Team Name: Boston Celtics
Last Year’s Record: 62-20 (1st place, Atlantic Division)
Head Coach: Doc Rivers
Comings: Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels, Shelden Williams and Lester Hudson (no. 58).
Goings: Leon Powe, Gabe Pruitt, Mikki Moore and Stephon Marbury.
Blogger Thoughts, Zach Lowe, CelticsHub:
Contend for a championship. If the team’s top players – especially KG – are healthy, the Celtics are as good as anyone. Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels will provide depth the top-heavy ’09 Celtics lacked.
On the Nets:
The Nets will be an interesting watch because they’ve got one young star (Devin Harris), one young potential star (Brook Lopez) and at least two young guys who could become solid rotation players (Courtney Lee and Terrence Williams). But that’s all they are this year – an interesting watch. Once Mr. Prokhorov takes over and the team clears cap space, well, then this discussion could be very different.
Comparing the Starters:
Starting PG -Rajon Rondo (11.9 pp., 8.2 apg, 18.90 PER) vs. Devin Harris (21.3 pp., 6.9 apg, 21.65 PER): Rondo may get lost in the shuffle with Boston’s star-studded roster, but he carried the team on his back during an epic first-round series against Chicago last year in the playoffs, averaging nearly a triple-double. His fatal flaw is he can’t shoot, but he’s a terrific defender and passer and great rising point guard in this league.
Advantage: Even. In the off-season there was a rumored trade of Rondo for Harris. That would have been an interesting swap. Rondo appears to be wearing out his welcome in Boston because of some behind-the-scenes issues, but he’s a great point guard who can do many things Devin can not.
Starting SG – Ray Allen (18.2 pp., 2.8 apg, 17.34 PER) vs. Courtney Lee (8.4 pp., 1.2 apg, 10.78): While he’s getting older, Allen remains one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. Phenomenal marks at the free throw line and behind the three point stripe earned him a True Shooting percentage of 62.4. His PER has been well below 20 for two seasons now and injuries have slowed him down, but he’s still one of the best at his position.
Advantage: Celtics. Allen has been a great shooter for a long-time and is a likely hall-of-famer.
Starting SF – Paul Pierce (20.5 pp., 5.6 rpg 17.74 PER) vs. Chris Douglas-Roberts (4.9 ppg, 1.2 apg, 12.22 PER): Still known as one of the better clutch shooters in the game, Pierce’s offensive game has been in steady decline for three seasons now. He’s averaging less points, rebounds and assists, though he’s still a great three-point shooter averaging about 39 percent from downtown.
Advantage: Celtics. Even in decline, Pierce carried the KG-less Celtics to 60 wins down the stretch.
Starting PF – Kevin Garnett (15.8 pp., 8.5 rpg, 21.32 PER) vs. Yi Jianlian (8.6 pp., 5.3 rpg, 10.98 PER): The big question of everyone’s mind is how is KG’s knee. If he’s healthy, he’s one of the best defensive power forwards in the game, and is still an inside-outside threat offensively, despite not drawing nearly as many fouls as he used to.
Advantage: Celtics. Another all-time great on the Celtics roster. There’s not even a comparison to Yi.
Starting C – Kendrick Perkins (8.5 pp., 8.1 rpg, 13.29 PER) vs. Brook Lopez (13.0 pp., 8.1 rpg, 17.94 PER): Perkins is a great defender, even giving Dwight Howard headaches in the playoffs. He’s not a terrible on offense either, shooting 57.7 percent from the field last season. His biggest problem is holding onto the ball. He had the highest turnover rate in the league, with many of those TOs coming on offensive fouls.
Advantage: Nets. Perkins is a very underrated player in this league, but you have to wonder how much more he can grow as a player. Lopez is no slouch as a defender either and is a better scorer and doesn’t turn the ball over nearly as much.
Bench – Rasheed Wallace is probably starting on most teams. Glen Davis is a great complimentary piece and was an almost-Net. Eddie House is still a very good three-point shooter, though not the best person to run the point backing up Rondo. Marquis Daniels has fallen off considerably since his rookie season six years ago.
Advantage: Celtics. They have multiple guys in reserve that are better than our starters.