Ray Allen turns 33 this summer. Kevin Garnett blew out 32 candles a month ago. Paul Pierce will be 31 in the fall. We’ve already seen stretches of inconsistent play from Allen, even if he has been awesome in the Finals. And everyone is still waiting to see how the guys who jumped straight to the NBA from high school will hold up as they get up there in years. For the record KG is finishing up year 13. Throw in the beating the Truth has taken over the course of his career and injury concerns will hang over the squad. Meanwhile, the Celtics have a lot of money committed to their current roster and simultaneously hold the 30th pick in the draft. Even with Danny Ainge’s recent success in and around the draft there is a good chance the C’s will pick up a guy that will need time to develop. At the same time Boston will need another player that can handle the ball against pressure, unless Gabe Pruitt is that guy, and a back up center once P.J. Brown and to a much lesser extent Scot Pollard ride into the sunset. Factor in the possibility of losing both James Posey and Eddie House and Boston’s future is complicated. Maybe that last one is unlikely but it’s possible.
And I haven’t even touched upon the possible improvement of other teams throughout the league. After all of that I wonder if this Celtics team had that lightning in a bottle season. They got off to a blistering 26-3 pace, enjoyed game winning shots on the road in Toronto and Charlotte, and absolutely beat down Washington, Denver, Golden State, Chicago, and New York, which probably deserves its own category. It was the kind of beating that makes the cops say, “What kind of animal could to this to other human beings?” The Knicks took so many rights they were begging for lefts. And all that happened in the first two months. Don’t forget the back-to-back-to-back losses to Denver, Golden State, and Phoenix, which was one of the most enjoyable three game losing streaks ever. Think about it – Rondo’s put back dunk in Denver, the classic in the Bay, and a still rusty KG mixing it up with Amare Stoudemire. Then there was the Texas Triangle sweep and the vengeance victories over Phoenix and New Orleans. Meanwhile, Eddie House hit shots, James Posey did whatever it took to win, Rajon Rondo rode the sophomore campaign roller coaster, Glen Davis had his moments (huge 4th quarter on the road in Detroit and admirable defense on Tim Duncan one time), Leon Powe morphed into a legitimate rotation guy (whether Doc Rivers wanted to realize it or not), P.J. Brown worked his way into game shape, and everybody, outside of maybe Sam Cassell, was dedicated to sacrificing some to win.
After coming this far, working through the adversity of the Atlanta and Cleveland series, and going up 3-1 could this Celtics team bounce back from losing the Finals? At this point it can’t even be a Pistons in 88’, failing at the peak but learning what it takes type scenario. Boston is officially beyond the point of no return. Obviously this is a fantastic opportunity. But Boston can’t bet there will be another shot in the near future.
One more point: Does Tom Thibodeau coach in Boston next season?