Fix-A-Team: The Boston Celtics
Danny Ainge…this is where you really earn your paycheck.
“Fix-a-Team” identifies team’s key strengths and weaknesses, opportunities to get to the next level, and key threats to ascension. You will recognize this as a SWOT analysis. Today, we review the 2010 Eastern Conference Champs, the Boston Celtics.
by Eddie Maisonet, III / @edthesportsfan
The journey that the Boston Celtics took us on was one that exuded a since passion to do one thing. Win. But these Celtics are now officially old. Let me take that back…these Celtics are old as hell. Is this the end of the “Power Move Celtics?” (The name I’ve given them since their Celtic alumni strong-armed other teams to get Garnett and Allen.) You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers.
Aside….I never said these answers were the “right” answers…but I digress.
Boston’s Big Three aka “The Three Musketeers” of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce are as talented of a triumvirate as any in the Association. Plus, the Celtics’ newest star, Rajon Rondo aka “D’Artagnan,” brings a totally different skill set and youth to their team. Also, Boston has one of the top 4-5 coaches in the NBA in Doc Rivers, whose focus and mindset is perfectly suited for this assembly of players.
Look, we know what the weaknesses of the Celtics are. Let’s count them out.
1. The Celtics are old.
2. Their scoring big men do not like playing in the post.
3. The Celtics are old.
4. Rajon Rondo can’t shoot.
5. The Celtics are old.
6. After Rondo, there isn’t an influx of young talent on the squad.
7. The Celtics are old.
8. Boston has shown the tendency to blow 2nd half leads.
9. The Celtics are old.
Here’s the other problem with Boston, besides being old, as of July 1 Jesus (Shuttlesworth, look I know we all know who I’m referring to but I wouldn’t want the man upstairs reading this and getting confused, because the REAL Jesus would never be a…) is a free agent, and Doc Rivers isn’t sure if he’s coming back in 2010 due to his kids all growing up. How does Danny Ainge replace them?
Even with the assumption that the Celtics do sign Ray Allen for a two-year deal that would expire when KG’s contract is done; you’ve got to put some extra bodies on this squad that can make a difference. Here are a couple of ideas:
1. Sign two swingmen, one who can shoot and one who’s a great athlete – Two trends I noticed about Boston’s bench while watching the finals against the Lakers: 1) The best shooter coming of the bench for Doc Rivers was Nate Robinson. 2) Outside of Big Baby, there’s no one who can get them easy buckets and makes a ton of hustle plays.
This team missed James Posey in the worst way the last two years, but I think there are players you could get to fill this void. Flip Murray would be a great addition to Boston. (Plus, with as many old men there are on that team, doesn’t there need to be someone named “Flip” on the team anyway?) Great streak shooter and has versatility with his ball-handling and ability to play multiple positions. Also, could you get someone like Travis Outlaw to sign up? Good athlete, plays defense, and can do a bit of everything?
2. Sign a Point Guard – Because of money reasons I don’t see Nate Robinson resigning with the Celtics, so their best option could be to find one in free agency. This seems like such a minor thing with the uprising of Rondo, but the one thing we learned in the Finals is that Rondo is a supreme liability. If you could get a PG who’s smart with the ball and can knock down open shots…they’d be golden. Think of someone like Steve Blake, he’d be perfect.
3. Draft Wisely — The Celtics are going to need to develop some talent at the wings and down low. James Anderson from Oklahoma State would be a great add to Boston as he could learn the proficient skill of Allen and quirky-ness of Pierce, while maybe drafting a big like Florida State’s Solomon Alabi could learn the goon-like mentality and postgame brilliance of KG and ‘Sheed.
With the oncoming threats of New York, New Jersey, Miami and other Eastern Conference teams due to the “Summer of ‘10”, Boston is in no position to make any major signings, plus like I said earlier Ray Allen and Doc Rivers are no guarantees to stay with them moving forward. Someone throws enough cash at ‘em…who knows.
I personally think Boston’s finished pending the recovery of Kevin Garnett’s knee. He’s only a year away from his knee surgery, and most knee injuries take two years to fully recover from. If he comes back with a vengeance, then the game is totally changed but…are we willing to bet money on that? Will Ray-Ray resign in Boston? Ummm…. Will Doc Rivers return in 2010? Ahhhh…. I’m not. Do we believe that Rondo can get a 15-foot jumper in to his arsenal? Ehhh…
Only the folks who wear the Gang Green actually know. We’ll just have to find out, but we’ll never forget what the Celtics gave us this season, and any free agent should remember the drive and passion they played with before others make the decision to just sign with a team.
Eddie Maisonet is a freelance sports writer, blogger and big time hoops fan from Oklahoma who currently resides in Cincinnati. Keep up with Eddie at SLAMonline as well as his blog Ed The Sports Fan and on Twitter.