No Kevin Garnett means no safety valve for the defense. Mistakes made on the perimeter won't be covered up by superior rotations and instinctive dominance anymore. You can replace KG's offense but not his defense.
Of course KG won't be KG forever and the rebuild had to start sometime. Just don't expect the defense to be A-OK anytime soon. Stevens and assistant coach Adams are sure to cook up some good defensive schemes but they can only do so much. You need the right personnel and you need bigs that can control the paint.
Jay King offered his insight into the defensive challenges the Celtics face.
As Kris Humphries noted following the loss to Brooklyn, this year's Celtics are trying to compensate by "over-helping." Stevens has noted several times how he wants guards to chip in on the glass, and that will assist some. But ultimately, the NBA's best defenses almost all have big men who can snuff out the pick and roll and limit interior success. Boston doesn't really have that. Sullinger's an underrated defender who generally works angles well, but he's not explosive enough to act as a real impediment to opponents inside. Brandon Bass is quicker on the perimeter and tough to beat in a one-on-one setting, but he doesn't have enough timing or height to be a top-notch help-side defender. Kelly Olynyk, Humphries and Vitor Faverani all have their issues too, so Stevens is tasked with trying to hide many flaws. No frontcourt combination provides an obvious answer to Boston's interior woes.
One of Danny's big to-do's in the next year is to find a way to bring in a legit big man that can be a difference maker in the middle on defense. Till then, we'll just have to make due with what we've got.