1. Something to look forward to (or not) – TrueHoop’s Zach Harper cautions that point guard isn’t the best position to make the focal point of your team’s offense. Which is fine and all, except, umm, isn’t Rajon Rondo going to be the C’s undisputed star in a couple years?
Harper listed starting point guards who have won championships in the last 20 years, and it’s not exactly a list of All-Stars and MVP candidates. Ron Harper, B.J. Armstrong, Jason Williams, John Paxson and Avery Johnson have all won rings as starters, and only Chauncey Billups and Tony Parker would be classified as All-Stars from the list. (Rondo himself won a title, but he did so as a fourth option before blossoming into an All-Star.) Unless you count Billups as the 2004 Pistons’ best player (and Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace and Rip Hamilton all contend for that title), no point guard has led his team to a championship in the past two decades.
So are the Celtics in good hands for the future? It all depends on whether Rondo can buck the trend.
2. Jermaine O’Neal loves Boston – In describing the Celtics to Slam Online, O’Neal said, “It’s hard to explain the chemistry that we have.” He continued an attempt to describe the unexplainable chemistry, eventually settling on, “It’s definitely an honor and a pleasure to be involved in something like this.”
O’Neal likens the C’s depth to his Portland Trail Blazers days, back when O’Neal backed up Rasheed Wallace, Arvydas Sabonis, Cliff Robinson and Brian Grant. “Most teams you’re on you’re gonna dominate the guy that’s backing you up or the guy that you share time with,” O’Neal said. “But here it’s like, OK, let me get stretched. Let me make sure I’m ready to go when Doc says let’s go.”
O’Neal knew playing for the Celtics would be good when his friend Rasheed Wallace told him he should sign with Boston (don’t say Sheed never did anything for the Celtics), but it’s still been “five times better” than he bargained for. “You look at the point in my career where the chapter’s coming to a close, and if I had to pick a group of guys to close it with, this is it right here.”
3. Lasme’s chances looking excellent – Doc Rivers told ESPN Boston that Stephane Lasme has an “excellent chance” to make the Celtics’ opening night roster. If he does, that’s fine with me — Lasme has been the best candidate for the 15th spot, by far — but I’m disappointed Von Wafer hasn’t looked good. Lasme’s been a surprise, but Wafer’s more talented. And if Wafer has his head screwed on straight (something that’s a problem for him), he’s better than Lasme. But potential only matters if you can live up to it, and so far Lasme has spent the entire preseason kicking Wafer’s ass in every way imaginable.
4. The Celtics should take the regular season easy? – Ball Don’t Lie’s Kelly Dwyer writes that the Celtics could possibly win 60+ games this year, but it might kill their postseason chances.
“This team has heart you wouldn’t believe, and a deep if incredibly old roster,” Dwyer wrote. “You’d be right to expect the same white hot start we’ve seen from the Celtics in every year since 2007, but what happens if the team sustains it? What happens if mercurial types like Nate Robinson and Delonte West, both entering their prime, win a series of games for the C’s during the team’s typical January-March swoon?
“What happens if Kevin Garnett, for one last time, keeps it up all season at 31 minutes per game, as was the case in 2007-08? Then Boston could finish with 60 wins. Perhaps more.
“They’d fall apart like Elwood Blues’ car at the end of The Blues Brothers in the first round, but at least the regular season would be special.”
I’m fine with the Celtics pacing themselves, if they at least turn it on by the end of the season. No more 3-7 record in the final ten regular season games, like last year. No more 27-27 record through the season’s final three months. They can coast until the All-Star break, but turn it on after that so the machine is humming come playoff time. Last year’s Celtics tried to prove that the regular season doesn’t matter, but with almost every other team in NBA history, it does. As Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers have said, last year was the exception to the rule, not the rule. I wouldn’t expect the C’s to once again be able to flip the switch come May.
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