Re: Celtics starting 5.
posted at 9/1/2010 9:50 PM EDT
In Response to Re: Celtics starting 5.
[QUOTE]In Response to Re: Celtics starting 5. : No, you don't get off that easily. Did you count Perk, or JON? Doesn't matter: Rondo 25 Nate 25 Fisher 36 Blake 30 Ray 34 West 27 koMe 32 Brown 27 Pierce 33 Daniels 27 Ron Ron 30 Barnes 30 KG 34 Davis 25 Gasol 30 Perk 25 JON 31 Shaq 38 Bynum 22 Ratliff 37 Not seeing how you're younger - sorry, just not seeing it!
Posted by hedleylamarr[/QUOTE]
The Lakers are younger at four out of the five starting spots. The key players, and driving force of the Celtics team is where the age is, and of course they didn't get any younger. Even the most casual of fans knows that the Lakers window of contention is bigger than the Celtics specifically because of the likely decline of those key players, well, except you. Hence the title of the OP, "Celtics Starting 5," not the scrap heap peripheral players you refer to in that sorry attempt to twist reality.
A little ESPN insider for your enjoyment.
With the most highly anticipated free-agency period in NBA history in the books, ESPN Insider is surveying the new landscape of the Association this week. Chris Broussard examines what changed for each team and what issues still linger, before ranking the teams from No. 30 to No. 1 for the coming season.
6. Chicago Bulls
The more things change: For weeks, the Bulls appeared to be the front-runners in the LeBron Sweepstakes, but they had to settle for Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer and Kurt Thomas. It's not as bad as it sounds, though. Boozer gives the Bulls what they haven't had since the days of Bill Cartwright -- a big man who's a bona fide low-post scorer. And Korver is the knockdown 3-point artist Chicago has been longing to put next to Derrick Rose. Brewer brings more athleticism, and longtime banger Thomas, one of the last of a dying breed, adds toughness. Ballyhooed Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau takes over on the sidelines, assuring that the Bulls will be much stronger defensively. The longtime assistant also has experience on the offensive side of the ball, but questions remain about his game management, multitasking and player relations skills, all critical components for a head coach. Moving the 12 inches between the assistant's chair and the head man's chair is a huge leap. We'll see if Thibodeau is up to the challenge.
The more they stay the same: The Bulls missed shooting guard Ben Gordon, now a Piston, last season, and they'll miss him again. Fact is, the Bulls don't have anything close to a 2-guard to be feared. Brewer would seem to be the starter, but he'll be outclassed most nights. Korver is a specialist who will be a defensive liability. Clearly, Chicago's hope is that the team is so strong at the other four positions that it can get away with a middling shooting guard. But that position has become a powerhouse around the league, so the Bulls' lack there could hurt.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder
The more things change: The Thunder like their first-round draft pick, Cole Aldrich, believing he can become something akin to Kendrick Perkins. We don't agree; Aldrich is very likely to be a stiff. But that still won't halt the Thunder's rise. We like the addition of Daequan Cook a bit more. Though he took a major step back last season, Cook is a legit 3-point threat who should strengthen OKC's bench. Ditto for Morris Peterson.
The more they stay the same: Conventional wisdom says the Thunder are just too young to reach the Finals, so they're probably one year away from being a legitimate Western Conference contender. All this team needs is time. How much Serge Ibaka improves and builds on last season's strong playoff performance is huge for the Thunder. If Ibaka can become a legitimate starter, he could emerge as the big man OKC will undoubtedly need to be capable of competing for a ring in the future.
4. Orlando Magic
The more things change: Wildly busy last season, the Magic have done only small-scale tinkering this summer. But it could have large-scale implications. The loss of hard-nosed wing defender Matt Barnes will hurt, pure and simple. And the addition of backup (third-string?) point guard Chris Duhon will have minimal impact. Rookie Daniel Orton has promise, but he's a major project.
The more they stay the same: Vince Carter's wishy-washy play will only get more disappointing and inconsistent after a summer's worth of aging; Rashard Lewis' pattern of declining productivity in each of his three seasons in Orlando should continue; and summer spies say Dwight Howard hasn't been diligent about adding post moves to his sub-par offensive arsenal, so there's not much reason to believe the Magic will improve this season.
3. Boston Celtics
The more things change: Shaq is in, Sheed is out, which should bolster the Celtics' front line, particularly with the addition of Jermaine O'Neal and with Kendrick Perkins missing the first few months of the season due to a knee injury. But the athleticism and defensive tenacity of reserve guard Tony Allen will be missed. Defensive architect Tom Thibodeau is also gone, having become the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, and it remains to be seen if Boston's vaunted defense will be as strong without him.
The more they stay the same: Head coach Doc Rivers decided to return after nearly walking away and Nate Robinson's second season with the club could go even better than his first, since he'll be better acclimated to the Celtics' system and culture. But each member of Boston's Big Three will, of course, be a year older, and you have to wonder if a 35-year-old Ray Allen, a 34-year-old Kevin Garnett and a 33-year-old Paul Pierce can muster another title run. Rajon Rondo's improvement will need to be even greater to make up for the likely decline of the three stars.
2. Miami Heat
The more things change: What's new? There's not a soul on Earth who couldn't answer that question. In what could prove to be the most successful offseason in NBA history, the Heat turned themselves into not only an absolute contender but a potential (perhaps even likely) dynasty. Besides landing big fish LeBron James and Chris Bosh to run with Dwyane Wade, Miami did a tremendous job, with virtually no money to work with, of surrounding its three stars with solid role players: Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, James Jones, Eddie House, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Juwan Howard. If the Heat are smart (and who can doubt them after this summer), they will put LeBron at point guard and unleash him as the reincarnation of Magic Johnson. Bottom line: If James is as good as he's been advertised throughout his career, there's no excuse not to win the title this season.
The more they stay the same: Even though they added the 6-foot-10 Bosh, one of the best big men in the league, the Heat are still likely to be soft up front. That's fine against most teams but could be a problem against the Lakers, the Magic and maybe even the Celtics. Of course, that's been the problem in South Beach ever since 2007. Jamaal Magloire was once a roughneck, but for the past three years, he's been about as durable as a pair of Chuck Taylors, even though he's only 32 years old. Joel Anthony? He's only 6-9 -- and that's just one of his deficiencies.
1. Los Angeles Lakers
The more things change: For the second straight summer, the Lakers came off a championship and refused to rest on their laurels. Give them major credit; the additions of Matt Barnes and Steve Blake were excellent. Barnes will pay huge dividends if the Lakers meet Miami in the Finals, because he gives them another tough, hard-nosed defender (along with Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant) to throw at LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Blake is similar to Derek Fisher, only -- and this is huge -- younger. And finally, the league's biggest team got bigger, adding the fragile, but very capable shot-blocker, Theo Ratliff. The two big questions facing the Lakers are: (1) will Andrew Bynum be/stay healthy; and (2) will Kobe, in his 15th season, lose another step?
The more they stay the same: For a while, it looked like the Lakers would have to adjust to a new coach, but the most accomplished coach in NBA history, Phil Jackson, decided to come back for one more season (at least) and a shot at a fourth three-peat. The Lakers hope Bynum's history of injuries doesn't remain the same. If he can stay healthy, he'll be a beast and perhaps the difference in the Finals matchup we all want to see: Lakers versus Heat.