Why not take a chance?

Multiple sources have come out saying that the Boston Celtics will wait until the end of the summer to choose the right head coach for them. This way, Ainge can draft the players he wants, and he can get a chance to see assistant coach Jay Larranaga run the summer league team. By then, most of the top head coaches with experience should be gone. This could bode well for him. Why not take a chance on someone like that, like the Nets are doing on Jason Kidd? Clearly, we are not going to be a contender for a few years, at the very least, so we don’t need to waste money over paying an amazing head coach.

Better yet, why not try having a player coach? David Cowens and Bill Russell have done it. Yes, I’m being serious. Why not have Kevin Garnett try it? Pay him one salary, give him a few good assistant coaches, and who knows, downloadpeople may want to come play for him. He already came out saying he admires Bill Russell more than anyone and shapes his game to be like him. I mean, he’s the greatest champion in all of sports. He won two titles as a player-coach after winning 9 others. Clearly, the Celtics aren’t in the same position to win any titles but there are some pro’s to this extremely, extremely unlikely possibility:

  • KG is one of, if not the best, defensive mind in the game. He knows exactly where to be at all times, and often barks out orders to others so that they get their act together, and move around correctly.
  • Let’s face it, whoever coaches this team, is going to have to put up with Rajon Rondo, assuming we keep him. That’s no easy feat. KG already has been able to help mold Rondo into a better leader and this is someone who Rondo can respect. The last thing we need is someone like Stan Van Gundy coming in to ruin things (like he did in Orlando by driving out Dwight Howard).
  • KG probably does not want to play for anyone but Rivers due to his extreme loyalty, and that seems almost impossible now, seeing as the league vetoed it. He probably wouldn’t mind playing for himself though, and since we are not going to be in line to win a championship, he can decrease his minutes and mold the younger guys, like Sullinger, into a KG 2.0.
  • Everyone respects him. Most people have said that he is the best locker room presence there is. Why take that away? He brings the championship mentality to the court every night. Just because he can’t do it himself anymore, doesn’t mean we should allow that to get away.

Let’s get one thing straight: In no way do I think this will happen. I just think it is an interesting way to look at things. In a time where we are rebuilding, why not take a shot on someone like him. It could make Danny Ainge the smartest man around. Red Auerbach did it when he retired as coach and moved into the front office, and that played out quite nicely for the greatest coach this game as ever seen.

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Can you blame him?

If you haven’t heard already, Doc Rivers will be going to the Clippers. The Celtics will receive a 2015 first round draft pick for compensation in letting him out of his contract 3 downloadyears early. So far, we cannot trade Garnett there for Jordan, and it is widely assumed that the league will veto any trade between the two teams during the summer, stating that you cannot trade players and coaches together.

I don’t like the way this happened, but you gotta look at it from both sides. It is understandable that Doc Rivers didn’t want to go through the whole rebuilding process. Sure, it would have been better if he didn’t publicly come out saying he was ready for it when he signed the contract extension, but still. He was the greatest coach we could have had for these players. Everyone loved him, and until 8 days ago, so did you.

He brought the winning mentality back to Boston, and that is exactly why Danny Ainge kept him around after horribly-losing seasons, to work with the newly assembled Big 3. If we didn’t release him from his contract to go coach in LA, you can safely assume that he would have been taking a year or two off, and most likely broadcasting. This way, we at least get something for him, and he made sure of that. He still loves it here, he will admit that today in the press conference at noon. If only we could have gotten one of their draft picks from when they sucked. Right now, it looks as though they will be near the top of the standings, so their pick isn’t anything special. Two late round picks can be traded for a pretty penny though. No hard feelings Doc.

Trade Update

There has been a new breakthrough in the potential Celtics trade with the LA Clippers. Since the Clips were not gonna let Eric Bledsoe come here, we have decided to go another route. We want them to take the contract of either Jason Terry or Courtney Lee (both are owed $11 Million over the next two years). We would now trade Garnett and Doc Rivers and one of those two to them for Deandre Jordan (solid player and fun to watch, but not someone you build your team around) and a future first-round pick, and maybe even another role player. They are saying that the deal, if it goes through, will be done later today or Tuesday the 18th.

C’s Talking Trade

For most, they probably did not even hear about the possible cross-country change because the Bruins were busy evening up the series last night. Anyways, here’s the jist of it. The Clippers of Los Angeles want Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett. They want to do so by making a trade with Deandre Jordan and some other compensation. Jordan is a solid center and a lot of fun to watch, but the Celts want more. They want backup Guard Eric Bledsoe. However, The Clips want to use Bledsoe (and reportedly, Blake Griffin) to convince the Lakers, who share the same building with them, to sign-and-trade Dwight Howard to them. The Clippers-Celtics talk has fizzled a little bit since yesterday, and could be completely blown up if nothing happens by Tuesday or Wednesday.

A few opinions:

  • Doc Rivers has most of the power here. My guess is that he has not agreed to come back yet because he wants to make sure that Ainge wants to bring back KG and Pierce. He has one last chip to hold on to. He doesn’t want to rebuild yet.
  • The Clippers will not change their opinion on Bledsoe, they would rather use him to lure Howard in, not a coach.
  • The Lakers are not scared to do a sign-and-trade, even if it is to their counterparts, the Clippers. It’s better than getting nothing for them. The only way Howard will do this is if good friend, Chris Paul, agrees to stay in LA.
  • If the deal isn’t worked out, the only way we keep Rivers, is to keep all three. They believe in loyalty and want to stay loyal to each other.
  • The Clips will see that trading two solid players (or trade chips) for a coach is not worth it.
  • Pierce should retire a Celtic, and Garnett should too. Even if Pierce leaves, we should at least sign him for a day after and let him retire in the Green and White, and retire his jersey ASAP.

The Post Paul Pierce/K-G Era

Picture Courtesy of setevintecinco.blogspot.com

It’s the Summer of 2014…Danny Ainge sits in his comfy office chair smoking a Cuban cigar, attempting to do his best Red Auerbach impression. Papers are scattered on his desk listing the players who need to be cut and the available free agents left on the market to pick up. His phone lines are ringing like crazy, on the other end waits a number of teams looking to trade for Rajon Rondo and draft picks. He just lets them go to voicemail. He puts out his cigar, sinks his head into his hands, and lets out a breathe of concern.

A Few Months Earlier: The Boston Celtics have been knocked out of the NBA Playoffs in the first round yet again. Celtics great Paul Pierce retires from the NBA a few days later at the age of 36. A few weeks before Pierce’s announcement, Kevin Garnett publicly states he is retiring after the C’s season is over. Doc Rivers, who was coerced to coach for Boston for one more season, calls it’s quits a few days after Pierce, and just like that…an era is over.

October 2014: The 2014-2015 regular season is about to get underway for the Boston Celtics, it’s opening night at the TD Garden, but the seats aren’t quite as full as they normally would be, the Celtics are about to be introduced by the PA announcer, but something’s missing. The announcer goes through the starting lineup, but there’s no mention of Pierce or Garnett, and instead of Rivers, someone else is on the sideline going through the game-plan with the team before tip-off.

The referee brings the ball out to the middle of the court, lobs it up for the tip, and without a second thought, the post-Paul Pierce/K-G era has begun.

Picture Courtesy of celticshub.com

The Truth Hurts: The paragraphs above are not something straight out of a science fiction novel, they are harsh realities that will come to light over the next two seasons, maybe even sooner depending on how this year’s off-season goes. The fact is, Pierce, Garnett, and even Doc Rivers will all be gone at some point, between now and the 2014-2015 regular season.

How the Celtics will prepare for this post-Paul Pierce/K-G era has yet to be seen. Replacing the likes of Pierce, Garnett, and Rivers will be nearly impossible from a character standpoint. Pierce has been everything Boston could have ever wanted out of a player since the C’s drafted him back in 1998. Garnett has been a key cog in the Celtics machine since 2008. Rivers has coached the Celtics through the best of times and the worst of times.

Boston can however, draft or add players who will provide the kind of production that Pierce and Garnett have for so many seasons. As for the next bench boss of the Celtics, only time can tell who will fit the bill for Boston.

In the meantime, here’s a look at what the Celtics roster will likely look like in 2014-2015 (minus draft picks, free agent signings, and trades) in comparison to their current roster.

Current Roster (when fully healthy)

C Kevin Garnett, Chris Wilcox, Fab Melo

PF Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger, D.J. White, Shavlik Randolph

SF Paul Pierce, Jeff Green

SG Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, Jordan Crawford, Terrance Williams

PG Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jason Terry

2014-2015 Roster (some of the players listed above were removed due to the likelihood of being cut, Terrence Williams, Shavlik Randolph,  or potential retirement, Jason Terry.)

C ?, Fab Melo, Chris Wilcox,

PF Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger, D.J. White

SF Jeff Green, ?

SG ?, Courtney Lee, Jordan Crawford,

PG Rajon Rondo (if he hasn’t been traded away), Avery Bradley

(The question marks above resemble open spots on the roster that can be filled by draft picks or free agent acquisitions/trades)

Picture Courtesy of boston.cbslocal.com

As you can see there will certainly be a few holes to plug up by the time the 2014-2015 rolls around. Upon review of that potential depth chart, some might say the Celtics need to prepare for the future right now. However, good things come to those who wait. So, before you decide that selling the farm by trading away either Pierce, Garnett or Rondo right now is a simple solution, consider some of these 2014 free agents:

Point Guards

Kyrie Irving

John Wall

Eric Bledsoe

Kemba Walker

Damian Lillard

Shooting Guards

Dwayne Wade

Jamal Crawford

Thabo Sefolosha

Klay Thompson

MarShon Brooks

Small Forwards

LeBron James

Carmelo Anthony

Paul George

Rudy Gay

Khawi Leonard

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Power Forwards

Zach Randolph

Dirk Nowitzki

Tristan Thompson

Greg Monroe

Kenneth Faried

Centers

Chris Bosh

Demarcus Cousins

Andrew Bogut

Andre Drummond

Now I’m not saying that LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh are all going to take their talents to Beantown, nor am I saying that Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving will leave their respective cities to play for Boston.

Because let’s face it, James, Wade, and Bosh are going to continue to shine in South Beach for at least another five seasons. Furthermore, Anthony will probably lure someone like Irving to play alongside himself and Amare Stoudemire, creating a “Big 3 in the Big Apple”

However, once you eliminate those top tier free agents, what your left with is a list of mid to high level guys who can help the Celtics compete for a championship well after Pierce and Garnett leave.

Final Thoughts: “The Truth” is, sooner than we would all care to admit, two “Big Ticket” names are both inching closer and closer to retirement. In a fantasy world the Celtics would have a roster consisting of Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Paul Pierce, and a few more Celtics greats every year. This, however, is the real world, and even the greats have to go at some point. A new era of Celtics basketball is on the horizon, one can only hope those running the front office are ready for it.

What should the C’s do? Who should they pursue once Pierce and Garnett are gone? Leave a comment below.

Beating the Odds: C’s Avoid Anticipated Collapse

Celtics Competing:  I’ll admit I was one of the many who threw their hands up and said, “What are we going to do now?” when I heard Rajon Rondo was out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Well, since then the Celtics have responded to everyone’s questions the old fashioned way…by simply winning.

The Celtics have won eight of their last nine games with impressive victories over the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, and Chicago Bulls . More importantly, and surprisingly, the C’s have done so without the likes of Rondo, Jared Sullinger, and more recently Leandro Barbosa (all out for the remainder of the season due to injury).

Winning Ways: With the loss of Rondo and Co., Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jeff Green have led the team on the floor along with assistance from Jason Terry. Here are their numbers for the month of February:

Pierce: 17.1 PPG with 8.9 RPG and 7.3 APG

Garnett: 16.6 PPG with 10.3 RPG and 1.4 SPG

Green: 14.4 PPG with 4 RPG and 1.7 BPG

Terry: 13.1 PPG with 3.7 APG

Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Bass have also contributed, each averaging 8 PPG.

The Celtics have used a no “pure point guard” philosophy in their 8-1 stretch without Rondo, and so far it has worked well.

Playoff Probability: Although Boston is finding ways to win without a true point guard, they will have to add depth to their roster if they want to have a sure shot at the post-season. According to ESPNBoston’ Chris Forsberg, Coach Doc Rivers recently released his “shopping list” of what he felt the team needed to compete down the stretch:

“Well, I would say a ball-handling guard. It’s no longer a point guard, it’s just a guard. A guard that, if I had my perfect guard for this group right now, it would be a guard that can play multiple positions, that can shoot, and has some toughness. Then we need a big. You’re not going to find a center, so a 4. Obviously a 5 would be great, but a 4 that can stretch the floor, or a 4 that can rebound — just a great rebounding 4 that has skill. That’s the list.”

We’ll have to wait and see what kind of deals Doc and Danny Ainge can whip up in the weeks to come. As of today (February 15th) the Celtics are 28-24 overall and hold the seventh playoff spot/seed of the available eight in the Eastern Conference. Moreover, if the season ended today the C’s would make the playoffs. Of course, the season still has about 30 games to go and as we all know with any sport “anything can happen”.

Nevertheless, I whole heartedly believe Boston can continue their winning ways and place themselves somewhere between a fifth to seventh seed at seasons end. Honestly, at the rate the C’s are playing, they could even lobby for a fourth seed. We’ll just have to watch and see what happens.

Final Thoughts: With roughly 30 games left and only 10 healthy players on a 13 man roster, the C’s have their work cut out for them as they head down the final stretch. Will the Celtics make the post-season? If so, what playoff seed will they earn? Leave a comment below.

Rivers Wins 400th with Celtics

Doc Rivers is one of three Celtics coaches who have reached the 400-win plateau. He is third behind Tommy Heinsohn (427 wins), who is now the very colorful commentator for Celtics games. In first place is the greatest coach of all-time, Red Auerbach. Red’s record won’t get touched seeing as he has 795 wins, and could have probably reached 1000 if he didn’t decide to step down as coach and move into the front office. Still, he is responsible for bringing Parish, Bird, and Mchale imagestogether after he was done coaching, so he should get credit for those years as well!

Doc is 400-288 with the Celtics over the 9 years he has been in Beantown. He won 171 games as a coach of his hometown Orlando Magic. Doc was also an NBA player beforehand, and is regarded as one of the best, if not the best players’ coach. He was also voted as one of the best coaches at designing set plays from out of bounds. That was from a poll taken before every season. The Celtics have now won 5 straight games.

Should We Worry?

Overall, the Boston Celtics are 12-11. They are right in the middle, sitting in 15th place overall out of 30 teams. This is not the Celtic’s team that we have come to know and love. Kevin GarnettThe season is just over 1/3rd of the way over, and we are not getting any better. The C’s, who are usually one of the better defensive teams, are allowing 97.9 PPG. This stat isn’t as bad as some, except for one fact:  We aren’t scoring. We are only averaging 97.4 PPG. I’m no math wiz, but I’d say those numbers are going to have to improve if we want any chance to beat the big teams of the East this season (New York, Miami, Atlanta).

We don’t have an easy schedule coming up either. We play the Bulls in Chicago on Tuesday, then come back home to play the Cav’s and Buck’s, both of which have shown that they can put up serious points. Then we take on the Net’s on Christmas, and the Clippers two days after that. Sitting just one game above .500, the C’s need to find a way to get some W’s.

The only consistMiami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Fourent scorer this season has been Captain Paul Pierce, who is averaging 19.7 PPG. Rondo is scoring lower and lower each game, but if he can keep getting 12-15 assists per game, they should be okay. Garnett is shooting around 50% lately, but doesn’t play enough minutes to put up any serious numbers. Meanwhile, Jason Terry has been big off the bench, but still has not found his stroke on the 3-pointers, something we have been lacking since Ray Ray took his talents to South Beach.

C’s Weekend Recap

The Celtics dropped two games this weekend, both against quality teams, and the games imagescat1wg6eweren’t that close. On Friday night, The C’s lost to the Rocket’s 101-89 behind Harden’s 21 points and bench player Greg Smith’s 20 points.  Paul Pierce played 41 minutes and was able to contribute 18 points, 7 rebounds, while everyone else seemed rather flat. Garnett put in 14, Rondo put in 15 and added 13 assists, but we were out played badly.

On Saturday night, they Green and White took on one of the best teams in the league, the San Antonio Spurs. For the first half, it looked like this would be a game. That ended about halfway through the third quarter. Garnett only put in 13, Rondo had 6 points, and failed to reach double digit assists with 9. Sullinger had a team Boston Celtics at San Antonio Spurshigh 7 rebounds off the bench, and Jason Terry had a huge first half and managed to score 18 points total, even though he slowed down significantly in the second half. Parker put in 22 for the Spurs while Gary Neal was able to score 20, as the Spurs improved to 19-6.

C’s Squeeking By?

Obviously, we learned last year that no one should count the Celtics out early. They were awful at the beginning of last season and still made it to game 7 against the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. However, we barely beat the Wizards, and lost against the Bucks, two teams that we should beat night in and night out. Pierce is playing incredible, Rondo’s defense has gotten stronger, and KG is always reliable, even after a tough shooting game on Saturday.

The biggest thing to note is the way these new players are mending together. Doc said that he needs to find a way to mix and match the second unit better. He started doing this by putting Jared Sullinger into a starting role, in which he played great. You can tell that he is still young and needs to work, but he has to be ahead of where most rookies are at this point in their careers.

Personally, I am not worried about the C’s this season, and neither should you. We have so much depth and about 7 people that can put up double digits on any given night. Once they get going, they are going to be a tough team to stop.  Next up is the Wizards again on Wednesday at home. Hopefully we have this game won before 28 seconds in the 4th quarter.