I'm finally getting around to answering the mailbag questions from this weekend. There was an interesting theme of either questions about the future or questioning the past (moves) with few people actually interested in the present. Or maybe you all just feel like you've seen enough of the regular season and want to get on with the playoffs. Me too. So lets get on with the questions.
bostonceltics Do #5 and #20 deserve to hang in the rafters when they retire? They've given us so much, but they haven't been here that long, and have thus far produced only one championship. Yet their contribution as Celtics is undeniable. What do you think?
Jeff: Part of me wants to say "yes - hang them regardless of what happens this year." I mean, I'll remember that 2008 run for the rest of my life - in particular the way we throttled the Lakers in game 6. That said, practically speaking there are so few numbers left, I hate to limit the team further in the future. Of course if we win it this year, coupled with the continued success the team has had the last few years, I think you almost have to. Oh, and despite the trade that broke our hearts, I think if we win it this year, the next step is retiring Danny's #44. But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. There are a good number of fans that still want to (figuratively) hang Danny himself from the rafters right now. We'll see how his gambles play out.
Hardcoreceltsfan How much better shape would we be in right now if Danny hadn't passed on Dandre Jordan? An athletic, defensive, shot blocking, rebounding, finishing 7 footer? Are you kidding me? What was he thinking?
Jeff: It is always easy to second guess draft picks after the fact but it does seem that Danny's been swinging and missing on those late first round picks lately. JR Giddens was a a dud and Avery Bradley hasn't yet proven himself in any tangible way. On the other hand, we did get a decent half season from Mr. Irrelevant Semih Erden - which is more than most people can claim for the last pick in the draft.
PseudoElite 4th quarter woes for the Celtics seems to be a real problem this season, a lot of their losses are due to blowing 4th quarter leads. Phil Jackson said last year that the Celtics were the best at losing games in the 4th quarter, and sure enough they did during game 7. Is their age really starting to catch up? How worried should the fans be.
Jeff: I think the age issue is always there but I don't necessarily think it is as easy as saying that the team is getting tired. For all our offensive skill, the team can sometimes get predictable at the end of games. Teams have learned to lay off Rondo, stick close to Ray, and live or die with a Paul Pierce iso play that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. And if they can force him to throw it to Big Baby, even better.
scott shoyer Where do you see the Celtics in 5-6 years?
Jeff: Five years is a long time. Five years ago Kevin Durant was still in high school. Five years ago Mark Blount was our starting center. All I can say is that in 5 years, Rajon Rondo should still be in a Celtics uniform - but I don't know that for sure - especially if things go south and they have to rebuild. If I had to paint a rosy picture of what I'd like to see - it would probably involve Rondo, Jeff Green (potential fully realized) and maybe Blake Griffin (pipe dream but you never know with the Clips). And just for kicks and giggles, how about Austin Rivers playing for his dad who signed a lifetime contract back in 2011. Worst case: well, you don't want me to go there.
Sam Presti Ainge must not have watched how badly Jeff Green was exposed during the OKC v Laker's playoff series last year...but I did and I have my doubts as to his NBA future. Do you see the Celtics resigning Green? What do you think his role might be as the Celtics approach the post KG era? What do you envision his ceiling to be?
Danny Ainge I probably should have resigned Tony Allen huh?
Jeff: Nice of you guys to drop by. I do envision Green re-signing because he's a restricted free agent and under the current rules the C's can match any offer and I would imagine the new rules will move towards restricting free agent movement as much as the owners can get away with.
Looking at my watch, yep, it has been about 15 minutes since someone asked me about the trade, so I guess I'll update my latest thoughts. Umm, I'm still waiting to see how the playoffs play out. I wouldn't have done it. I would have tried a less dramatic route. On the other hand, I don't know if I would have had the guts to trade for Ray Allen before I got a commitment from the Kevins (McHale and Garnett) - but Danny did and that worked out pretty well. We'll see.
clipit89 One thing I'd like explained to me is why at the end of a game when we are down one, two or three points (especially 3 pts) Doc has Rondo give the ball to Pierce and then go run to the corner like he might get the ball back to take a three point shot. If Pierce is going to handle the ball then why not put someone other than Rondo on the floor that can actually make the three or put a big in to get a rebound. I have seen Rondo score exactly once at the end of a game where he got a lob pass and put it in. Other than that, zilch. If you could explain to me Rondo's value of being on the floor at the end of a game when we are behind as stated I'd appreciate it.
Jeff: I do think our options are somewhat limited at the end of games (see answer above) but I can see the method to leaving Rondo in the game. Nobody is better at delivering the ball where it needs to be and he's our best defensive guard. If we are coming out of a timeout, I could see subbing Delonte in to have another shooter on the floor but every situation is different. Oh, and I also remember one game where Rondo had the ball, worked down the clock, and tossed up a layup-alley-oop to KG for the win. He's crafty that one.
Tommie Who will be the dark horse player(s) for the Celtics during playoffs?
Jeff: Delonte West, hands down. He's really just getting started (knocking heavily on wood) and I really think he's a game changer off our bench. You need that kind of headstrong, emotional sparkplug off the bench, in particular from the guard position. Eddie House was that guy for a while and Nate Robinson played that role well at times in last year's playoffs. Delonte is a better player than either of them and has all the intangibles needed to be an occasional hero in the post season. Can't wait to see it.