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Shaq and Garnett...I'll be the one to say it

OK, I'll be the one to say it.

I know Shaq and KG will be a combined 74 years old before the season ends.  I know both have shown wear-and-tear in recent years.  I know Shaq has had arguably a negative impact on his last few teams.  And I know that we don't want to rely upon two grumpy old men to play 38 minutes per game for 100 games...because they can't.

I know this.

That said.

On any given night, Garnett and Shaq will be the point-blank best big-man combo in the NBA.

And I don't mean best in a "well, they can compete with Bynum/Gasol" kind of way.  No, I mean that there will be nights when they are by FAR the best big-man combo in the NBA.  Throw in Jermaine O'Neal and maybe Perk to round out the crew, and there will be entire games that our frontcourt win just by being dominant.



The biggest question to me is, how often will this happen and for how long.  Because the answer could very legitimately be "not that often" and/or "for very short periods".  We don't know how often Shaq will even play with KG, because if Jermaine and then later Perk start and KG continues to play 30 minutes/game in the regular season there won't be much overlap at all.  We don't know if they'll stay healthy.  We don't know if there will be minutes or ego issues.  We just don't know.

That said.

If Shaq actually starts?  If he actually is able and willing to fit into his role on the starting unit and Doc decides to put him there?  If they enjoy a modicum of health in the season, and actually go into the postseason having had time to mesh as a unit?

Danger.

Because Shaq and Garnett are still, currently, two of the top-5 best passing bigs in the NBA (Gasol, maybe Duncan, maybe 1 or 2 others I'm forgetting are their only peers on that front).

Garnett is still the best defensive power forward in the league, with the defensive range to help minimize Shaq's relative immobility.  While Shaq is still huge, which makes him still one of the better 1-on-1 post defenders in the league and able to clog the lane when the ball goes up.

And when the ball is thrown down to them on the blocks, Shaq and Garnett are still among the most difficult 1-on-1 covers at their position in the league.

Put that together and you're looking at one of the dominant team-defenses in the league now combined with an offense with incredible potential.  No more playing 3.5 against 5 as opposing defenses play off of Perk and sag off of Rondo's jumper.  No more Dwight Howard roaming the lane with impunity to help out his weaker defensive counterparts.  No, now you're looking at a team that really has extremely difficult-to-stop 1-on-1 matchups at every position...all of which can pass at a high level to find the open man...driven by a point guard that can drive at will and either get-to-the-rim or drop-a-dime to an excellent finisher at each position...with 2 of the best shooting wings in the NBA...with two of the best finishing bigs in the league up front...

Danger.

And then there's this: though old, these two have each at some point been the best basketball player alive.  My dad and his friends used to always quote this expression: "I'm not the man that I once was, but I'm still all the man, once, that I ever was."  Shaq and KG can't turn it up all-the-way and leave it there like they used to.  They might not even (Shaq especially) have the desire to try to turn it up in the regular season outside of special cases.

But in the big games?  In the postseason, when we're facing off with Superman II in Orlando?  Or against the Super Friends in Miami?  Or against the nemesis in LA?  We've gone from having a frontline that can hold their own against any frontline to one that can dominate ANY for any given game.  Possibly even for any given series.

I don't think many, even among Celtics fans, realize what we might have here.  And again, there are a lot of "ifs" before we really know how it'll work.  But on my last trip to Vegas, I saw the Heat at 1:1 to win the title and the Lakers at 3:1.  I put some reasonable money on the Celtics at 12:1...and this was well before they signed Shaq.  Let's just say that today, right now, I'm feeling pretty good about my investment.

Be respectful and keep it clean. Thanks.

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