A. Sherrod Blakely writes that the Celtics’ offseason additions symbolize a change in philosophy. According to Blakely, gone are the days of lockdown defense and shutting down opponents. The Celtics will still focus on stopping teams from scoring, but realize they’ll have to score more points themselves to win games. (CSNNE)
The moves made by the C’s this summer signal not just a new season, but a new vision for success.
Instead of relying so heavily on defensive stops to win, rendering teams defenseless against an onslaught of shooters will likely be their modus operandi for victories this season.
When you look at the pieces added this summer and those that are no longer around, it’s clear the C’s are looking to outshoot, and not necessarily shut down, opponents.
The Celtics have lost their resident around-the-basket banger, Kendrick Perkins (right knee), for most of the season. Replacing him in the starting lineup will likely be Jermaine O’Neal, a solid defender but a definite notch or two below Perkins.
Rasheed Wallace has called it career for the C’s, robbing Boston of one of the more underrated low post defenders of the past decade.
And his replacement?
Shaquille O’Neal, one of the most dominant offensive players of this generation whose defense . . . is what it is.
The Celtics’ defense on the perimeter isn’t all that much better, either.
I respect the hell out of A. Sherrod Blakely, but I couldn’t disagree more strongly with his assessment. The Celtics lost Perkins… but when the playoffs come around he’ll be in the lineup. The Celtics signed Jermaine O’Neal to replace Rasheed Wallace… and O’Neal is an infinitely better defender than the Sheed we saw most of last season. The Celtics lost Tony Allen… but reportedly tried their hardest to keep him, and replaced him with two players — Delonte West and Von Wafer — who are known as solid defenders. Shaq sucks at the pick-and-roll… so Doc Rivers has spent the entire summer devising a way to hide that weakness.
The Celtics will still start Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo, two All-NBA-caliber defenders. When Perk comes back, there will be three All-Defense types in the lineup. The defensive mentality ain’t changing, folks. The Celtics are still going to shut people down. They’re still going to be out to take your heart and limit your scoring. My only concern is that the Celtics will miss Tom Thibodeau more than we realize.