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Ask Gary Celtics Mailbag: Reasons for optimism

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  March 7, 2013 10:51 AM

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How far do you see the C's going? I really believe that they can bring Banner 18 home. They are playing with such passion, grit and balls. What do you think? Why isn't Doc playing the new bigs? Brandon Bass is not the answer.
Elizabeth, Township, N.J.

Your enthusiasm is shared by many, Elizabeth. Celtics fans are very excited about this team, and they have every reason to be. This group is eminently root-able, arguably more than any Celtics team in recent memory. No one thought last year's group would make they run they did, but they surprised a lot of people. In a lot of ways this feels the same.

As for your second comment, I think it reflects on just how hopeful you and many others are. D.J. White isn't ready to play a big role for the Celtics, and Fab Melo is far from ready. Brandon Bass can be very inconsistent, but with Sullinger injured he's the only option the Celtics have at the position. They're going to ride it out with this group.

The last time Boston hosted the All Star game was in 1964. Why haven't we hosted one here since?
Harold, Boston

Did a little research into how the host city is selected for the All-Star Game. The NBA sends out bid requests several years in advance and selects from the teams that apply. It's up to the teams to gather up enough vendors, hotel rooms, etc. and submit the package to the league. It sounds like a lot of work.

My guess is the Celtics organization hasn't felt that the time and investment is worth it. The fan base is already strong. And Boston really isn't a convention city, where large groups of people shuttle in and out for various events. There are a lot of people here all the time, complicating the logistics of a large event (the Olympics thing, by the way, would be a total nightmare). With the amount of basketball history here, though, here's hoping there can be an event soon, at least while most of Boston's basketball legends are still around.

I'm an avid shamrock fan since Bird era. After 50-plus games I'm not convinced the team is playing at its peak. Do you think they will peak at the right time going to the playoffs and in the playoffs as well? I still believe they can still reach the Finals ( no injuries please ). They also have a good youth supporting the veterans.
Jamie, Phillipines

This letter was sent before the stirring win over the Pacers, but the sentiment is still good. The Celtics need to play their very best to have any shot in the playoffs. One win over Indiana is great, but the C's would likely need to win a game on the road vs. the Pacers in addition to holding court at home to win a playoff series.

Indiana, New York, Atlanta, Brooklyn, and Chicago would all give the Celtics difficult series, though all are winnable. Miami, in my opinion, would be too tough a challenge. And then you've got to deal with the west. Not saying it won't be a fun journey, but the end result might not be what Celtics fans hope for.

Let's say this Rondo-less Celtics team gels well for the rest of the season and play a bit over .500 and make a spirited but ultimately loosing effort against Indiana in the first round. With this possible scenario, I am wondering what your predictions are for KG and Pierce and the "state of the team" for next year. Next season seems to be another year of championship contention for the two aging vets as Rondo returns, young role players continue to mature, and new faces in Williams and Crawford offer some consistent production off the bench. Agree and thought you said it well that "gritty wins" do not make for a good organizational long term plan. But am I wrong that there would almost be a "blowing up" of this team next year to move toward rebuilding?

By the way, followed C.J. McCollum here for the past 4 years. Would go nuts if he became a Celtic! He's undersized but has "it": intelligent, confident, good work ethic, seems like he would be a good fit for Doc.
Andrew, Bethlehem, Pa.

Next year's run may very well look something like this one, Andrew. But I'm still waiting for that shoe to drop, whether by injury or trade. I'm convinced Rondo, Pierce, and Garnett are on the market again this summer, if only because they have to be. Ainge wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't explore his options. What if the Celtics fall in the first round this year, KG or Pierce gets hurt next year, and the team loses in the first round again? You're left staring at a future without Pierce and Garnett and also without any answers in the pipeline. It's not fun to think about, but it's a dynamic that's constantly playing out in the front office.

Thanks everyone for the questions. Ask one for next week and follow me on Twitter.

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