Chris Frangolini Journal Contributor
Call me old fashioned, but I believe in the good old days when basketball was not a monopoly. Now-a-days, players go to big markets with big budgets, forming powerhouses like Los Angeles and Miami. With today’s mindset of basketball it’s obvious that teams with small markets, like Oklahoma City, despite their brilliant draft success, will never lure a big name free agent. Basketball used to be based on fundamentals and teamwork, not just pure talent. That’s not the case for the 2012-2013 Boston Celtics.
The Boston Celtics are the definition of a basketball team. Don’t let their 3-5-preseason record fool you. They are well coached, and have two first ballot Hall of Famers in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. They also have potential up and coming rookies from this year’s draft class with Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger. The Celtics are a fundamentally sound team and organization. And with the guidance of 14-year captain Paul Pierce, the Celtics will look for him late in the game. Look for Pierce’s minutes to drop somewhere between 25-30 minutes a game during the regular season, so that we can nurse our leader to the playoffs. The same will go for the aging Kevin Garnett, who will also see a significant drop in minutes from last season (Last season Pierce averaged 39 minutes a game, Garnett 37 minutes).
With Ray Allen abandoning ship the Celtics acquired Courtney Lee and Jason Terry, whom are more than capable of replacing Allen’s 10.7 points per game last season. Although Allen had that killer quick release from beyond the arc, Lee, Terry, and Avery Bradley provide depth at the shooting guard position.
In order to achieve the ultimate goal, banner 18, there are some things that need to be done. 1) When Rajon Rondo is at his best, the Boston Celtics are at their best. 2) Doc needs to manage the minutes of the aging veterans to the playoffs. Even if it means losing some games, just get to the postseason. 3) Pierce needs to live up to his nickname as “The Captain” and knock down clutch shots, late in game situations.
The original Big Three are broken up, but expect a new leader to take control of the floor. With his pinpoint precision passes and brutal crossovers, Rajon Rondo will continue to build on his reputation as an elite point guard. Avery Bradley is ready to develop into a Dwayne Wade style shooting guard. While not as killer as the Miami guard, Bradley has the ability to penetrate the post as well as knock down a deadly three. Rondo just got himself a rearmed set of weapons to be dropping dimes to.
When looking at the playoff path, if the Celtics manage a top four seed, the bottom teams in the conference will not pose much of a threat. Taking into account Chicago’s injury problems, New York’s playoff troubles and Brooklyn’s newly formed team, the biggest threats are of course Miami, Indiana, and Atlanta. Boston’s experience and depth is bound to give any of these teams a run for their money and take Miami to the edge. It will not be an easy run, but with proper management, the Finals are closer than we realize.
The Celtics open up the season on the road, in Miami, on October 30, 2012. Look for a physical game, and for some kinks that will need to be worked on throughout the season. Last season we were a game away from making the finals, this year is our year. I AM A CELTIC.