Promoted FanPost - nice job
One thing I can't really understand is the glaring negativity spread throughout the Celtics fans out here. I believe that we've had one of the most underrated offseasons ever, and yet what most of everyone keeps saying is that this Celtics team will just get kicked out in the 2nd round, it has no chance to beat Miami or Chicago, or let alone the Knicks, but here I think that those propositions are exaggerated. Yes, those teams have upgraded, but not at the same level that we did. It may then be helpful to take a look at what roster we were operating with at the end of last season, just to see how much did we really improve.
(I'm only going to list down the players that were given significant playing time at that particular position)
SF - Paul Pierce, Jeff Green
PG - Rajon Rondo, Delonte West
I don't know about you, but if THAT was the lineup you would've given me at the start of the season, I'd say yes -- THAT team will inevitably fall in the 2nd round.
The new team, no matter which way you look at it, is better. Here's why, after the jump.
Let's start with the depth chart.
PF - Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, JaJuan Johnson
SG - Ray Allen, Avery Bradley, E'Twaun Moore
PG - Rajon Rondo, Keyon Dooling
First few comments:
1. I believe either Marquis or Sasha will backup Ray at the 2, though Avery will still be given his chance.
2. On a personal preference, I'd much rather start Wilcox than Jermaine O'Neal. He adds athleticism our front court hasn't seen for a few years now.
3. Wilcox, Bass, Green, Daniels/Pavlovic, Dooling --Aside from Daniels, no relatively worrying injury history, and they aren't THAT old.
After going through those first few comments, let this be known: that is a solid bench lineup. (But of course, like everyone else, I have no concrete idea of how they'll mesh together yet, but let's stick with what we know) What I'm going to do here is market these players to you. While doing so, I'll pick up on how exactly they are upgrades from their "predecessors", and what they can potentially contribute.
Keyon Dooling Highlights 10-11 Pt. 2 (via DaTruth483)
Some of you might not know, but Keyon Dooling is a solid defender. That's the first ace into getting playing time in the rotation. As recent as last year, he started for the Bucks when Brandon Jennings got sidelined from injury, and the man produced. In a 21-game stretch last year of starting, he only dropped 2 assists ONCE, and 3 assists THRICE. The rest fluctuated from a common 5 or 7 up to highs of 10 and 11. I forgot where I read it, but the Bucks defense was almost 3 points better with him on the floor (add to that his good size for a PG, he's 6'3'). Aside from that, he can hit the three enough (34-35% last year). He's also got some hops.
While I don't doubt that we'd be more excited if D.West was the one backing up Rondo, the truth is this guy (Dooling) played 80 games last season. He only missed two games (one, a left knee stratin, the other, illness). Sure we'd all love to have Delonte (and I do too, and I loathe Danny for letting him walk away with a vet minimum as well) but I don't think we're going to pass up the prospect of having a relatively injury-free backup keeping Rondo's minutes down.
Brandon Bass mix (via AsijsLV)
Ah, how quickly we forget that as recent as last year, Bass was a starter in the Orlando Magic. Albeit the team got kicked out in the first round, Bass was a solid contributor. And though it's unfair that I'm going to refer to the higlights video (yeah, I know highlighs do show only the highlights), this guy CAN FINISH AT THE RIM. I bet he has more dunks in this highlight video than Glen Davis had all of his career. And look at the athleticism -- that's unheard of in these parts. Yes, we may be getting another undersized power forward, but this guy can score, this guy can jump, this guy can DUNK.
Apart from that, he also has a more consistent jumper than BBD. (But then again, who else doesn't have more consistent jumpers than BBD?) Aside from that, watch his recent interview in the Celtics' practice days. Dude's going to be a hard worker. I bet he'll stay in shape as well.
No video needed, not much talk needed -- you guys have already said that he SHOULD be able to contribute better this year than the disaster (though not always) that he was last year. Don't underestimate the value of training camp, even though it's a fairly small one, and just the mere fact that Doc may be really carving out a place for him already is I guess a surefire way of knowing he'll contribute better this year. (As long as Doc keeps him primarily at the SF spot). But then, why all the negativity?
This guy was a starter for his former team. Put him in most teams that don't have all-star SFs, and I'm betting he'll start as well. I don't know if you're counting, but those are three guys that have the potential to start, have started, and may be future starters. These aren't scrubs.
If any of you told me that this season, we'd have a legitimate center that can throw down lobs, I'd have scoffed at the idea. For some reason, our front court for the past years have been terribly ground-bound, and it hasn't really been that fun at times. Enter: Chris Wilcox. The deficiencies first is that he isn't really known as an elite rebounder -- he's okay for his size, I guess. He also shoots below average at the line (56.2 last season), and he has a tendency to foul a lot (2.5 fouls in 17mpg last year.) But then, are any of you going to realistically choose Krstic over this guy?
Nenad, as much as I had high hopes for him, couldn't rebound, couldn't defend, couldn't jump, and though known as an offensive-minded jump-shooting center, couldn't really shoot. Now, we have a guy who can dunk, who can get offensive rebounds for us, who can run the break, and maybe even block a few shots. Isn't that all we used to need from the 5 position? Though not an elite post-defender, this guy can be a key cog defensively. All because he can jump.
[I'm advocating to start him though, cause I feel he'd be more effective playing alongside Kevin Garnett, he can develop into a reliable (albeit not amazing) starter, and he'd keep the minutes down for JO, who we know, terribly needs it. And aren't you salivating at the prospect of Rondo throwing oops to this guy? I thought you would.)
Sasha Pavlovic and Marquis Daniels
Both can be good defenders. Though we're all throwing dirt on Sasha right now for being signed instead of D. West, he showed promise last season both as a defender and a legitimate three-point threat. Daniels has been well-talked about in these parts, and we know what he can bring to the table if healthy. Just to show, these guys aren't scrubs either. Both were previous starters before.
Jajuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore
I would want them to get more playing time, no doubt, but it may be a stretch to say that they'll be the primary backups for this season. They may, if they outplay the ones before them in the depth chart, but I don't think I need to tell you that these two guys are going to be good bodies for the Celtics. You have JJJ, an athlete in the mold (and hopefully, fingers-crossed) of KG, and you have Moore, a guard who's already impressed in the first legit day of practice. Watch their Boilermaker highlights, if you want to get a clue for how these guys might potentially play out. I'm excited, to say the very least.
First of all, yes, I acknowledge the weaknesses of this team. Though not incredible depth at the 5 position, it may be very well enough to get this team over the hump. This is also the reason why the acquisitions intrigue me -- for once, we are not getting players who are on the verge of career-ending injuries (aside from JO and Daniels), and that is the first key to getting consistent minutes for the bench. Having consistent minutes from a set bench rotation will no doubt lead to better bench play, and better bench play means getting more time off for the starters. Let's face it, it would have been nice to get a David West, but more than anything, we need bench play that wouldn't keep pulling us down in crucial moments. I've no doubt you guys were terrified as well whenever we'd bring out Krstic and Baby to match up with the Heat last playoffs. But now, we're definitely better. With a little luck in the form of appeasing the injury gods, I've no doubt that this team will be competitive as ever. Since when have we gotten a bench that's not on the verge of living in an infirmary?