A fun thought occurred to me and I thought I'd share. You can argue all day long about who "won" each trade (and we do!) but at the end of the day all that matters is if you have a better team now than when the changes began. That's debatable as well, but I wanted to take it a step further. So I got to thinking about the 2008 team and I couldn't help but draw some comparisons. Without taking this too seriously, lets go to the tale of the tape!
- Rajon Rondo - leaps and bounds better than he was in 2008 (and he was pretty good then)
- Ray Allen - at least as good as he was in 2008, but now has a better idea of his role in the offense
- Paul Pierce - as efficient as ever, still the Truth
- Kevin Garnett - pretty close to his 2008 level - maybe a half step slower and a notch crazier
- Shaq - an older Kendrick Perkins, not as good on defense, better on offense
- Glen Davis - an upgrade on the platoon of rookies Leon Powe and Big Baby in 2008
- Delonte West - an upgrade to Eddie House AND Sam Cassell
- Jeff Green - supposedly a younger, more athletic James Posey - better on offense, not as established on D
- Troy Murphy - hopefully a clear upgrade on Brian Scalabrine - at least on offense and the boards (Sheed is probably a better example but that's the wrong year)
- Nenad Krstic - could be a younger version of P.J. Brown
- Jermaine O'Neal - filling in nicely for the Scot Pollard role of "hurt big man"
- Avery Bradley - so far a better driver than Gabe Pruitt - in more ways than one
- All we need now is Corey Brewer to come in and be a less erratic version of Tony Allen and we'll be all set!
Of course all of this is said with tongue firmly planted in cheek. This isn't a fantasy team you can just throw together and tally up the points. The generalizations and blatant stereotypes above don't account for important things like chemistry and familiarity. This team has 4 new players (if you count Delonte West - 5 if Jermaine ever returns) to work into the regular rotation with just 24 games left on the schedule. On the other hand, that Championship squad hit the ground running after training camp, so you never know what they'll be able to do in a short amount of time.
I think my chief concern is on defense. The fabled defensive system that turned Ray Allen and Paul Pierce into respected defenders will be put to the test - in particular after adding guys (Murphy, Krstic, maybe Green) that have never been known as plus defenders elsewhere. Still, as long as Kevin Garnett is pounding his chest in a Boston jersey, the team will at least have an edge to them come playoff time.
This team will stand or fall on its own merits, but sometimes it is fun to compare and contrast the team against certain benchmarks - in this case with the team that achieved the goal this year's squad is striving for.