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Wednesday, August 1st, 2007 at 12:05 am  |  122 responses

Links: The Atlanta Celtics?

Boston may have loaded up, but will KG, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce learn from the past?

by Lang Whitaker

An Eastern Conference team was in trouble. They had their franchise player, a bona-fide All-Star small forward, and they had tried surrounding him various combinations of capable NBA players. But they were never able to fashion a contender. This team could have rebuilt from the ground up, but instead they decided to roll the dice and try to load up with proven vets.

So they went out and got probably the best big man in the NBA, He was a little older, sure, but he had plenty of rebounds and defense left in his legs. To bolster the perimeter, they made a trade with a team on the West Coast, bringing in one of the best pure shooters in the NBA, a guy who had been recognized more so for his off-the-court activities than his on-court skills.

I am talking, of course, about the 1988-89 Atlanta Hawks, who imported Moses Malone and Reggie Theus to play along with Dominique Wilkins. What happened? The Hawks went from second in their division to third and got knocked out in the first round of the Playoffs.

What the Boston Celtics have done this summer isn’t exactly identical to what the Hawks did back then, but it does strike me as very similar. Obviously, Paul Pierce is not as dynamic offensively as Nique was, but he’s a better outside shooter. What they have in common is that they both need the ball to be successful. I know, someone will argue that Pierce is a much better passer than Nique, but last season he averaged just 1 more assist per game than Nique did before the Hawks reloaded. Ray Allen reminds me a lot of Reggie Theus, both handsome ballers with reps in Hollywood. (Though Reggie Theus would probably kill to star in a Spike Lee flick.)

The biggest difference is between Moses Malone and Kevin Garnett. Moses was more of a classic, back-to-the-basket center who banged around down low and padded his rebounding totals by missing layup after layup and grabbing his own rebounds. KG is way more versatile than Moses, and I also think he’ll be more willing to fill a supporting role than Moses ever was.

What I do like about the Celtics loading up this summer is that the Celtics are taking a chance. They had a shot to get one of the best players in the NBA, and they went out and snagged him.

But what I don’t like about the Celts making this move is what it says about the Celtics franchise right now:

1) The Celts are wishy-washy. They claimed for years they were rebuilding, said they were going to renovate from the ground floor up. They then went about collecting a crew of young players who, with the exception of Al Jefferson, have mostly underperformed. Sebastian Telfair, Kendrick Perkins (last season: 4 ppg, 5 rpg), Gerald Green, Rajon Rondo…all of them are nice, but none of them are true NBA building blocks. Not yet, at least.

2) Just because the Celts changed strategies and got Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, it doesn’t change the fact that Danny Ainge has been below average at judging talent thus far. And not just with rookies, but with NBA vets he’s brought in and had to ship back out (Ricky Davis or Wally Sexyback, anyone?).

When the Hawks made those moves back in ’88, for basketball fans in Atlanta it was like a lightning strike. All of a sudden, people were excited. I was so pumped that I even went out and bought one season ticket up in the top of the stands, spending my own money that I’d saved from doing yard work. I went to almost every game that year, and while it was fun at first, things started disintegrating and by the time the Playoffs rolled around, I knew it would take a miracle for the Hawks to make the Finals.

They didn’t even come close, and we all learned a lesson from the season: You can have the best players in the NBA on the floor together, but in the NBA it takes a team to win Championships. The Celts are stacked now, but I’m not convinced that having three ultra-talented players is going to be enough to win the East, much less a Championship.
Just ask the Hawks point guard that season, who I’m sure must remember the way things fell apart.

His name?

Doc Rivers.

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  • http://www.rubensborges.wordpress.com Rubens

    Lang, all I can say is that a friend of mine, whose nickname is Paul (cause he looks just like Paul Pierce) is going crazy with that trade. He’s a Wolves fan btw…

  • JpT

    2nd.

  • http://none johnny

    good point Lang. But i feel that there’s a conspiracy going on here..McHale ex-boston..hmmm..

  • http://www.slamonline.com Gerwin

    Comparing KG to Moses, Pierce to Nique and Jesus to Reggie Theus? Nice one Lang, but I have to disagree on the fact that you compare them to the 88-89 Hawks. KG comes in with a hunger for a ring. The same can be said about Ray Allen and Pierce finally will be surrounded with other superstars who even outshine him. That could be a problem, but it will probably work out. 88-89 Hawks? No Lang, 05-06 Heat would be a better comparison. Nice one though!

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    How the f*ck are the Celtics wishy-washy when they made the biggest, boldest moves of the offseason? Also, neat trick turning a bunch of underachieving youngsters into a pair of All-Stars in their respective primes (even if it’s the tail end of same). And lastly, when Moses Malone was acquired by the Hawks, he was older than the OG Moses (you know, the guy with the Red Sea, the Ten Commandments and all that).

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Russ, Moses was one year older than KG is now when the Hawks got him. I didn’t say it wasn’t a good trade for the Celts, just that it goes against everything they said they were doing the last two years. The Celts will be better than they were last year, and heck, they might even make the Finals. I just hope KG, Ray and P-Double can each play 45 minutes a night. And Russ, were you at that game with me in Jersey a few years ago when Pierce went for like 48? I think it was a bacon game.

  • http://www.garrettelliott.com Garrett

    Why aren’t other teams making moves like this? Why isn’t Cleveland busting up the headlines with movement and trades, trying to support LeBron (they DID just make it to the Finals)? How about Phoenix? Good on Boston for taking a chance on the now.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Lang, I remember that Moses trade like it happened yester.. wait, I was only 7 never mind. I’ll take your word for it though. The only thing I remember about the Hawks was that I had a crush on Nique. He’s a handsome fellow. Now.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Let’s let one these legendary under-achievers stand up, take the team by the reigns and will this group to a title. As we have learned from a b-ball lovers point of view, there is no real “killer” among them, otherwise there would be a ring on one of their fingers already. And without a bench, (they really have nothing, Big Baby playing backup minutes to KG zzzzzzzz) they will struggle with any team that goes 8 or 9 deep solidly. And realistically, if they were to get to the Finals, can the really beat any of the top teams in the West? Questions, questions, questions.

  • http://www.myspace.com/mikebone Simmy Sosa

    Lang, can we start the weight-watch of the off season? I must know who is gaining/loosing that trademark 15 pounds.

  • http://hotmail XXGuevaraXX23

    oh hell ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Too early for 15 Pounds Of Muscle ’07 to begin just yet. Right now is when guys are putting on that last 5. Don’t worry, I’m all over it.

  • butter

    …ok, looking at the Wolves roster now,
    Kevin McHale is expecting to start at 5. YEAH!!

  • Jose

    well homeboi got a point ,u have 3 nba all-stars in 1 team that are used 2 being revolved around basically ,egos might get in the ways pretty soon and history has a way of reapeating itself

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    All of you should be in the bed. Except Russ. Jes-Moses, man do you ever sleep?!

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Lang: Wasn’t that the game when he scored like 40 in the second half? For some reason I don;t think I was there. It all becomes a blur at some point anyway. And yeah, I sleep sometimes.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    And white: You REALLY think these guys should have rings by now? None of them have had a proper second star on their team yet (and please don’t give me Antoine Walker, Latrell Sprewell or Rashard Lewis). I don’t see why they can’t win a ring (or two) in the next three years. Well, provided no one gets seriously hurt and they get someone to come off the bench.

  • http://www.artofbball.com Madtice

    There’s probably something else you should point out about 88-89 Hawks and these new and improved Celtics. The teams they’re up against:: Knicks with Ewing, Barkley’s 76ers, the Celtics of Larry Legend, MJ’s Bulls, the Bad Boys of Detroit and the Cavs didn’t have a superstar, but at least they’d had a lot of talent, instead of one big one. Off course, you could argue this didn’t matter at all, since the Hawks never got to play any of these teams. They were eliminated by the Bucks, coached by Del Harris and starring Terry Cummings, Ricky Pierce and Jack Sikma… But the point being, all through the season, the East was way better than it’s now. It was legendary, if you look at those teams…

  • Dan

    Impressive move by Ainge, albeit a potentially disasterous one. I partially agree with the claims of unselfishness made by all three during KG’s introductory press-conference, but something is amiss. It is absolutely impossible to expect that each of them will be willing to lower their offensive productivity by 4 or 5 points to win a championship. It’s far too unrealistic. All three of them say what fans want to hear, but secretly think that they have to step-up a little bit more than the others in order to win. This will be the trio’s demise. All of the attention that they have come to expect from being franchise players will have dissapated, and they will be, as Pierce stated, like rookies again. Couple that with the fact that the media will be constantly trying to dissect them to figure out who is the “best” of the bunch and I smell a disaster waiting to happen. Looks like Minesota may prosper more than Boston afterall and Danny Ainge may be looking to file for unemployement come February.

  • http://backcourtink.blogspot.com bootlace

    Lang, I might be wrong but it just sounds like you’re bitter that the Hawks didnt do something like this. “Building for the future” is the most overused piece of crap cliche in basketball. Draft picks are uncertain, young players’ skills are uncertain, whether those players will stay is uncertain – a team should only have to ‘build for the future’ if it has no shot at anything anytime soon. However as we saw, the Boston Celtics have gone from the 2nd worst team in the NBA to the most likely team to be in the NBA Finals, so everyones got a shot. Thank you Ainge for having some balls and leaving that group of GM’s who hide behing the ‘building for the future’ cliche for their failures.

  • solid snake

    what will be ray’s jersey number?

  • Steffen Herder

    Gerald Green is free finally!

    http://www.squidoo.com/GeraldGreen/

  • http://www.friendster.com/sesa Sesa

    Who’s going to defend the perimeter?

  • http://www.myspace.com/linkstigatorkevin Kevin Wilson

    Who came up with Wally Sexyback? That’s awesome.

  • http://basketball.org.nz Tim Dennis

    They have inside outside and mid range covered on offense just need the defensive side of it now..
    Cant wait for the season to start..

  • black superman

    they should trade pierce because his a selfish bithc… and get themselves some backup for kg and jesus

  • whooo!

    those 3 guys are good enough to make it out the east if cleveland was able to! a ring on the other hand is a whole nother story. as a spurs fan, i’d love to see a spurs-celtics finals, to at least flesh out the duncan-garnett potential rivalry that never amounted to anything meaningful but stats comparisons.

  • SchW

    I think that it all comes down to outside shooting. We all know that KG has that unstoppable turnaround move around the basket and when he will be double teamed he will just kick the ball out and Ray Ray and Pierce are one of the best outside shooters in the game. So it is all about their egoes and unselfishness… but the other thing is they should use a good point guard. If anything this will cost them finals or a championship ring…

  • Andrew

    how will Lebron feel about all this? Does anyone here think Lebron will improve from last year?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyNMz_LxEoA Boing Dynasty

    Q: why is Peirce holding up a jersey?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Lang, you were with me for the Paul Pierce shooting exhibition. And it was a bacon game, which makes it doubly impressive.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyNMz_LxEoA Boing Dynasty

    Also it will be fun to watch the extra Garnett/Bosh matchups. It really is one of the more entertaining ones.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    In respect to your headline, RIP Wallace Prather.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyNMz_LxEoA Boing Dynasty

    Is that the game were PP hit a turn around walk off 3?

  • Aussie Pride

    Think of the posibilities of a KG/Curry/randolph matchup. Jesus will get extra match security from Attica while visiting his Dad

  • Alex

    I don’t think this is a good move for Boston. Al Jefferson is a double double machine and he is young, he is going to get even better. Green also has a good potential. They had a very good team bringing in Allen. Why KG? Don’t get me wrong he is a great player but Boston doesn’t need him. This is a mistake by Boston in the long run. I think Minnesota did a great job. They are not going to do a lot this year but they now have a young and good team to build on. If they get a good free agent on the next years loaded free agent market they will be a force.

  • http://kb24.com Bigi

    Kobe must be PISSED right now…Other teams are actually doing SOMETHING…

  • Silky Slim

    Comparing Reggie Theus to Ray Allen is a bit of a stretch. I’ve followed the NBA for many years and when the subject of best shooters in the NBA’s past and present comes up, Reggie Theus’ name isn’t mentioned. Ray Allen’s name is mentioned, not Reggie Theus.

  • Silky Slim

    I think the addition of KG and J. Shuttlesworth is enough to win the Leastern Conference. It may not be enough to win the title, but it’s enough to win the East.

  • Silky Slim

    Didn’t the Miami Heat do the same the a few years ago. Shaq, Payton, and Walker. Miami already had Wade and he’s the reason why they won the title, but Pierce’s game is similar to Wade’s.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Silky Slim, just to comment on what the Heat did to win a title, they added Walker, Payton, Posey and Eboy to the team that already had Shaq,Wade & Haslem. That is actually a seven person combination not the three-for-all the Celts have done. Hopefully the Celts can find someone to run the team from the point because as the Heat have learned this off-season, point guards are hard to come by. And Brevin Knight is not scaring no one.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Hey, I like Three For All as the nickname.

  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    No one’s mentioned it yet, but is Doc Rivers really the best coach for this team now? He’s decent at developing young talent (witness the Magic a few years back), but does he have the cajones to handle these egos? Think Phil Jax is not signing an extension to maybe make a run with these guys and stick it to Red’s legend at the same time? That would make the ’08-’09 season all by itself! Trust.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne
  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Why is it unlikely that these guys would sacrifice a little offensive production to win a championship? They’ve all already gotten individual glory and mega-contracts—what’s left BESIDE a championship? At least in the beginning, Pierce should be the focal point on offense, with the ball running through KG on the high or low post, with Ray spotting up on the perimeter for kicks from Pierce or passes out of the double from Garnett. They should CLEAN UP in the East.

  • Allenp

    I’m glad somebody called out white hot eboy on the underachieving comment. I don’t know how you can call any of these players underachievers simple because they don’t have rings. Lots of players don’t get rings. REggie Miller, John Stockton, Karl Malone, Allen Iverson, and plenty of other studs don’t have rings and it doens’t mean they have underachieved. Basketball is a team game that requires team talent. Very few teams can win rings with just one great talent, and those teams typically have outstanding coaches (Popovich).

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Allenp, I’m calling everyone else out using that analogy due to the fact that none of those name’s you mentioned could get past Michael and the Bulls. Completley different brand of basketball was played just 10 years ago. And meeting Michael at the summit was sudden-death. The last 10 years have been shi**y and with the exception of the 3 peat Lakers and the win one/lose one Spurs, there has been plenty of opportunity for a good team, not great, to get to a Finals, let alone win one. And are you saying that the Spurs only have TD? Parker isn’t a top flight point guard? Ginobli doesn’t have his own niche in the league? Check yourself, Allen.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Let me clarify my statement by saying that in the East, Boston had a chance to advance and didn’t do it and besides the Pistons underachieving, there has been no “dynasty” type team in the East. KG had his shot against the Lakers and failed and Ray, well he get’s the pass because the Sonic teams he played on were sorry.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    ?

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Max, if the question mark is aimed at me, my posts were responding to the “new” big three’s underachieving. If you’re in the postion to get to a Finals and don’t do it, you have underachieved. If you lose a Finals you have underachieved. Dirk and the Mavs and the current Suns are the great underachievers in the league right now. Real good teams that can’t take the “Final” step to greatness.

  • whooo!

    eboy, it might not have been one dynasty since mj retired, but think of it as the shaq/tim duncan era. every single finals has had one of em in it.

  • whooo!

    oh, you can’t tell jason kidd he underachieved by making the finals 2 straight years and losing to shaq 1 year, then duncan the next.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Whooo!, you’re 100% right. But with the exception of the 3 straight Lakers titles, every other year has not had a crystal clear favorite, so every decent team had a chance to make a move to the top and yeah the Spurs have done that better than everyone else.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    Only two teams make the Finals every year. I just think we have different definitions of underacheiving. In my mind there need to be actual expectations placed on a team for them to fall short of them. I havent expected anything out of any of those three squads since 2003.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    And they all were literally two games away from the Finals at some point in their respective careers. Losing to a better team doesnt make you an underacheiver. It just means you lost.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Whooo!, will Jason Kidd be remembered as a big game champion or as a really great also-ran? I think the later. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But in professional sports, that just how players are received. If you’re not a champion, you’re looked at in a different light. Believe me, I know. I cheered for Dan Marino for 15+ years and he’s viewed a step lower than Elway, Montana, Favre, etc. It sucks.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    So…because KG and a load of crap couldn’t get past a) Shaq and Kobe, and b) Tim Duncan and the Duncanaires, that makes him an underachiever? I’m going to COMPLETELY disagree. Ditto for Ray Allen and the Dysfunctional Family in Milwaukee and the load of nothing he had in Seattle, and Paul Pierce plus the Ghosts of Celtics Past in Boston. These guys were all stuck on pretty bad teams for various reasons, and I wouldn’t be surprised AT ALL if they were in the Finals next year.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    And Jason Kidd singlehandedly turned one of the worst franchises in pro sports history into a Finals team. He’s a champion–I don’t care what his ring finger says.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    Can I just say that this trade bothers me only because of the abundance of Celtics slurping we can expect from Simmons next year? Im still happy for you though KG…

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    And nobody disrespects the Kidd. Top 5 dead or alive…

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    KG should take out a pre-emptive restraining order against Simmons just to be safe. Hell, he should have it written into his damn contract.

  • Cuban be

    Lets face it, this makes the Celtics a lot more exciting then they would have been. Personally, I’d much rather see the Celtics play with their current roster then as it was before the trade. True, Al Jefferson would have been nice to keep, but losing Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff and two first-round draft picks really isn’t that bad. The Celtics would likely blow the picks, like the T-Wolves will surely do. I was watching ESPN the other day and Skip something (his last name eludes me) said the T-Wolves would be in the playoffs in two years. Thankfully, Steven A. Smith, the best basketball analysts on TV, was there to make Skip eat his thoughtless words. God bless Steven A. Smith.
    Oh yeah…Almost forgot…check out Kendrick Perkin’s page on ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?statsId=3730 That dude is big, and with more playing time his numbers should surely blossom.

  • whooo!

    jason kidd will be remembered as one of the greates pg’s of all time. like russ said, he turned around the laughing stock of the league. he OVERachieved by taking teams that were completely outmatched, but ran into TWO of the greatest big men to ever play the game. in the closing game of ’03, duncan nearly gets a quadruple double, while k-mart goes 3-24.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Boys, it’s not disrepect, it’s fact. Their all great at their spots, but THEY ARE NOT CHAMPIONS. F*ck champion in spirit. EVERY player with half a game can make that claim. That just lumps the actual champions into a big ball unfairly. And I’m not saying a Steve Kerr or a Jason Kapono is better than any of those great players because they have rings. But the focal point of championship teams HAVE to be looked at differently for simply getting it done when it mattered. Fair enough?

  • whooo!

    and it’s not like kidd was capable of guarding those guys either. he did everything he could and was torching the other teams. and had he signed w/ the spurs he’d have at least 2 rings, JUST by joining that team in ’04. those finals highlighted the dominance of shaq and duncan more than take anything away from kidd.

  • whooo!

    eboy, when you say it like you just did, it’s a whole lot easier for me to agree than calling kidd an underachiever. guys who led their team should be held in higher light, but without having to take away from the others who couldn’t win. sometimes the loser just lost to the better player/team.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Teams, yes. You can’t take away anyone’s rings. But is, say, Stacey King SERIOUSLY more of a champion than Jason Kidd just because one rode Mike and Scottie’s coattails to a piece of jewelry while the other gave EVERYTHING he had just to drag a franchise to the Finals? F*ck outta here. And not “every player with half a game” can make that claim. I’m talking about a VERY select few. Kidd. Patrick Ewing. Elgin Baylor. Stockton & Malone. Barkley.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Russ, read other people’s entire posts before you post with such fire and brimstone. I pointed that out a few posts ago when I said those types of players don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    I hate Stacey King so much. He actually denied me and my boy an autograph when we were kids at MJ’s basketball camp. And yes, he was actually eating at the time.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I just don’t think a piece of jewelry determines the value of a player.

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    What about a rapper?

  • dez

    Darko’s a champion. His ring finger says so. His game says otherwise.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    lmao at Max.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    But yes, the guys who LEAD THEIR TEAMS TO CHAMPIONSHIPS are on a higher plane. Bird, Magic, MJ, Shaq, TD. Only a slightly higher one, though. Lots of factors determine who wins a championship and who doesn’t, and there’s a lot more to it than talent and heart. Guys like Kevin Garnett and Jason Kidd have every single attribute of a champion–except for the ring.

  • RV

    i still think they’re a decent center or pg away from being a top team in the east…they need some back up help also, teams dont get to the finals anymore without a good pg or center, or both (except for the bulls)

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Russ, ie: my Marino comparison.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    And Dan still made zillions of dollars, got a cushy announcing gig and wound up in the Hall of Fame. He’s easily a top-10 (probably top-five) QB of all time. Does anyone REALLY think he’s a lesser QB than, say, Jim Plunkett, just because ol’ JP won a ring and Dan Marino didn’t? Championships are a terrific AFFIRMATION of greatness for players who are already known to be great, but that’s about it. In my opinion.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Russ is old school.

  • Froggiestyle

    good god, the only bright side if you’re a minny fan is it takes ALL the pressure off – ie. ZERO expectations with that line up – no hope but to rebuild in a year or 2 or 3 or….. WTF did McHale do? Is he still a Celtic after all?

  • Drer

    hmmm..so, whose Bruce Bowen going to defend on the perimeter against the Celts? Oh..this is going to be good!

  • Adam

    Any Twolves fan that’s upset with the trade is senile. They got a ton of assets and have so much room to blow up this team for rebuilding. Also, white hot – what is wrong with you? Reaching The NBA Finals is not an under achievement. The Nets and Kidd? you must be joking, they made two great runs but just were not good enough against the West. The Mavs, yes they underachieved. The Suns, that’s debatable. By their own expectations, obviously they did – but to many in the general public i wouldn’t agree. The Spurs and Mavs were just as heavily favored.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Russ is cool….and well-spoken. Nice attributes if you got ‘em.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I’m just not a morning person.

  • whooo!

    russ, i do think rings help set players apart, but it requires the players to be in comparable situations, which is often rare. ex: hakeem took his team to 2 rings, which set him ahead of robinson and ewing who both had good teams. i think multiple rings prove it moreso than 1 ring does.

  • whooo!

    or stickin w/ my spurs, duncan isn’t compared to kg cuz dude’s team has been so much better. but you compare him to c-webb and dirk and the difference is HUGE b/c of the rings.

  • http://nba1986.blogspot.com john marzan

    yeah lang, but this is not the old eastern conference. A 52 win team can make it all the way to the finals in the east.

  • http://getgarnett.com Reggie Evans

    Boing – funny comment about PP holding a jersey!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Top 5 teams in the East next year

    1. Chicago. They may not have a go to guy but they have so much talent 1 through 10 that it doesn’t matter as much as we think. And trust, i’m a fan of go to guys and that whole mentality. I just think with the way they play d and how much athleticism they have, plus rebounding, plus perimeter scoring galore, plus skies’ tenacity. that may be enough.

    2. Miami. A healthy, pissed off and very motivated Dwade is a problem. Plus Shaq is well, Shaq. Him and Zo still dominate the paint and intimidate. This is a prideful team and guys aren’t gonna forget about getting swept. For them its all about Wade’s health because when he’s on they have enough. Age non-withstanding. Do not sleep.

    3. Boston. They still need to work the kinks out but they have a shot. Three hungry, not yet too old, hall of famers is nothing to sneeze at. It really depends a lot on what they get outta Rondo.

    4. Detroit. Still good, Flip just has to start using his brain. But i still respect that core and their young dudes look promising. If they’re not up to par by Jan 1st, then flip, you don’t have to go home but you have to get the hell outta here.

    5. Cleveland. Lebron makes them legit. Now lets see if GIbson’s play in the postseason was a fluke or the real deal.

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    Khalid, as much as this pains me, I think the Heat lose the divison this year and maybe get the 6th spot. If they get the 2 spot, I’ll retire my SLAM name and cease posting here. Which I’m sure people would be happy to see. Ryan, I’ll be waiting for the response on baited breath.

  • Old School Baller

    Defense wins championships. Do these guys have the ability and the willingness to defend well enough to compete for a title? Until they actually do it on the court, they will be nothing more than paper champions . . . shoulda, coulda, woulda.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Lose it to who? orlando? washington? not likely

  • http://whitehoteboysworld.blogspot.com white hot eboy

    What about the Bobcats? Alright that’s a stretch but if Shaq takes his normal 20 game mid-season vacation and if D-Wade uses him player card for a long layoff and if my namesake gets the urge to sit, you see where I’m going, right?

  • http://yahoo.com DP

    Man have I been sleep for a minute. I shun myself from the basketball world for one freakin week and all this stuff happens! KG to the Celtics with Ray Allen and Pierce? That is a contender in the East in my opinion. Of course they need a point guard but they can probably get someone to come up to Boston and pass the ball all day. I just wish they didn’t trade Big Al(Mississippi stand up!!!!!) but he will be the next star for the Timberwolves and I can put everything I own on that. It feels good to be back and too the swing on things in the basketball world. Thanks for all the updates slamonline. play wit it.

  • hansosword

    Another point is that unike Moses in the 80′s, KG really has no competition at his position. Who’s going to stop him? JO? Sheed? I think we can all agree that he probably tanked the last few seasons ( by his standards), after the Spree/Cassell disaster. With a little fire this guy could still be the MVP of the league.

  • Steve O

    If the C’s sign Brevin Knight, a completely pass first guard ( he has no jumper) to come in and distriute the ball it could be a wrap for the East. I know Dwade will be itching to prove himself but that shoulder injury is a b*tch to come back from, and he’ll never be back at full strength. Two of my boys had the same surgery and they still have shoulder problems. I like the C’s as the early favorite, partially because I’m a C’s fan but also because those three, on paper, in the East, should be be monsters.

  • DeLa One

    Straight off the top I wanna just let everyone know, including Lang and Russ, that there is NO ONE ALIVE with more SLAM mags than me. Period. I have bought them every month since LJ 1 and have recently purchased those stupid multiple cover months online for collectors purposes. (I hate those!). Lang, you dont need me to tell you that you’ve wrote some dumb things in the past, and I wont embarass you with examples, but to look at the KG/Ray Allen moves in a negative light is stupid! This is BIGGER than the moves of a few years back getting an aging Malone and a clearly past his prime Payton (obviously I’m referring to the Lakers moves NOT Moses, I wont even waste a comment on that comparison), these guys posted HUGE numbers last year and each have the competitive nature including the hunger of being a one-man-show on lottery teams recently (sorry Rashard, its true!) to bring them together is beautiful. 60 plus wins. Its time to think positive, right Lang?

  • Tim

    None of them have underachieved, their teams just were not that good. i mean underachieving is what Dirk did, never has Kevin or Ray been on a team like that and lost in the first round.

  • http://www.mitchpapineau.com Paps

    Raptors are better and deeper.

  • JB21

    Michael Tillery: If you were smart you would realize there is no way the Celtics can jack Andre Miller from the Sixers, just not possible. Who are they going to trade? Do the players remaining on the Celts roster even make a combined 5 million?

    Raptors will finish higher than the Heat, don’t sleep on them. They play together, Andrea is another year wiser. Bosh is KG in a mirror, Parker is legit, Kapono will do as he’s told and hit 3′s from the corner. We have 48 minutes worth of awesomeness at the PG spot. This team is very good.

  • http://TheStartingFive.wordpress.com Michael Tillery

    JB21 I was truly being sarcastic. My hometown team’s front office hasn’t done anything to properly represent one of the most traditional franchises in the NBA…hence Andre Miller getting jacked because of stupidity. I’m more hot that the Sixers stood pat and let the Knicks and Celtics create optimistic playoff possibilities.

  • http://yahoo.com Domo

    LANG.. JUST BECAUSE YO HAWKS R WEAK AS HELL.. N WILL NEVER SMELL THE POST SEASON, DONT B HATING ON THE CELTICS JUST BECAUSE THEY GOT STACKED. GURANTEED FIRST ROUND ADVANCE. SUCKA

  • niQ

    Bulls had 3 good players.. jordan, pippen and rodman.. if u look at the rest of the team on celtics.. they COULD contribute.. tony allen.. if he comes bak from injury could be the next scorer.. . rondo will probably get some more assists this year.. and they just got house.. (but i think they shoulda picked up knight)

  • tike

    Dude i cant even read Lang Whitakers stuff he f*ck my mind up so bad all that guy does is talk about the Hawks or comparing the Hawks to other team and other deals just shut up!! please!…

  • Art

    yo, a lot of good teams this year on the east side. this is going to be a great season to watch this year.

  • Holiday

    Everybody on the Celtics just got a little bit better, everybody know’s Garnett makes everybody around him better, and I don’t just mean he loosens up defense, and discourages players from driving to the basket but his passing, his leadership, and the examples he sets on the court!

  • Holiday

    And having two guys that can shoot the lights out from just about anywere free’s him up inside as well as he gives them a second option when driving to the basket! I’m not sure who’s playing point but I bet Billups and Mo Williams might have thought twice about resigning if this had all happened a month ago!

  • Holiday

    Laker fans, look out the Celtics are a couple of decent role players away from extending there Championships lead just a little further outta reach, but it probably won’t happen!!!

  • Holiday

    Oh and maybe the Raptors are “better and deeper” but these guys are more experienced, and more importantly “hungrier and more desperate”

  • Harlem_World

    *shaking off the rust* They should all be able to play each other, and Fingers should be going ALL out to get Brevin Knight. If they stay injury free, they should be right there first year. Much as I like Shaq and Wade – that boat has gone, and Riley knows it. I like the Bulls depth, but am not a believer of Ben Gordon to be that consistently clutch go-to-guy they need to get them over the hump. Loul Deng is probably their best overall player, and I don’t see his game as complete yet. He’s young and as he matures, so go the Bulls. For now, it’s wide open for the Celts – Lebrons rise to another level still, not withstanding. Oh and all this talk about Al Jefferson??? Get the eff outta here! KG/Al Jefferson? Damn, I must have been gone too long…

  • lebron :D

    the team celtics this season whe are te champions the NBA ….BEACUSE shopp garnet and ray allen …..the best team boston

  • Arne John

    @Lang:
    You even can have the best (individuel) ballers of the world and dont’t win a damm gold medal. Because not only in the NBA it takes a team to win it all.
    Great article as always.

  • ktokyo

    All I can say is… that conclusion was money! Nice work, Lang.

  • James

    This may be the best deal Boston has pulled off in a while. The biggest difference between Boston’s trio and that of the Hawks, is that this new trifecta has meshable skills and WANT to work together. There arent gonna be the nights where KG is missing on purpose to pad stats. or the on court arguments. This deal has most def put Boston back into the elite

  • Holiday

    Well don’t forget about the Nets, cause if there at full strength with no injurys they shouldn’t be over looked! And I know the Bobcats haven’t been really any kind of force but I kinda see them like the Clippers a few years ago, plenty of talent but unaware how to use it!

  • Holiday

    I’d say if the Celtics have anything left to give they should try for Bibby, but they probably don’t!!!!

  • dblizzy!

    Bibby? That’d be the extra cook spoiling the broth right there. They need a pg that distributes, not one who comes of ball screens and pulls up all day.

  • greener

    lang… pls don’t relate the celtics org to the hawks organization… besides..its the eastern conference… if not this year..next year to tweek the lineup and role players

  • Wally Sexybiak

    Great piece Lang!!! ;)

  • GSSTAR

    OK IF THEY FIRE DOC RIVERS AND TAKE A TRUE COACH, AND A STARTING PG THE COME DIRECTLI TO THE EASTERN CONFERENCA FINALS…
    DOC RIVERS IS NOT ABLE TO WORK IN THAT LOCKER ROOM…

  • http://truthismygame.blogspot.com/ truthismygame

    great article Lang.. when this trade was confirmed, all i could imagine was the Boston Celtics ownership group jumping up and down in glee – over the next 3-4 years, regardless of what happens, they’ll be raking in enouuuugh money off of this trade.. in terms of success on the court, i think Rondo & Perkins will do enough to support the 3 superstars if they are all relatively healthy (for 70+ games each) but who’s gonna come off the bench?!@# Eddie House is a great addition and I like Tony Allen’s game, but neither are consistent or durable performers – not to mention both of them make questionable decisions on the court.. in all, Ainge managed to salvage his job, despite doing a really sh*tty job to date.. with the current Boston Roster, i’d be surprised if they were anything more than a 43-45 win team. anybody know if the rumours about Mutombo have any legitimacy? Boston definitely still needs to add a couple veteran pieces – one center and one more reliable swingman for when either Pierce or Allen are out..

  • Big_Hoop_Dogg826

    Well, as a true fan, I think the Boston “mega deal”, was to bring the NBA fans back home……to the east coast. With the #1 & #2 going to the pacific northwest, come on this was a desparate move by the League, to keep their fan base. I’m happy for KG, but at what cost does it leave his new team???No bench!!!! With Oden and Durant playing in the rainy part of the US, this will help NBA tv sell more packages for their cable viewers.((Just to see them???))Not!!! Ain’t nobody staying up, until 1am to watch them {{except me}} Beside there is more on the West coast, than LA……. Kobe is very unhappy,{again} becuz he ran away the best thing he had in LA, Shaq!!!! { A word to the wise, please stop the comparsion between MJ & Kobe, Kobe might find himself in Charlotte, just to be close to MJ, yeah right!!!! I’ll burn my season tickets} Let Kobe sink where he is in the Golden State. Speaking of the Warriors, they will have a short lived life, after beating a Dallas team, that was clearly believing what was said about them, ” they will be the next Champs!!!” but they forgot they had to play the games first, to do so…Sorry Dirk.{Here take this MVP trophy for your troubles} San Antoino, the boring Champions, will take it again, if Phoenix, doesn’t have a complete meltdown, in their front office.((Leave Amare there, get him some help in the post!!!)) Kevin Mchale had to sollow all that money he gave KG, but couldn’t put anything around him, now he helps is old buddy out, Danny Ainge, by sending KG to resurrect the east… Sorry Lebron. Whatever the “real” reason is, David Stern is no fool. He is hoping that all this off season activity, will pay off.{which it should} And that sorry excuse for a ref, who likes the refs anyway???? San Antonio would have still beat Phx!!!

  • liam

    the celtics could definitely win the title this season.

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