I love doing these mailbags, but I do need to have a better plan next time for when I'm actually going to have time to read and respond to all of them. I mean, who has time to answer these things between 2nd and 3rd helpings of Easter dinner?
So below are my belated responses to your emails.
I'll start out with two Rondo questions that kind of cancel each other out, so I'll juxtapose them thusly:
I know no one wants to address this because we are winning but it still matters IMO. The normal stat hounds are ignoring the recent drop off in Rondo's productivity. While he has posted numbers a couple of times against 'select' opposition, his nightly output has dropped considerably. When he is on, he is great. When he is not on he stinks, it's just that simple.
Can we count on him to put up some numbers against quality opposition when it counts or do we continue to suffer through his season long inconsistencies?
Is this because of Sam Cassell or has it always been there for Rajon the Celtic? - billysan
Despite a few rocky halfs and tough game against Dallas, I'm still an enthusiastic supporter of Rondo as our primary option at the point. I like/love what Sam brings as a calming force and big-time shot-maker, but I feel like Rondo brings a better overall game to the table.
In the Dallas game, Rondo sat down the stretch and made a somewhat snarky comment about it afterwards. Per Bulpett:
After Rondo’s Kentucky squad lost to Rivers’ Marquette in the NCAA tournament, Rondo cracked, "I’m not glad we lost, but maybe now he’ll play me."
My question is, where do you think Rondo fits in now that Sam is really starting to make himself a keg cog? And, more importantly, where do you think Doc sees Rondo fitting in? This is the first inkling of internal conflict since the Baby-Powe tussle, and I can't say I like it. - Evan
What more can we really write about Rondo? He's still a kid. A second year player. So he gets a free pass on the nights when he acts his age. Yet he has been handed the keys to the best team in the league, and on some nights he looks like he fits like a glove and on other nights he's a bit of an afterthought. Is he good enough to win a title? Why not? Cassell did it when he was a rookie and 2nd year player. Tony Parker did it in his second year. Whatever failings Rondo has are either made up for in the ways in which he excels or by his superstar teammates. I have a lot of confidence in Rajon and I think his team does as well.
Why is everyone unanimously crowning the Lakers the top team in the NBA? Go through the match-ups 1 by 1 and we win on most of them (I’ll take Kendrick "Bynum-Stopper" Perkins every time). Even our bench is stronger. Only Kobe and Fisher have won a championship, and neither of them did it w/o Shaq. I'd even be willing to bet that overall we have more playoff games under our belt than them. Why the love of the Lakers? - Will
I think everyone (meaning ESPN & SI) is eager to crown the Lakers because they want to. If you broke down matchups, you might find that the Jazz or Hornets are a bigger threat coming out of the West than the Lakers, but those teams don't have the buzz that the Lakers do. But I will give them one fundamental pro-Lakers arguement: Kobe. The NBA, more than most sports, can and is dominated by superstars, and Kobe can dominate. Now that he has a supporting cast, the thinking is that he can step back up to where he was with Shaq.
Even I have to admit that it would be fun to see the Lakers and Celtics in the Finals. Aside from the poetic matchup, I couldn't think of a player and team I would enjoy rooting against more.
If the Celtics win it all this season, shouldn't I get a ring for breaking the KG trade? I do feel that KG and I will forever be linked... - Rickyfan3.0…
I'll see if the team can send you something. You should at least be able to get an autographed pair of roller skates from Rondo.
Since the Celtics will hopefully make through at least a couple rounds of the playoffs this year, I thought it would be interesting to ask if you have any specific playoff rituals/habits/places that you do for Celtic playoff games. Do you stay home? Go to a bar? Watch it with certain people etc. I know with the Patriots I have specific rituals and habits and I will develop some with the Celts this year I am sure. - WBrownTrophy
Nothing too over-the-top. I wear something Celtic typically, and after several years of Christmases and birthdays with family members not knowing what else to get me, I've collected quite a wardrobe. I like to sit on the couch with a few pillows nearby, so when my arm goes flying out in disgust, it hits something soft instead of the wall. I'm pretty boring I guess. Not too superstitious but my dad was a sailor, so he did teach me not to temp fate either. "Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning. Redhead on the court, fire Doc." It all makes sense to me now.
I'm fairly sure that Garnett will make first team all defense this year. He probably will be named the league defensive player of the year also. Will anyone else on the Celtics be considered for all-defensive team? - Jay
I guess you could make a case for Posey, but I think the fundamental value to the Celtics defense is the fact that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Everyone trusts each other, so that makes everyone a much better defender. It is a shame there's no award for best assistant coach. I think Tom Thibodeau would have that one locked up.
Do you see P.J. Brown getting any crunch time minutes come playoff time? He's been off to a little bit of a slow start here. Is it age? Injury? - Dan
Age and rust. He's had what, a 9 or 10 month offseason at age 38? And I don't see him needing to be our first big off the bench. More like a situational sub. Like a good platoon player or 3rd down back, he's ready to come in and exploit a matchup or provide some veteran savvy when the team needs it. To expect more is probably asking too much and to give up on him too soon is probably selling him short.
Do you think KG is working more on his inside game (offensive) now than he did earlier on? Also, what do you think of his inside game? - Carl Seigel
You'll have to have Eric Weiss run you the numbers on him posting up more but it does seem like he's getting the ball on the block to initiate some of the offense. I think Tommy made a good observation in that KG is so busy looking to pass that sometimes he misses the opportunity to make a move right off the catch. Instead, you get the herky-jerky head fakes and hopefully the defender bites. If not, he can just shoot over the top of anyone or drop into that fallaway shot of his. He's no McHale on the block, but Kevin could never shoot that mid-range jumper like KG can either.
(at this point, the questions start to look towards the future - some habits are hard to break)
I'm curious about who will be free agents next season. I assume Pollard is gone forever, PJ won't return and that Cassell will prolly be gone for Pruett. Perhaps Scal as well (grin). I can also see EITHER GD or LP departing (not both). So who in Big Men will be available? And if House was let go, who could replace him? Perhaps it would be more appropriate to do this one AFTER the playoffs? Don't want to upset any current members. - Dipper
You forgot Tony Allen. He's a restricted free agent this summer, so the Celtics can match any offer for him. I'd fully expect the C's to play the game of "see what you can get on the market, and we'll probably match" with him. Teams will know that we'll probably match and they won't break the bank for a guy with his injury history, so I'm guessing he'll be back in Boston (though he might be the last guy signed).
I can't say what the best path would be, but I tend to think that Ainge will look for one very good addition (perhaps on the level of a James Posey) and more one year deals to maintain flexibility. If he makes a trade, the #30 pick and either Baby or Powe become the best chips we've got to shop and Scal's salary is the only contract we can try to pawn off on someone in the process. Ainge will always look, but I'd be surprised if he traded anyone.
This question may seem premature considering the current standings but I am wondering about their draft situation for the next 3 years. It is very nice to not have to worry about the draft lottery at this time of year. - Michael Woodworth
It is indeed. We have our first rounder this year and a second rounder too, though due to trades I'm not sure which spot that 2nd rounder will be in. Next year we lose our 1st rounder because of the KG trade, but after that we still have all our picks.
(and here's where things get a little odd)
I hope this is where you send your mail to, when you got something corny, but true to say. I had some free time on my hands, and was thinking about preseason, postseason, pregame, postgame, all words that begin with the letter P, then the Celtic team came to mind,6 players on the C's team last name starts with the letter (P) 1.Pierce 2.Perk 3.Posey 4.Pollard 5.Powe 6.Pruitt. Now ain't that a coincidence? Not only does a lot of basketball lingo have the letter P in it, but Danny Ainge seek after players with the letter P in it. Is it intentional on DA's part, is he superstitous? Hmmm, but there is definitely something with the letter P and the C'ssss...something to ponder, huh.? This is intended for humorous purposes only! - Jay Jay
What is Tony Allen eating? Is he eating his salmon and mashed poatoes? Does Perk eat that? No. Perk and Leon go to Hilltop for some big rare T-Bones - you know when they've been there because all the big cows are knocked down (They're always practicing their low post spin moves). And what does Ray Allen eat - sushi, I bet. He's probably a health nut. Big Baby? chicken. a 24 piece spicy from Popeye's. And then there is KG. What does KG eat? Everything. If a car is blocking his way to the buffet, he'll eat that too if he's hungry. You piss him off? He'll eat you too. Paul - he eats lobster. He'll do a Surf and Turf at the Oyster House. And a BOWL of chowder. Scalabrini - He eats veal. PJ Brown? He's with Perk and Powe working on an aged steak. Sam is riding around in a clown car grinning and eating corn dogs and chicken wings. And Doc is making everyone else eat crow. - johnnymost
Not even touching that one.
Thanks everyone. We'll do this again soon.