(Love these old-school Nike hoops commercials. They make you want to go out and play some pick-up ball.)
Jermaine O’Neal shit the bed against the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. I mean, really shit the bed. Like vomit-inducing stains all over his clean, white sheets.
Despite his poor outing, however, Celtics players were eager to add him to the family. (Boston Herald)
The key to going after Jermaine O’Neal may have been that he was the overwhelming choice of the players as the inside guy the club should pursue. This even after he shot just 9-for-44 against them for Miami in the playoffs.
This says a lot about the guys we have in Boston. One bad series didn’t alter their view of O’Neal. They have a collective goal and a vision of how to get there. Or The Big Three just wanted to add another player who’s been in the league for over a decade (next season will be O”Neal’s 16th, Pierce’s 12th, Allen’s 14th, and KG’s 15th).
But seriously, I’m glad Ainge listened to his players and signed Jermaine O’Neal. Because a me-first egomaniac like Shaq, or an over-priced a-hole like Brad Miller aren’t a part of that vision. The current Celtics have worked too hard to create a brotherhood, and if you can’t buy into Ubuntu, you don’t belong.
Not only is O’Neal a talented two-way player, but he should also fit into the Celtics’ system–both on and off the court.
O’Neal was always a low-maintenance superstar with the Indiana Pacers, despite playing with the mentally unstable (i.e. Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson). As his game aged in Toronto and Miami, he didn’t have problems transitioning to a supporting role for Super Friends Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
In a supporting role with Boston, he is the perfect fit. As long as he has some youth left in those legs–like the rest of the aged Celtics cast–he will be a great fill-in while Perkins rehabs, and an even better third big when Perkins returns.
Like Perkins, O’Neal’s role will be to rebound, defend, and finish plays. Before last season, O’Neal had ten consecutive seasons with 2 blocks per game or more; he has a career average of 7.6 rpg, and he’s a better finisher than Perkins, adept at using both hands around the rim, almost ambidextrously.
More important than the numbers or analysis though, the Celtics added another veteran hell-bent on winning a championship. It can’t hurt.