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Looking Ahead to 2007

It’s a new year and time to look ahead.

First of all, at the beginning of the season I published some SWAGs for 06-07.  So far, we haven’t traded for KG (fingers crossed), Doc could still be fired after the season, Gerald Green might yet win the slam dunk contest, Tony Allen hasn’t been tried yet (and he did disappoint, then turned it around), and the Celtics are either careening towards the lottery or only a game and a half out of the playoffs (depending on your point of view).  So, the jury is still out on all those things (in Tony’s case, literally). 

The following aren’t predictions so much as they are gut feelings.  Either way, you are perfectly welcome to taunt me if they don’t happen.

The Year of the Fan Favorites

a Green day is comingThis could be the year when fans finally get what they’ve been waiting for.  Al Jefferson is turning into to a 20/10 threat on any given night.  Kendrick Perkins should be back to full speed before too long and hopefully healthy and his normal, aggressive self.  Gerald Green is making strides and is (usually) getting the playing time needed to work on his game.  He’s already made a huge leap from this time last year.  I think he’ll make another one in the year ahead.  We could also see Rondo force his way into the regular rotation, perhaps even taking the starting job at some point (likely not till next fall).

Trade Chips

I still believe a large trade will happen this season.  There are just too many “chips” and not enough wins.  In my mind, the guys that are most likely to be traded include Wally Szczerbiak, Tony Allen, and Sebastian Telfair. 

We covered Wally already.  I like Tony Allen and I’m glad he’s playing well.  But young wing players are a dime a dozen and I’m just not convinced that he’ll ever be a consistent, reliable threat.  He’s a good player and his defense is valuable, but I don’t think he’s in the long term plans.  He might be more valuable to us as a trade chip with the way he’s playing right now.

I included Telfair because the team likes Delonte and Rondo so much that he could eventually be the odd man out.  Young point guards are valuable trade chips in this league and I still think Sebastian is going to turn out just fine.  He just might not get that opportunity here.  Especially if the deal has the Celtics getting a veteran point in return.

Doc’s Last Days?

I think the team will keep Doc around till the end of the season and then "go in another direction."  There isn’t a lot of incentive to fire him now and they can make a clean break in the offseason.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Doc isn’t the sole reason why this team is struggling.  The players haven’t stepped up and they haven’t been healthy.  However, Doc does have to share in the blame, and he hasn’t produced many wins (even with a healthy lineup).  I don’t see him as the coach that will take us to the next level, so at some point a change needs to be made. 

Danny is another matter.  The team he has assembled (including Doc) hasn’t performed.  Then again, a lot of his strategy includes building those chips to make a deal.  How fair is it to judge him when he hasn’t been able to pull off that deal yet?  On the other hand, how long can we wait for it?  I want to see what he’ll do by the deadline.  If he can’t do anything by then, will he get another chance in the offseason or will he follow Doc out the door?

Lottery Bound: But no Oden

Again, this is just my gut feeling and it probably is because we just wrapped up a losing streak, but I don’t see this club making the playoffs.  I don’t care if we are one game out of first or 10.  This pathetic Titanic Division will produce a sub .500 champ and frankly I hope it isn’t us.  If we could put everything together and make a run at a .500 season and win the division semi-legitimately, I’d be all for it.  But stumbling in with a laughable record is pathetic and useless. 

{styleboxjp width=300px,float=right,color=black,textcolor=white,echo=yes}Let me be clear here: I’m not rooting for a tank job.{/styleboxjp}  If Perkins starts throwing up 3 pointers Mark Madsen style in the last week of the season, I’ll be ashamed of the team.  I’m just being realistic about our chances and hoping some other sorry team like the Knicks catches fire just enough to make the playoffs.  In fact, the better the Knicks do, the more it hurts the Bulls’ chances of landing KG with the Knicks’ pick as bait.

With all of that said, even if we are in the lottery, the chances are slim that we’d actually win the Oden/Durant sweepstakes.  Still, having a high pick this year is a good deal because of the plethera of big man prospects in the draft.  Go look at the current mock on Draft Express right now.  Durant is the only non-big-man in the top 10.  One of those guys is bound to be helping the Celtics next year.

One Last SWAG

I originally predicted this team to win 42 games this year.  We’re about a third of the way through the season and we have 11 wins to show for it.  The team will be up and down the rest of the year (expect a few winning streaks and even more losing streaks) but at this rate we will be hard pressed to top the 33 wins from last year.  Especially if Pierce is out for longer than expected.  Still, ever the optimist, I’ll say we get a whole 35 wins anyway.

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