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SI Scouts Take on Boston Celtics

My favorite part of the SI preview issue is the scout's take on each team.  They even release more material on their website than in the magazine itself (presumably for space reasons).  So here's the link to the full scout's take with a few quotes below (and my reactions).

They talk quite a bit about Rondo, basically putting our title hopes on him - and I find it hard to argue with that.  They also put him in the next tier down of point guards (after Paul, Williams, and Nash but with Rose) but they do say that he has the talent to get into that first tier.  Not surprising that they call him out on what everyone does, his shot.

Rondo isn't the greatest shooter, but makes up for it with his quickness and penetration. It is just so hard for a defender to stay in front of him. They may back up and give him the jump shot, but that doesn't stop Rondo from penetrating to score for himself or to dish to others. You can't stop him even when stacked up against his drive. His shooting has improved, which is a necessity because the defense gives him gimme jumpers. Now he can make those shots when left open.

Nice to hear that the scouts are seeing an improvement.  (For more on Rondo's shot, CelticsHub takes a long look at his progress).  Personally I think Rondo's commitment to defense and rebounding make up for his lack of a jumper but I think it will take a while (and maybe another ring?) before the rest of the world sees it that way.  Personally I don't care where people rank him, I'm just glad he's a Celtic.

Next: Kevin Garnett - Yes, he's fully recovered, but that doesn't mean he's getting younger.

Garnett is in the same position as Tim Duncan: The days of 35 minutes and 80 games are over. The Celtics are like the Spurs in that they don't view the regular season as all-important, because they feel they can win on the road in the playoffs when they need to. I could see this being the year when they give Garnett a night off on a back-to-back and monitor his minutes strictly. If they can win 55 games while protecting him, that would make a lot of sense.

Here we go again, talking about limiting minutes.  It is a necessary precaution of course, but I guess I'm just hoping that we can rest him naturally with a rotation of able big men rather than what we went through last year.  I hope it will be a lot easier to let him sit when he's given us a good few minutes and the starters can give the bench a little cushion to work with.

They make a good point about Garnett being a good benchmark for expectations about Perkins.  We saw how Garnett wasn't the same last year and we probably shouldn't expect Perkins to be back to normal till the playoffs at the earliest.

Scouts aren't too concerned with Ray dropping off yet (too conditioned and mentally tough) but Paul Pierce is another story.

I think Pierce may be the guy whose game suffers the most as he gets older. He's always created his offense by being more physical with a smaller guy or more agile than a bigger guy.

Obviously I hope they are wrong about that one, but the guy does get banged around (getting to the line in the process) every year and that has to take a toll.  Still, he's always been more crafty than quick, so I think what he loses in a step he'll take back in savvy.  Well, at least I hope so.

They go on to discuss the bench (they aren't that impressed with the O'Neals but like the Delonte pick up).  Agree or disagree, it is great to hear the take of a guy that is paid to evaluate players for a living.