Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011-2012 NBA Preview #15: Boston Celtics

Greetings... Let me just preface this one with the statement of the fact that this is a regular season preview in a shortened 66-game season... yes...

Roster Breakdown (Starters in Bold)
  • PG - Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley
  • SG - Ray Allen, Keyon Dooling, E'Twaun Moore
  • SF - Paul Pierce, Marquis Daniels, Sasha Pavlovic
  • PF - Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, JaJuan Johnson
  • C - Jermaine O'Neal, Chris Wilcox

General Thoughts

If you couldn't figure it out by my disclaimer at the top, I'm a bit low on the Celtics' prospects this season compared to what I've seen elsewhere. The big four returns in full force and that is never a bad thing, but after that, it's a bit sketchy. Rondo was dragged through various trade rumors, and I think there has to be a level of concern about his temperament going into the season judging by the fragile psyche he's displayed in the past. He's certainly a top-flight PG, and that isn't changing, but they need him to be absolutely elite. Ray Allen doesn't seem to age, Paul Pierce is as tough as it gets, and I absolutely love Kevin Garnett, but with a 66-game schedule including a ridiculous workload, I certainly believe that the ONLY goal for this team is making the playoffs (i.e. resting these guys). The loss of Jeff Green is absolutely huge (prayers for him) because of the age of Pierce/Garnett as well as the lack of quality depth after Green. Marquis Daniels was nice last year pre-injury, but he's never healthy and between him and Pavlovic being forced to play big-time minutes, that strikes fear in C's fans' hearts. Also, it can't be overstated how unsettled the center situation is. Jermaine O'Neal is only 33 years old, but that's 33 years old with "straight from high school" mileage, and he hasn't been the same in years, and Chris Wilcox was a move I understood for depth, but he's not a guy you want to rely upon for an extended period of time. I have a big-time respect for what this core of guys has done, but as far as the 2011-12 regular season, I don't see a big-time number of wins simply because I think Doc is smart enough to realize the stakes and the closing window of the vets. In a playoff series, there is NO way I'd pick them to lose to at least 2 of the teams I'm picking ahead of them (Indy and Atlanta), but there it is.


Health. As stated above, this team absolutely can't afford an injury to any of the core guys. Prior to the Green loss, they were already a shallow roster, but losing any of the big four an extended period of time with this bench (as constructed) would be a disaster.

Predicted Finish

7th in the East

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