C - Kendrick Perkins (injured), Jermaine O'Neal, Shaquille O'Neal
PF - Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis, Luke Harangody
SF - Paul Pierce, Marquis Daniels
SG - Ray Allen, Delonte West
PG - Rajon Rondo, Nate Robinson, Avery Bradley
Ryan: In my eyes..this is the standard of the East..this is the team to beat...and at the end of the day I feel that this Boston team will be returning to the finals this year (There....I said it). Rondo is still emerging and may have a chip on his shoulder over being "excused" from the FIBA USA team over the summer. The Big Three is still here... Allen,Pierce and Garnett need to be healthy for this thing to go but KG is the motor and from all accounts I've heard early, he's healthy again. And in a surprising move they brought in to fill the void left by Kendrick Perkins' injury from the finals. I think that he's an upgrade offensively and a bit of a shrug defensively. I don't know if you can account for ego but I'm sure Shaq will feel he needs more touches, blah blah..but I think that this vet team will quiet all of that. The bench is alot deeper this year where they only lost Tony Allen.. but they added rookie Avery Bradley, Jermaine O'Neal and Delonte West (who I'm high on). Mix in Nate and Big Baby... bam..thats a legit 10 (or 9) to go to battle with..talk me down here lol..
Brad: I'm really high on them too... the funny thing is... after the Perkins injury last year, they were empty of talent on the front-line... now they have too much? Perkins is supposed to return midseason, and they signed Shaq and Jermaine O'Neal (who everyone forgets about)... JO seems like the odd man out there... except they gave him the entire mid-level exception... explain that one... anyway, they are loaded up front, still have Pierce and Allen on the wing, and Rondo gets some help now with West coming back, and the rook Bradley being a lockdown defender when need be... I have them 2nd because I think they'll limit the Big 3's minutes (again), but in the end I'm with you on the East title thing... Care to explain how the frontcourt rotation works out down the stretch?...
Ryan: Well I can't..but I also can't predict drama either..I think that it'll work either way because Perkins won't be 100% right when he comes back... he'll have to work his way into the lineup.. and depending how he plays he'll get his minutes..he's a free agent after the year so it's not like there's a long-term ramification of not playing him..and JO is very benchable..they're trying to win so they can't be bogged down with little stuff like minutes when a ring is on the table...
Brad: I'm with you on all accounts... I just don't think it's out of the question for Shaq to cause havoc if he doesn't get minutes/touches, and there's a real possibility of that here... it helps to have the vets around him (mostly KG), but Shaq has submarined things everywhere he's been at some point... It's a small concern, and we're nitpicking here because of the roster... the only personnel question is pure age... Shaq/JO/Pierce/Allen/Garnett are all ancient by NBA standards and that doesn't go away... KG is the real key, he's supposedly looked limber/spry so far this year, and he had it going a bit down the stretch last year, but he's certainly not the same KG... It's a team that won't push it in the regular season, but they match up well with anyone in a playoff series, and with Rondo joining the elite, they have so many options... Prediction: 3rd in the East
Ryan:Uh I try not to look at the bombing of and the team he's with but you can't overlook it...Phx,Orlando,LA,Cleveland,Miami...right..all had issues somewhere.. history is history.. I don't think they push hard in the regular season either because of their ages but they'll be fine... just fine... Prediction: 3rd in the East