There's no question my objectivity meter has been wildly beeping "Rambling Fanboy Drowning in Kool Aid" for about 2 weeks now. And while I won’t force out a Peter May contrarian article or cry wolf like Bob Ryan, I think it is fair to point out that fate could very well step in and conspire against this team. After all, even if the odds are up to 5 – 1 that the team will win it all, that still makes it much more likely that they won’t. Or to put it another way, our odds of winning the title are not that much different than our odds of winning a top 2 pick in the lottery. Let that sink in for a sobering thought.
So here are 5 reasons why it could all go wrong.
1. Injuries: Not to channel JB of Celticsstuff Live or anything, but (literally) half the roster has missed long stretches of time in the last couple of years. That includes Pierce, Ray Allen, Tony Allen, Perkins, and Scalabrine. Even newcomers Eddie House and Scot Pollard have missed time recently. Every team in the league could get derailed by injuries, but not every team has logged as much time on the inactive list as this one.
2. Depth: Our 6th man is coming off of major knee surgery and won’t be "right" until Christmas at best. Our 7th man is Brian Scalabrine. Need I go on? Even as a Scal-apologist, I have to admit that’s scary. I’m optimistic on House and Pollard, but they are obviously limited. Adding Reggie Miller would be fun, but unless he learns to play point or center, he doesn’t exactly fill a glaring need. Here's hoping Danny can find some more help with the cash he has left.
3. Egos: As much as I lauded the leadership skills of our stars, there’s no predicting how people will react when they actually get on the same team and walk on the same court together. Maybe Pierce will want to still be top dog. Maybe Ray Allen won’t like being 3rd on the totem pole. Maybe KG will punch somebody. Maybe the rest of the team will resent the stars and a rift will be created. You just never know.
4. Doc: Feeding off that last point, it is all up to Doc now to make sure everyone is on the same page. In fact, a lot is riding on Doc now, and I doubt you can find too many Celtics fans that feel comfortable with that thought. When we are up by 2 with 5 seconds on the clock, will we defend the inbounds pass? When we are on the road in the playoffs and the momentum is swinging the opponent’s way, will Doc be able to make the right adjustments? Will Doc be able to keep the starters under 40 minutes a game? Lots of question marks.
5. Competition: Everyone talks about how weak the East is, but there are some teams to watch out for. Detroit and Miami proved that you can indeed beat the big bad West. LeBron and the Cavs aren’t going to say "well, we gave it our best shot, we give up." The Baby Bulls are "all grows up." Washington is back with a big three of their own. Toronto is still getting better. Even the former cellar dwellers are making strides (Philly, New York, Orlando, Charlotte, Atlanta). Nobody is going to hand the East to this team.
So while I’m optimistic and excited about this year, even I have to admit that the odds are still against us winning it all this year. Sure, we have at least 2 years after this to load up again and give it another shot, but with just a 3 year window, you have to take every opportunity you have.
Somebody asked me the other day if I feel "vindicated" after watching the Red Sox and Pats get all the attention in this town the last few years. My answer was that I’ll feel vindicated when we raise banner #17. They don’t raise banners in Boston for great trades or Division Championships or an appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals. The only thing that matters here is going all the way. We’ve got a better shot at that now than we have in 20 years, but there’s still a long way to go.