But to send away a guy who stuck with us when we were one of the worst teams year in and year out. I say keep him and let them make one more run. What do you think?
Here are a few things out of the Celtic’s practices this week:
Assistant coach Mike Longabardi has been tasked with focusing solely on the defensive side of the ball. Former assistants that also did this were Tom Thibodeau and Lawrence Frank, both went on to be head coaches elsewhere.
KG said Sullinger is a lot like Perkins was while he was here. He said he’s not the same kind of defender but is completely unselfish, moves the ball, and has a very high basketball IQ. Garnett went on to say that he loves having the rookie as a teammate already.
Their entire practice Tuesday was about defensive strategies. Doc said they went over cutting out the shooters, eliminating baseline drives, and communicating like his old teams were known for.
They are playing the Wizards again tonight at the Garden. I will be rocking the balcony seats so be sure to tune in since the election is over and there’s no other sports to watch.. Go Celts!
What can you say about Rajon Rondo? He is the best player on our team. He is our young star. He is the leader of a team that has an average age older than he is. He is arguably the best pure point guard in the league (He and Chris Paul). Sure, Rose, Westbrook, and Williams are all great players, but no one sets up their team as well as Rondo in my opinion. And he is fun to watch!
ESPN recently ranked Rondo as the 12th best player in the league. He is the top ranked Celtic.
Last season, Rondo proved he could be consistent by averaging 11.9 PPG and 11.7 RPG in only his 6th year in the league. Without him consistently getting better, the Celtics wouldn’t be the team that they are today. He can score off the dribble, make unbelievable passes that make you rewind the DVR, and is a triple-double threat day in and day out.
When he keeps his head clear, he can control the tempo of the game more than anyone I have ever seen on the roster. If the team needs to run, he pushes them, if they need to slow it down, he will walk up the floor, looking for any way to expose the defense. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be an all-star, and my guess is a starter this season, and potentially in the top 5 for MVP voting at the end of the season if the Celtics are where I think they will be (knock on wood).
Rondo made everyone on the team fly out to Cali last week in order to get to work right away. He is becoming a true leader. This guy is our future, and you can expect him to do big things again this season. Below are his stats since we drafted him in 2006:
The next player to take a look at is Kevin Garnett. KG has been a key piece to the Celtics since he came over in 2007. He is now 36 years old but showed in last year’s playoffs that he can still play (19.2 PPG, 10.3 RPG in 20 games).
Brandon Bass | Courtney Lee | Paul Pierce | Kevin Garnett |Although he may have lost a step or two in the past few years, the big ticket can still change the game with his unstoppable mid-range jump shot and defense. I’m aware his defense hasn’t been as great, but he is still one of the smartest guys on the court. The only problem I have had with KG is his lack of rebounding, other than in the playoffs. He averages just over 8 per game, but when he was in his prime in Minnesota, he averaged over 13. Rebounding has been a big reason why we have been losing over the past few years, especially on the offensive glass. I gotta admit though, it was nice having him start all 60 games during the regular season.
Garnett was recently ranked #21 on ESPN.com for top NBA players. He was 22 last year.
Doc has said that KG will be the starting Center so that Brandon Bass can play the Power Forward position. He said KG will do whatever it takes to win, even though some have said he dislikes that position. I’m sure he won’t mind as long as he can get another ring.
KG’s stats since he joined the Green and White are below:
Our captain has been around for 14 years, and stuck with the team even when we sucked. Nicknamed The Truth, Pierce is still one of the most clutch players in the league and one of the best players in Celtics history, and that’s saying a lot. Bleacher Report came out with the all-time best Celtics and made a starting line up. Pierce was chosen for this accolade along with Bill Russell (11 titles), Bob Cousy (6 titles), John Havlicek (8 titles), and Larry Bird (3 titles). Other than the fact that he only has 1 title, Pierce deserves to be up here, and is behind only Havlicek on the scoring list all time. He is still about 4,000 points behind him, though.
Pierce was recently ranked as the 29th best player in the NBA. Pierce’s assists and points numbers have gone up last season compared to what they were in the past few seasons.
He is still one of the best players on this team and some say this may be his last season in green, but I’m willing to bet that we re-sign him, and he deserves it after all that he has done for the organization. He deserves, more than anyone, to retire as a Celtic, and Danny Ainge will most certainly feel the same way. His number 34 will be retired in no time. His stats are below, but i only put the last few seasons, since the former big 3 was formed and he was forced to take on a smaller role.
Although there was much speculation about Chris Paul coming to Boston in place of Rajon Rondo (which would be amazing and anyone who says otherwise does not know what they are talking about), it looks like it will not be happening because Paul knows the age of our team. He will not sign an extension beyond this first year. Besides, there are still rumors floating around that he is making a dream team #2, with Melo and Amare in New York. Keep in mind though, KG said the same thing in ’07, as well as Melo. Hmmm.
The Indiana Pacers are also trying to work a deal out to bring Rondo to their team but without a third team involved, Danny Ainge would be foolish to look too far into this. They do not have anyone that can replace Rondo’s athleticism and we cannot rely on Delonte West as a starter (assuming that we re-sign him and he doesn’t get caught with guns on his motorcycle or fornicating Lebron’s mommy). With most of our team entering senior citizen status next season, it will be tough to get any big name player to sign a contract here. Therefore we need to stop remembering the past big 3 for what they were and think about alternative scenarios that could give us the best opportunity to compete with the Big 3 of the Heat, which will be stronger than last year, and the possible Big 3 in New York.
One of the most famed rivalries in sports….Celtics vs. Lakers. With promises of the NBA season back in action, who could wait to see these two teams go at it again? Well C’s fans, you didn’t have to wait long. The East Coast, West Coast rivalry is already at battle, this time, off the court.
Two of the NBA’s biggest names being talked about are Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Rumors have been lingering for months now regarding the C’s interest in Howard. It’s highly unlikely that even getting Howard alone could happen without getting rid of Rondo. But with the cap space and reality of putting Rondo on the trading block, it is possible to go after both. Likely? Maybe a stretch. Rondo does a great job running the offense but Ainge is looking for someone to put up points along side Pierce, which Rondo has never been able to do on a consistent basis. Fast forward a few months to present day and now the Lakers have entered the mix, and their not stopping at Howard. The Lakers want to and are in a decent shape to acquire both Howard and Chris Paul. This idea doesn’t sit well in my stomach. Sure it’s just speculation, but if the Lakers were to trade Bynum and Gasol, for these two stars, you can sure put the seemingly unraveling Lakers of last season back on the map.