Our Boston Celtics won a game tonight, defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-94, and while it’s always great news to get into the win column, one can’t help but wonder what we actually have in this edition of our favorite team. Before we go down that path, let’s recap what we saw tonight: Kevin Garnett looked as motivated as ever to beat his old team, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds; Rajon Rondo, back from suspension, started a new double-digit assist streak with 11 dishes to go with 17 points; Paul Pierce (18 points), Jason Terry (17) and Brandon Bass (12) rounded out the double digit scorers.
Looking past the win and looking bigger picture, what conclusions have you drawn about the C’s over the first 18 games?
Size, without question, remains a huge issue for Doc Rivers and the Celtics. There just isn’t enough of it to go around. While KG played only 27 minutes tonight, more and more will be expected of the Big Ticket as the season wears on. Darko Milicic wasn’t playing much before being waived. Jason Collins logged another DNP tonight, and doesn’t look like he’s going to be much help. The jury is still out when it comes to Chris Wilcox, but he’s more suited to the power forward position than center. How can the Celtics expect to compete for the Atlantic Division crown, much less the NBA Championship, with this collection of bigs?
Age is another big concern. Yes, the Celtics got younger with the addition of guys like Courtney Lee (trade), Jeff Green (free agent reclaim) and Jared Sullinger (draft), but key players like Garnett and Pierce are just too old to impose their will. KG can still bring it on the defensive end, but he floats around the perimeter on offense and doesn’t have the stomach to mix it up beneath the basket anymore. Pierce? Well, the captain’s skills continue to erode, so much so that consistency seems to be a thing of the past. One night he looks like he’s found the Fountain of Youth; the next he looks like he should be playing shuffle board at the retirement center down the street. And let’s not forget that Terry is no spring chicken. And while you might counter that his game looks pretty good right now, I would counter that, at his age, injuries could be the thing that brings him down. Knock on wood, hope that doesn’t happen, but the more minutes Terry plays as a starter the more likely something will happen to knock him out of commission.
Depth. I know, this was supposed to be a strength, right? Problem is, players just aren’t producing like they should – Jeff Green is a prime example – and this puts extra pressure on the aging core to carry the load.
The Rondo Factor. The mercurial guard continues to confound and confuse, and there’s no telling what he might do next. On top of that, Rondo spends a lot of time putting himself in harm’s way, and you get the sense that sooner or later he’s going to suffer a significant injury of some kind.
Other that that, everything is rosy in Celtic Land. You might counter that the Lakers are struggling, and that’s a fair enough statement. But if I had a choice, I would take the Lakers roster over the Celtics roster right now, warts and all. Give me a young stud in the middle to build around. Give me a trade chip like Pau Gasol, even one that doesn’t seem to have any confidence – or the confidence of his coaches and teammates – at the moment. Give me the headache and unpredictability of an aging Metta World Peace. Give me an injured Steve Nash. Oh, and give me the ultimate Alpha Male that is Kobe Bryant, the youngest player in league history – and only the fifth ever – to score more than 30,000 career points.
Sorry if this offends, but right now I just don’t have confidence in the team I love.