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.

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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.

Celtics Cap Mavericks in Double OT

Boston Beats Dallas: The Boston Celtics came away with a victory against the Dallas Mavericks last night in nail-biting double overtime fashion. The C’s beat the Mavs 117-115 at the Garden, thanks in part to a pair of Courtney Lee free throws in the game’s final seconds.

Lee’s made free-throws sealed the deal for Boston. Had Lee missed both of them, Dallas guard OJ Mayo’s 24 foot 3-pointer at the buzzer would have tied the game and forced a 3rd OT. Instead Mayo’s heroics were too little too late and behind Paul Pierce’s 34 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals the Celtics managed to sweat out a win.

Rajon Rondo also turned in a top performance for Boston with a double-double of 16 points and 15 assists. Rondo was a rebound shy of pulling off a triple double with 9 rebounds in the game.

Dallas’ top performers: OJ Mayo led the Mavericks in scoring with 24 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Shawn Marion also performed well with 16 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 blocks.

Fun Facts From the Game:With a score in the games first overtime, C’s forward Paul Pierce surpassed 23,000 points for his career. Pierce becomes only the 25th player in NBA history to reach 23,000 points.

Also, six Celtics players scored in double figures in this one. Pierce 34pts, Rondo 16pts, Kevin Garnett 16pts, Jeff Green 15pts, Jason Terry 10pts, and Chris Wilcox 10pts.

Back to Back Wins for Boston:With the win over Dallas, the Celtics are now the winners of two straight games. Boston will look to build off this win, and improve on their 12 and 9 overall record, as they hit the road to face Jeremy Lin, James Harden, and the Houston Rockets this Friday at 8pm from the Toyota Center.

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.

Sixth-Man Votes

Jason Terry has been voted as the most likely sixth-man award winner for this NBA season. JET received 11 votes, while Jamal Crawford earned 8. Ray Allen even got 4 of his own. Even Jeff Green was voted for once, even after his rough first game back.

With reigning sixth-man award winner James Harden starting for the Houston Rockets now (scored 37 points and added 12 assists in his debut), the field is wide open. Jason Terry has already won it once before while with the Dallas Mavericks. Leandro Barbosa even won it when he was with the Suns, and if he plays like he did in the first game, he could be a big surprise. But I’ll give my vote to Jason Terry because if he can help get us over the Miami obstacle, he will be seen as one of the key factors since we lost to them the past two seasons.

Tribute to the New Season

Gallery

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Well opening night didn’t exactly go the way we wanted, but hey, it’s only game one. At least Celtic’s basketball is back. So here’s to the NBA season starting on time! Similar Posts You’ll Enjoy

C’s Drop Opening Night

As expected, both Lebron James and Dwayne Wade score in the high 20’s while Lebron recorded his first double-double of the season (26 points, 10 rebounds). One of the most painful things to watch was Ray Allen dropping 19 points on his former team. Ray played 2 more minutes than Lebron in this game, which no one expected would happen.

On the other side, KG struggled for 9 points, but was able to add 12 rebounds. Paul Pierce played amazing in the first half and ended with 23 points while Rondo added 20 points and 12 assists of his own. The biggest surprise was Leandro Barbosa dropping 16 in only 16 minutes while going 3-3 from 3 point range. The newest acquisition already showed that he deserves to be here.

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Final Preseason Rankings

The final preseason power rankings are out, and there have been more than a few big surprises in the past few days.

  • Reigning sixth-man award winner, James Harden, was traded to the Rockets to play alongside Jeremy Lin. The Thunder did not want to give him the max deal that he deserved. They instantly dropped from #3 to #5, before even playing a game.
  • The Lakers dropped one spot from #2 to #3 in light of their 0-8 preseason and an injury to Kobe Bryant. However, they still have Howard, Nash, Bryant, and Gasol together when they are all healthy again, and that looks to be a dangerous team.
  • Spurs jumped up to #2 this week, but this may be short lived since Manu’s back has been bothering him lately, and they are a year older. However, everyone should know better than to count out the Spurs.
  • The Celtics jumped from #6 to #4 after they realized that no one in the East can compete with the Heat but us. It goes without saying, injuries will play a key part in this season, with our team getting older. However, we got younger and quicker over the offseason, and are even more motivated this season after coming within 48 minutes of a championship birth.

Assuming the Heat are #1 on the power rankings, who do you think should be #2?

C’s Finally Here

The season is finally here! If you’re like me, you probably completely ignored baseball, patiently waited for hockey and football to start (still waiting on one of those), and have been following the C’s offseason very closely. We are a completely different team than we were last year. There are only 3 players from our ’08 championship team left (Pierce, Rondo, KG). However, many believe that this is the most talented and deepest team that we have had in ages. We couldn’t keep up with the Heat in the 4th quarter of games last year in the playoffs, so we went out and got some fresh legs and defensive specialists. We have Jeff Green back who will help on Lebron and Bosh, and drafted Sullinger who looks to rebound on every play, something we have been lacking over the years.

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Ray’s Departure

I have always been a big Ray Allen fan. He is one of a million, a dying breed. There are few pure shooters like him remaining in the league. However, he is starting to gain enemies due to his apparent dislike of the Celtics Organization. While Doc and Rondo and company have remained quiet, Ray has continued to talk poorly of the organization which he won a championship with. After being talked to by Pat Riley and the Heat Front Office, Allen has begun to talk about the positive times that he remembers from Boston.

He talks about all of his deteriorating relationships since he has taken his talents to South Beach, but at least acknowledges his time in Boston. He tells ESPN: “I’m always going to be a Celtic no matter what,” Allen said. “It’s always going to be in my veins. Once you live there and play for that team and win a championship, it doesn’t matter where you go. You’re always going to be a Boston Celtic.”

Personally, I am going to miss Ray, but at the same time, I think that we are a better team this season so it doesn’t bother me as much as it might bother other people. I do wish that he would stop putting former teammates and this organization down, but everyone should always remember him for his time in Boston and all those clutch moments, especially in the ’08 Finals.