10 Things About the Coming Season

1) No Posey

Posey was great.  No Posey no title; but that was last year.   

Last season the Celtics desperately needed veteran championship experience.   James Posey (with some help from Eddie House and later PJ Brown) provided that crucial veteran poise.   This year things are different.  Take a look: Suddenly the Boston Celtics roster is crammed full with bearers of the the one true ring.   They know how to do it now.  

Best of luck to James Posey and the New Orleans Hornets.  The Boston Celtics will be fine without him. 

2)  The Most Important Thing

As it was last year, the fate of the 2008-09 Boston Celtics lies not in the hands of Darius Miles, Patrick O'Bryant or JR Giddens.  Instead the Celtics will fly as high as their stars carry them.  It is Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo (yes he's included in this core group) that will lead the way, with substantial help from the other big minutes players like Kendrick Perkins.

No one should expect any sort of drop-off from the all-stars.  Garnett and Pierce had top seasons last time around. 
Read More 3)  Ankles

Ray Allen?  I never bought into his "perfect ankles" mantra following twin surgeries last year.   Now a year and a half removed from those procedures, I believe Mr. Allen will be more efficient, more consistent, and a metronome-steady nightmare for the opposition.  Observers of other teams who are hanging their hopes for Celtic demise based on Ray Allen's age are in for painful disappointment. 

4) Big Three

Remember the amusing "Big Three" controversy?  It's about to completely not matter.  Rajon Rondo is going to make it the Fab Four.  (Wait, has that phrase already been used?)

5) 12 Minutes

Say goodbye to small ball.  The Celtics regularly played Posey at 4 to get him more time. That generally wasn't the best line up (except in the finals). Now they'll stick with large brawny men at the back-up 4 on a regular basis.  Those 12 minutes at back up small forward are all that really need to be directly replaced.  

Roughly 12 minutes with four interesting candidates to earn that time.  I'm sure someone will emerge from the Tony Allen, Giddens, Miles, Walker group to fill this modest void.

Hugs are done though.  Sorry but there will be no more hugs. 

5)  Length and Athleticism in the middle

These were weaknesses last year.  This year, maybe a strength.  

Guessing Boston could draft him a few years back, I watched Patrick O'Bryant quite a bit in college.  He's very long, moves very well, and could help immensely if he works very hard.  O'Bryant is one of those long thin agile centers that are among the most unpredictable prospects to enter the league.  IF he develops he could give the Celtics a smothering interior rotation.  You place the towering Mr. OB next to Garnett and navigating the paint for the opposition will be like moving through a spider web.  I REALLY hope he shakes off his Nellie-inspired doldrums and becomes all he can be.

If O'Bryant can develop quickly and earn minutes this will be an incredible team.  If he doesn't, that's initially more playing time for Baby and Powe, but the Celtics would eventually have to find a tall back up center as they did last season in PJ Brown.

6)  Who Wears Suits?

One way to guess who will play is first to figure out who will sit:   Who will 13th, 14th, and 15th men will be?  Once you know that you can tell a lot about the rotation:

Right away I pencil Bill Walker to be inactive.  He's coming off surgery and needs to develop, maybe in the D-league.

Gabe Pruitt?  He's got to earn the spot.  Expecting him to surpass Eddie House in the line-up is asking a lot, and if he doesn't do that I don't see him being regularly activated.  

With a full 15 man roster that leaves Scalabrine or Giddens as the other man out.  Decisions on this stuff aren't made now; it's all earned in preseason. 

7)  Miles

Darius Miles might not make the team but if he does he dresses.  He's can be a prototype long 3.  It's a lot easier for Doc to plug him in there then bite his nails with a rookie.  

Three questions:  
Will he even make the team?  
Remember when Walter McCarty used to teasingly mimic Miles' signature bull-horns head pound after making a basket?
What are the odds in Vegas for Tommy Heinsohn ever uttering the phrase, "I... LOVE... DARIUS!!"   Hmmm, that one's probably a longshot.

8) Depth

The other gossamer hope of Celticphobes is that with Posey and PJ gone the Celtics will be severely weakened when the starters are off the floor.  Pardon me while I pause for a long and hearty guffaw.   I ask who among the returning bench players will be worse this season than last?  None.  Powe, Big Baby, and Tony Allen should all be better.  Eddie House will be just as good.  Plus you throw in the modern miracle of Danny Ainge's low-pick drafting ability, mix it all up, and what do you get:  More able players than minutes.

9) Find Out What It Means To Me

(Thank you Aretha.) The Celtics have earned near universal respect.  Earlier comments here about people expecting a Boston drop off are the rare exception.  Almost everywhere the team is pencilled in as the East favorites.  

As it should be. 

10) A Year Later

Looking back, last season was magical.  The pride of the franchise as been restored to full luster.  On opening night the 17th banner will rise, joining its companions from 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s...

...Then the games will begin once more and the defending world champion Boston Celtics will seek to win another title.  The world is green again.
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