Well here we are, ladies and gents, 11 days before the start of the NBA regular season, and we’re still trying to figure out what we’ve got with our remade Boston Celtics. Gone is Mickael Pietrus. Gone is cult favorite Greg Stiemsma. Gone is Ryan Hollins. Keyon Dooling. Ray Allen.
Welcome back, Jeff Green. Kevin Garnett. Paul Pierce. Rajon Rondo. Brandon Bass. And eventually, Chris Wilcox and Avery Bradley.
Hello, Courtney Lee. Jason Terry. Jared Sullinger. Leandro Barbosa. Darko. Jason.
With all of the pluses and minuses, one has to wonder: Will this Celtics team be a sweet treat, or will it be a case of too good to be true?
I’m a glass half full kind of guy. I take a look at last season’s Celtics and still can’t believe they reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Wow. And I look at this year’s team, and I want to think that we now have enough firepower to get over the hump and reach the Promised Land all over again.
Sadly, reading the fine print on your favorite NBA team is like reading the fine print on a mutual fund prospectus; past performance does not guarantee future returns. This is a new season, and there are plenty of other teams that have improved their rosters in an effort to compete. The Miami Heat are still the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia 76ers traded for Andrew Bynum. The New York Knicks are suddenly one of the sexier picks – but then again, they were the sexy pick at the start of last season, and you know what happened. Some pundits are even putting the remade Atlanta Hawks ahead of our Celtics in the year-end standings.
So, what to make of this New World Order?
I like the fact that we were able to re-sign KG. Everything hinged on that. The Big Ticket retires, we are in full-fledged rebuilding mode. So he comes back and we lose Allen. But we were able to bring in younger legs in Lee and Sullinger, and we were able to land a savvy leader in Terry.
I personally like the formula that Danny Ainge is working from. He knew he couldn’t be a player for a major name like Dwight Howard, so he decided to play it smart and shop wisely. Spend, but make sure you get as much quality and quantity as humanly possible under the salary cap constraints. I think Ainge did that. And then some.
And now this collection of team-first players is in the hands of Doc Rivers to mold and shape. I’m telling you, it could be worse. A lot worse.
Personally, I’m more treat than trick when it comes to these Celtics. I think we’re looking at the second overall record in the East, and I see a rematch with the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
I’m a homer, so you don’t want to know what I think – because YO