Tom Haberstroh Tweet...
LeBron with Shaq last year: Cavs +3.4 pts per possession. LeBron without Shaq? +15.7. That experiment was fun wasn't it?
A 12 point differential appears to be ominous sign when you consider the Celtics were in the middle of the pack offensively last season and still have not addressed a wing that can score off the dribble. Although most of the reviews thus far have been positive, I would like to address the naysayers. It's true if you approach this game with a mathematician's eye then you will conclude Shaq is likely to be nothing more than window dressing at the old folk’s home.
FYI ... The Lakers currently trot out 9 players on their roster 30 and over; the Heat 7, and Celtics??? Only 6.
This move is not an experiment. It addresses a major deficiency in rebounding and adds front court depth. It is low risk with a generous pay off if he can play a minimum two-thirds of the regular season ... preferably more games in the first half for oblivious reasons. If Shaq would have come via a sign and trade, or would be penciled in as the starter, there would be reason for concern. But that is not the case. For the first time in his career he'll be partitioned against second unit players for 10-15 minutes a night. So I think we ought to spend less time worrying about an old war horses’ declining numbers and just pay attention to Doc and his staff finding the right combinations.
For instance, I can see Shaq first off the bench replacing his name sake and playing alongside Kevin, which is a natural fit. You may see the LSU connection around the quarters, but considering Shaq is a no show on the screen/roll that makes for a shaky combination on the defensive end. So Doc may want to minimum that combo the way he sidestepped a duo of Perk and Davis last season.
The O’Neal’s could be a nice inside-outside combo with Jermaine playing the 4 against the opposition's second unit. Then it becomes a coach’s decision to find the perimeter shooters based on the flow of the game. I just pray everyone can stay healthy because when Perk comes back this front court will literally be a monstrosity to deal with no matter how long in the tooth.
For now Perk can ease his way back to 100% for the post season, and we have a pair of Roman size columns to throw at D. Howard and the Lakers. Beware Miami Heat because the lane is going to be a danger zone when playing the Celtics.
The most important part of this marriage is Danny luring him without compromising the trade value of Sheed's contract. It is plausible Sheed is thinking about a return engagement knowing his minutes will be trimmed and less will be asked for him in the regular season. Why leave $6.3m on the table with this kind of front court depth? Nevertheless they still have the luxury of trading his contract for a player of Boris Diaw's caliber ... or another much needed athletic wing at a more economical price to complement Rondo and Nate.
This was all accomplished with no incoming contracts extending past 2012 ... with the exception of Pierce. Even with 14 players signed, and Harangody likely next for $450k, the Celts will start the season paying a few less million in luxury tax money (a little over $82m) than last year (nearly 85m). Not that Wyc is worried about cash flow because this will be akin to having a sold out circus in town on a nightly basis.