This has been the most exciting, entertaining, and perhaps even important offseasons I can remember in my lifetime as a Celtics diehard. That has not, however, prevented the doldrums of the offseason from deflating my balloon of giddy anticipation. Training camp is still 24 days away and there are far too many subjects that have been beaten to death with no sign of resolution until the games begin. Here are 10 subjects that I’m tired of writing about (and will do everything I can to not write about until October 1).
10. Backup Point Guard: Judging by the poll, more than 50% of you think I’m making too much of this. So here’s my last word. I think we can get by with what we have, the talent is too great to be held back by this one thing. Still, it boggles my mind that Ainge would not take that one last step and pick up someone (anyone) and at the very least have them available on the bench if they are needed. Is Troy Hudson going to put us over the top? No. Could he step in and help if Rondo got hurt. I think so. I still hope someone gets cut and we pick them up sometime in October.
9. Doc Rivers: Can he finally win now that he has real talent? Does he deserve to be the coach after his record the last few years? Is he just keeping the seat warm for Thibbodeau? Who cares? Finally the excuses are all gone. If he wins; great. If he doesn’t; he’s gone. Simple. If we are looking for a coach next offseason, coaches will line up around the block to coach this group.
8. Can we really rely on Scalabrine to be a rotation guy? Why not? It isn’t like we’re asking him to do a lot. He’s not going to need to be a scorer. He needs to defend, hustle, and provide the proverbial "intangibles" that role players provide on good teams. And if he doesn’t, all he costs us is a roster spot and $3M. I’ve never, ever understood the uproar over his contract. What free agent have we missed out on because we had Brian Scalabrine’s salary on the books? I rest my case.
7. Will Tony Allen be 100% by tipoff? No. There, now that we’ve cleared that up, what’s the more reasonable question? How about "when can we expect to see Tony Allen at his best again?" Nobody knows, but we all have to come to grip with the fact that the answer might be "never." We might have already seen the apex of Tony Allen’s career. When I saw him crumple on the floor, the first thought in my head was "that’s it, he’s done." Since then I’ve let myself become much more optimistic, but as of right now, anything we get from him is gravy. And anything we get from him before Christmas is a miracle.
6. Brandon Wallace vs. Jackie Manuel: Ok, it was fun watching Wallace in Summer League. It will be mildly entertaining to watch each of them in training camp. Still, we are talking about the last one or two spots on the team here. Unlike in prior years, guys like that aren’t going to see any time this year. Maybe, just maybe, if they stick around and practice hard and outlast the veterans, we’ll see one of them get some time next year. But this is a contending team. When was the last time an undrafted rookie played for a title contender his first year in the league? Hey, I’m all for it if they prove me wrong and turn into contributing players. Just don’t hold your breath.
5. Reggie Miller, Allan Houston, Dikembe Mutombo: None of them will be Celtics. Probably ever. They were great players in their time and it is nice to be a destination free agents want to land with, but enough already. Is anyone still upset that we "settled" for James Posey instead of Miller? Do we really need another shooter like Houston? I like Mutombo, but something tells me Pollard will be a serviceable backup to Perkins.
4. The Ref Scandal: Yes, this is a big deal. Yes, it should be addressed for the good of the game. Sure, I’m in favor of more transparency in terms of how things are run with the refs. Still, I can only dwell on this subject for so long before I get bored and annoyed. This is the kind of topic that stopped me from listening to Mike & Mike in the morning. Media guys like that love to get up on their high horse and condemn, condemn, condemn. Blah. Enough already. I’ve always believed that the refs are doing their job the best when they are completely forgotten about. Please just do your job and let me forget about you again.
3. Al Jefferson: I will miss him and I am the one that has posted not one, but two posts lamenting the loss of my favorite young player (ever?). With that said, he’s gone. He’s in Minnesota now. He’s Mark Blount’s teammate (for now). He’s yesterday’s news. Of course, the counter argument to that is that he’ll be tomorrow’s news once KG is old and creeky. So what? For the next 3 years (barring injury) Kevin Garnett will be the better all-round player. Book it. I will not lament this trade ever. Even if it doesn’t work out, you have to take that shot. You don’t put the kibosh on a trade because of something that might happen 4, 5, 6 years down the line. A lot can happen between now and 4 years from now. A Championship could happen in Boston during that time. That chance alone is worth the trade.
2. Injury concerns: Ok, so more than half of the team missed more than a handful of games last year. So our big 3 is on the wrong side of the big 3-0. So what? Veterans miss time. It happens. Teams deal with injuries. They happen. If someone goes down for a while, we’ll have to make do until they get back. If we lose one of the star players for a long time, we’re hosed. That goes for every single team in the NBA. That’s life.
1. Rondo Can’t Shoot: Stop the presses! Is this new news or something? Did it stop him from having a solid rookie season? Did he somehow lose his speed, quickness, vision, and defense in the offseason? So what if his teammates are better now? Doesn’t that mean his job will be easier? If you have Pierce and Allen on the wing and KG in the middle, do you really need Rondo shooting from the top of the arch? Do you even want that? Maybe Jim O’Brien would have no use for this kid, but this team will use him just fine.
Well, I feel better getting all that off my chest. Now I’ll try my best to avoid these subjects for the rest of the month. Let’s see how long I can last – I’m putting the over/under at 2 weeks – Tim Donaghy will take your bets now. All bets are off if we sign a point guard or someone drops a piano on their foot.