I know I’m a bit late to recognize that the Celtics have officially entered the offseason, but consider this a belated birthday card with $50 to the restaurant of your choice. $100? It was an unexpected way to end a season that began with such invigorating and inspired performances and ended with the tired, injured Celtics that the pundits constantly ream. Fair enough, Miami made us look old and had Doc Rivers saying he wouldn’t have traded Kendrick Perkins at the time decided. When you cannot turn back the clock what you can do is look ahead to a future that would seem to be more stable. Can you find silver lining when your favorite team loses to one of it’s biggest rivals? You’d be hard pressed, but I tried to find the bright side.
Fatigue, injury, chemistry
The Celtics have been to the Playoffs for four consecutive years. Age is already one of their Achilles heals, but add 64-Playoff games spanning from 2008-2010 to an already strenuous 82-game season and the fatigue, both mental and physical, is just hard to bare. We are seeing the usual suspects (Lakers, Spurs, Magic) along with the Celtics get knocked out by younger, healthier, less seasoned teams. As much as you want another ring, this time off can only be good to the veterans (that are coming back) and Rondo’s elbow. Barring a lockout, when the 2011-2012 season starts, Nenad Krstic and Jeff Green (I believe they will be back) will contribute as envisioned. These two are professional players. What we saw and their abilities are not the same. Ask Oklahoma City who would like to have Krstic instead of Perk right now. All this being said, if you’re not going to win the championship, might as well get knocked out earlier than later. Ask LeBron. (P.S. Thankfully the Lakers cannot tie us and Miami will only need 15 more if they win this year).
Dreaming about trades and free agent acquisitions
Let’s get this dream out of the way: Dwight Howard will not be coming to Boston. Let’s also get this out of the way for anyone from Orlando who thinks Dwight will stay, he is not. Give up the dream, folks, money talks louder than a few hicks and a new arena. (Personal side note: People in Orlando LITERALLY believe that Dwight loves this city. I mean, really? This is not even a city. It’s a glorified town with a crime rate that ranks among tops in the country. Dwight does not give two slugs about where he signs if it doesn’t involve a ring and an acting career). Of course, I wish on all of my lucky stars that Dwight would end up in Boston, but with our lack of players worth trading and picks in the draft, it’s highly unlikely. A little more likely than the end of the world, but not much.
It’s pretty early to start jumping into rumor mill, but this is “dreaming”. Although the free agent class of ’11 is not what last year’s was, there are a couple of guys that the Celtics could use. Because the draft does not have much NBA-ready as well as talented size beyond Derrick Williams (I wish…seriously), I see Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin (I know Adam called this “far-fetched”) as two pieces that would fit very well into the Celtics’ game plan. Chandler for the present as well as the Rondo Regime in the future with Martin to fill in for Big Baby when he goes off to a team that offers him double what the Celtics do. Martin averaged 9.4 rebounds and 11.5 points this year. We also know how intangible his energy and grit are. Actually, thinking about the Nuggets, what about J.R. Smith?! Who knows what Danny will do with free agency this year especially since it seems the lockout is inevitable and no one knows what the consequences will be.
I don’t know much about The Draft
Admittedly, I do not watch college basketball too often. I watched from about midway through the season until March Madness. I also am horrible when it comes to anyone that isn’t a big name player. I do know one thing, the Celtics NEED offense. They need bigs that are not offensively challenged and can stretch the floor, paint tormentors and a shooting guard that takes over when Ray Allen hangs up the shoes. In my limited opinion, I think Scotty Hopson can be the guy that eventually plays next to Rondo every night. Again, I do not know much about college basketball, but I love Hopson’s skill set, ability to create off the dribble, his statistics and his swag.
Sit back and enjoy. The most important Celtic has already been locked up for five years. Welcome back, Doc. Let’s get this show rolling.