Many of you were kind enough to send me some mailbag questions. Below are my humble responses. (Sorry I didn't get to all of them)
Your questions in green, my answers follow:
Walter McCarty: Which of the starting 5 are you most worried about?
Jermaine O'Neal is the first guy to come to mind but I'm doing my best to set my expectations low on him and hope he is a pleasant surprise. So I'm going to say that my biggest concern is Kevin Garnett. His intensity is so off the charts that I don't know how he's going to cope with fading into averageness. He's so important to the team defense and if his lateral movement falls off any more, I'm worried about one of his veins exploding.
emmanem: Given that Danny has already essentially set the Celtics up for the summer of 2012 as the "Year of Rebuilding", who do you think he guns for in both the draft/ free agency at that time? Who's available and who does he keep with the current team? Rondo is a lock, but what about Perk, Baby?
There are any number of ways that Danny could approach the summer of 2012 mostly due to three large variables. 1. How the team performs this year; 2. How long the lockout lasts (assuming it happens), and 3. What the new CBA looks like.
You can't rule anything out at this point, but I don't think we'll see another South Beach scenario happen again - even if Carmelo plays out his contract and becomes an unrestricted free agent. What seems infinitely more likely to me is Ainge waiting till the lockout shortened season and trading most of (if not all) of his expiring contracts for big salaried players who's teams can't afford them under the new CBA (Igudola? Bogut? Ellis? Lee?).
Juan: Why didn't we draft James Anderson (the best shooter in the draft) instead of a hurt Avery Bradley? He can fill the 2 or 3 position. What is the reasoning behind that?
At the time that had me scratching my head as well, especially since Ainge loves shooters. With that said, he preaches best talent available and he obviously thinks Avery's defense will help us more than Anderson's shooting.
Coach Thibs: "How would you compare the current celtics at each position with the '08 championship team?
Other than being better at center after Big Perk returns, I think they're notably worse at every position including their bench....and coaching staff. But feel free to discuss amongst yourselves. "
Well, they are better at point guard if only because Rondo is more experienced and more in control of the offense (and taking fewer chances on defense). Ray, Paul, and KG have all lost a step, so I guess you have a point there. Marquis is a step down from Posey as well. With that said, I think Nate is a step up from Cassell; Delonte vs. Eddie House might be a wash; Glen Davis is better than the platoon of rookie Baby and Powe; and you already mentioned the depth at center. But that's just my opinion.
Master Po: "Assuming you have to choose one of the four choices which would it be and why.
1.) A ride across country in a nice limo (with driver, food, drink etc...) with just you and Red Auerbach (let's assume he is still alive) in which you guys could talk for three or 4 days about everything from basketball to life lessons. Memories for a lifetime.
2.) The same exact ride across the country with Bill Russell and a check to you in the amount of $50,000 (tax free)
3.) The same exact ride across the country with Marquis Daniels and $100,000 tax free but he doesn't talk much.
4.) A complete and extremely irritating stranger who never shuts up on the exact same 3-4 day ride (but no limo) for $250,000
You have to choose one...which one and why? "
I'm a man of morals, but I'd ride across the country with Kobe Bryant himself (and his ego) for $250K. Of course I'd have to wear all my Celtics memorabilia and I'd bring my copy of "Let Me Tell You A Story" to pass the time.
Doc Cesar: How do you think Bill Russell or Tommy H. would coach today's Boston Celtic Team?
Well of course Tommy would implore them to RUN RUN RUN! But both are clearly disciples of Red and they would want to make sure that the veterans on the team had as much input as possible. That way they feel invested in the gameplan and lead by example. It also lets them read and react to situations on the fly.
Hal Jordan: Hey Jeff -- what do you think has been the Celtics organization's biggest mistake of the Big 3 era? Also, who do you predict will be the C's next star?
Good question. I find it hard to argue with much of what Danny has done considering the success he's had, but I think the relative inactivity after the 2008 Championship season was a mistake. I'm not sure bringing Posey back would have helped (and with KG out it may have been a moot point anyway) but we seemed to tread water that summer (at best).
As for the next star, the obvious choice is Rondo of course - though you could argue that he's pretty much already one at this point. Everyone else on the team has already been a star or seems destined to support player status.
Omar.garcia: "what are we going to do when the HEAT throw us the pick n roll with wade on 1 side and james on the other i really cant think of anything except try and take a charge because they have enuff shooting - any ideas?!?!!"
Well, hopefully we can either hide Shaquille or give him a towel to wave. Hopefully KG will be healthy enough to blitz the screen with those helicopter arms of his his. Hopefully we can keep our rotations crisp and force them to pass as much as possible. And hopefully they miss more than they make. That's about it.
DJ_Khaos-305: How do you think the starters for Boston and Miami will match up? Providing Jermaine starts instead of Shaquille (which I am finding highly likely), we'd potentially have the advantage at the 1, 4, and 5, and a tie between Pierce and James. Do you think that Dwyane Wade will continue to shred Boston for as many points as he did throughout the playoffs?
I love Paul as much as anyone but I'm not going to give him the tie with LeBron unless Pierce is playing at max capacity and James is having a case of the Game 5's. Also, at some point (maybe this year) Bosh is going to pass KG in terms of overall effectiveness. Shoot, that might have happened last year if not for Bosh's disinterest in defending. But all of this is a little silly anyway. I don't put much stock in the tale of the tape. The Celtics team defense will have to stop the 3 headed South Beach monster. Likewise, they are going to have to stop our offense. Whoever does a better job wins.
JayBee: If the Celtics players were to be Sesame Street characters who would be what character?
For example..The Count- Ray Allen..how many threes? A-one, A-two, A-three... And so on.."
Funny you should mention it, I did that in November of last year. Maybe I'll do an update for some of the new guys sometime this summer.
jester4theday: Do you think garnett would still be a part of the "Rondo Era" as a reserve?
Rapster: "What will be the roster will look like if the C's will build around Rondo and Perk?
Lots of questions about the future. Wish I had better answers but I don't. Assuming Ainge sticks around for another rebuilding effort (no guarantee) I think he'll try to trade his assets for good value. One option I haven't mentioned before is the value of being under the cap enough to take back more salary than you send out. In 2 years (in theory) we could trade a 2nd rounder for a guy making $11M a year.
I don't think Ainge wants to rebuild slowly (through the draft, picking up assets to later flip for stars). He'll either make it happen or hand the team off to someone else with a relatively clean slate.
OUMAISCOMIN: Which are your all time least favorite Celtics ??? Here are some ideas: Todd Day, Vin Baker, Mark Blount, Gerald Paddio and, of course, ´Sheed Wallace........
There aren't a lot of Celtics that I really, really disliked over the years, but Mark Blount will always hold a special place in my doghouse. I can forgive a lot of things, but that guy simply took the money and stopped working. No excuse for that.
Matt G: When do you think Doc will ultimately leave
I honestly think he's done in Boston after this year. He'll take a year or two off (watching his son rise up NBA draft boards) and then he'll be able to pick his next team and ask whatever price he wants. He'll be the hottest coaching candidate in years. Its a good life but he earned it over the last 3 years.
Thanks for the questions everyone. This was fun. We'll have to do it again sometime closer to camp.