Monday, July 12, 2010

The #Celtics Are in Trouble

I know, I'm on my "The Celtics should have built around Rondo" rant again. Lock up the kids, hide the dogs, and close the windows. I was going to wait until the off-season was pretty much done to do this, but after last week's craptastic signing of Jermaine O'Neal, I couldn't let it ride any longer. This team is going to be a trainwreck. Plain and simple. It's not just one thing that led to this, either, it's a combination of things that make this so unique.

1. Danny has struck out in the last 3 drafts
I like to call this the 'Patriots syndrome". It's when you go off the board and draft guys who are projected lower, trying to look smarter than everyone else. (When you do your fantasy football draft in the upcoming weeks, you know that guy that let's a top running back or QB fall because he's busy picking sleeper receivers? Same thing.)

JR Giddens. Bill Walker. Lester Hudson. Gabe Pruitt. (I don't count Jeff Green , Danny basically picked for the Sonics). Let's say one of those guys had been ok. Then you have a 6th man, a guy who can provide offense off the bench. Instead, the team is left scrambling because Tony Allen is gone. Pruitt, Hudson and Giddens all were undersized shooting guards who would have been playing the point. Ummm, wasn't Eddie House already on the roster for that? I know, Semih Erdin could be the next Leon Powe or Glen Davis, but if front-court depth is the toughest thing to find, why not stock up? Who wouldn't like seeing Deandre Jordan on this team's bench right now? Wings are plentiful, big men not so much. Of course this leads us into the next point...

2. Danny's free agent flops
Since convincing Eddie House, James Posey, and PJ Brown to sign for less and hop on the green machine, Michael Finley, Marquis Daniels, Stephon Marbury, and Mikki Moore have all tried going the same route. All four of them spent alot of time doing nothing in the playoffs. Rasheed Wallace was an awful signing that tied up the entire mid-level exception for 3 years. Now Danny is throwing away the MLE again on another big, Jermaine O'Neal. I have seen this movie before, and I know how it ends. This leaves the Celtics with no more MLE money for a back-up for Pierce and Allen (something this team lacked last year that cost them DEARLY in the Finals), which means, surprise, no legit consistent scoring options off the bench if Ray or the Truth is having an off-shooting night. Now, with the free agent market on wings drying up and the trade market looking just as bare, who do you see out there who could help this team off the bench? Tony Allen, a maddening player but one who played solid defense, is now gone. The only guy I see would be Richard Jefferson, but you'd have to think that he'd want more than the minimum after opting out of a 15.2 million dollar payday next year. Rudy Fernandez does not stoke my competitive fire, either. I'd love to be excited over Avery Bradley, but since when does Doc play rookies? Pierce and Allen get another year older and might have to play more minutes than last year, when they ran out of gas in the playoffs. WHERE DO I SIGN UP????

3. Letting Doc return for 1 more year

This one, on the surface, seems like nothing. Let Doc make another run at the title. Don't force him to sign an extension. The problem, of course, is how to attract players when there is long-term uncertainty surrounding the head coach. I'm not saying Doc is a lame-duck coach by any means, but it's not an ideal way to to keep a team going, especially in a league where players worry about situation and money more than any other.

4. How can it be Rondo's team?
A good point guard, one who gets into the paint, finds the open guy down low or kicks out to open shooters, needs guys who won't clog the lane, who move well without the ball, and who can shoot the jumper with some consistency. I see one good spot-up shooter on this roster, Ray Allen. Pierce could be, but he seems to want the ball in his hands instead of letting Rondo find him. KG's jumper has become inconsistent since the knee surgery, Big Baby has a range of about 10 feet, and O'Neal, well, he's just Jermaine. Rondo was signed to a 5 year extension that kicks in this year, and the first 2 to 3 years of it he'll have to play with older vets. I can't wait to see this guy's prime wasted on basketball's version of the Golden Girls.

5. Is last year's run the mirror image of the 86-87 team?
I remember the 86-87 Celtics. The last Celtics team to make the NBA Finals before 2008. They had injuries, guys at the end of their prime, and one guy who was a hope for the future, Reggie Lewis. The Celtics spent years trying to hang on and get one more run out of the Big 3, thinking they could recapture that magic one last time. In the end, it never happened, and Lewis ended up dying one year after Bird's retirement. Sometimes a magical run can be the worst thing to happen to a team, as it gives the team, fans, and it's front office hope that things can work out. In the end, it usually ends in frustration and disappointment, as fans always say "look at what they did in 2010!" Last year was the exception, not the rule, and I think many would have been alright with the Celtics turning the page and moving onto the next chapter. Instead, we get to watch the Miamis and Chicagos surpass this team, as the Big Three Part 2 grays before our eyes. I'll be the first guy to drive the Duck Boats if I'm wrong, but a week into free agency, it looks like last year's Finals run wasn't a diamond in the rough, it was fool's gold.



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