Several of the best Celtics and NBA bloggers in the business were kind enough to join me for a roundtable to discuss the upcoming NBA season. They are, in no particular order, Jimmy Toscano of Celtics Blog, Jay King of Celtics Town, Ethan Norof of Bleacher Report, Jeff Clark of Celtics Blog, Steve Alexander of Rotoworld, Jon Duke of Celtics Stuff Live, Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com, Brandon Paul of CLNS Radio, and John Karalis of Red’sArmy.com. This is the third installment in a series previewing the season.
There were plenty of moves made in the NBA over the weekend, but the Celtics weren’t a part of any of them. It certainly doesn’t appear that Chris Paul is coming to Boston, and David West isn’t coming here either after signing with the Pacers. As more time passes, it’s looking more and more like the 2011-2012 roster will look a lot like the 2010-2011 version.
With that, we address three more questions concerning this team.
— What are Celtics fans most worried about with this team?
I’d say that fans are most worried about the window. Some would say that we can prop it open another year or even longer. Some would say it closed a year or two ago. A key injury could slam it shut once and for all and a crammed-in schedule isn’t going to ease those fears. The core of this team has taught me never to doubt them come playoff time, but that core will need help. And that assumes that the core will still be together in June …which kind of leads to another fear Celtics fans have. The fear of change (and Danny’s trigger finger).
— Do Garnett, Pierce, and Allen still have enough to carry a contender?
In terms of talent, I’d never count out these three guys. They’re clearly motivated and hungry to prove to the rest of the league that the title window is not closed yet, but an expedited schedule will really hurt their ability to recuperate between games.
With both Allen and Garnett both only under contract through the end of the season, there’s no doubt that they’re going to give it all on a nightly basis. However, that just might not be enough in a league that has several contending teams playing at a much higher speed and with more talent on the roster
With all due respect to Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett, their days of being superstars are coming to an end. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still terrific basketball players and All-Stars in the league, but in a league which is becoming more and more top-heavy every day, they are no longer the powerhouse trio that they once were. It’s time to bring fresh blood to Boston; however, the problem is that their may not be fresh blood available (that is worth signing) until the summer of 2012. That brings us to the million dollar question: Does this core group of Celtics players have one more run in them?
Call me a homer or tell me I’m way too optimistic but the fact of the matter is that we’ve seen what this group of players can do when they’re at the top of their game. Remember, this is a team that beat the Miami Heat three out of four times during the 2010-2011 regular season.You can only wonder if the result would have been different had the Celtics had the chance to play sixteen less games last season. If Danny Ainge can bring in a good supporting cast of players with the mentality of wanting to win an NBA championship, the 2010-2011 NBA season will be far from a “bridge year” for the Boston Celtics.
— What’s one thing that might surprise Celtics fans about their team this season?
After a mixed showing last season with the Celtics, Jeff Green may surprise fans this time around. The trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Celtics in February was a transition for the 6-9 forward. His role shifted from a starter on a young squad to a backup player on a veteran team. As a result, his minutes dropped from 37 per game with the Thunder to 23.5 per game with the Celtics (including two starts). New team, new role, new adjustments to make.
Entering this season, Green will have had more time to adapt to the Celtics system and gain a better understanding of how he can contribute within his role. And while he has shown he can thrive when playing major minutes, he could see an increase in action as the Celtics watch both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett’s playing time this season.