Our aging Boston Celtics received a facelift this offseason, and while they’re not exactly the New Kids on the Block, the new editions have provided a jolt of excitement and optimism across Celtic Nation. The team that Danny Ainge has cobbled together is an interesting mix of old (Paul Pierce) and new (Jared Sullinger), of superstars in their twilight (Kevin Garnett) and supernovas in their primes (Rajon Rondo). There was an extraction event this summer, with Ray Allen being pried away by the Miami Heat. There was a creative deal to land his replacement in Courtney Lee. It all adds up to a very satisfying period of free agency, and now is the time to ask the question:
Are our Boston Celtics better off now than they were a year ago?
They answer is an emphatic ‘yes’.
Without question, this current group of Celtics has more potential than the previous version. But is it enough? Is it enough to close the gap with the Heat? Is it enough to keep the other Eastern Conference challengers at bay?
Only time will tell. But at the moment, there’s a certain vibe to this team that smacks of something special. Don’t know why, but it just does. And part of me wants to say that this group of Boston Celtics is a better team that what has been assembled down in South Beach. Sure, the Heat have added Allen and Rashard Lewis. But sometimes adding big names to bigger names doesn’t get it done.
Drafting a player like Jared Sullinger wasn’t exactly sexy, but just wait, he’s got the game to make an impact on this team. There are some Celtics fans out there that don’t realize how much Jeff Green is going to help this team. They only remember the egg he laid after the trade from OKC. Well, Green will have a full camp under his belt, and he’s going to be motivated to prove something.
Courtney Lee might not be the guy who can carry a team on his back, but he doesn’t have to do that. He can play unencumbered, and he’s going to get a lot of open looks thanks to his surrounding cast.
Jason Terry suddenly gives the Celtics not one, but two closers with ice water in their veins. Yeah, Ray knocked down a few game-winners, but Terry is better in the clutch. Imagine having Pierce and Terry on the court together with the clock winding down and the game in the balance. Both guys are going to be extremely dangerous. Especially with Garnett on the floor with them. And Lee. And Bass. All of those guys can make shots.
So call me crazy, but I think our Celtics are much-improved and built to handle the Heat. Sure hope so – I can’t bear the thought of watching the Heat win another title, especially now that they have Allen on the team.