Blog Entry

Preseason Primers: Celtics

Posted on: September 20, 2010 11:04 am
 

Ah, it seems like The Decision was only yesterday. This week, CBSSports.com will be rolling out our team-by-team training camp primers, which can be found here in the BergerSphere and in the informative, snarky, rollicking neighborhood known as the Facts & Rumors blog . I'm starting with the defending Eastern Conference champion Celtics. You know, the Vintage Big Three. (I'm so 2008.) In keeping with the cloak of secrecy surrounding the Miami Heat's training camp, you will need a security clearance to find out when we're dropping the camp primer on the South Beach version of the Big Three.

Boston Celtics

Training camp site: Newport, R.I.

Training camp starts: Sept. 28

Key additions: Shaquille O’Neal (free agent), Jermaine O’Neal (free agent), Von Wafer (free agent), Delonte West (free agent)

Key subtractions: Tony Allen (free agent), Shelden Williams (free agent). • Likely starting lineup: Rajon Rondo, PG; Ray Allen, SG; Paul Pierce, SF; Kevin Garnett, PF; Jermaine O’Neal, C.

Player to watch: Kevin Garnett. Getting the Big Ticket back to health is of no small importance for the defending Eastern Conference champs. During the Celtics’ surprising run to the NBA Finals, KG finally started to move around better and was able to log substantial minutes without any obvious consequences. Will Garnett ever get back the explosiveness that he possessed before his knees started breaking down? No way. But if he can lose the limp and get some of his lateral mobility back – which he showed glimpses of during the Finals – his impact on the Celtics’ success cannot be overstated.

Chemistry check: Under Doc Rivers’ leadership, the Celtics have been more adept than any team in the league at incorporating new (and mostly zany) personalities into an established locker room. If the Celtics can withstand the potentially disruptive additions of Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson and Rasheed Wallace, then bringing Shaq into the fold should be easy. But it’s worth wondering how enthusiastic O’Neal will be if asked to accept a secondary role – first to Jermaine O’Neal, and then to Kendrick Perkins once Perk recovers from his knee injury. Prediction: If Shaq didn’t make waves in Cleveland with the way Mike Brown underutilized him, there’s no way he causes trouble for Rivers. One thing about Shaq is that he respects those who’ve earned it. As for Delonte West: If anyone can harness his talents and help him get his personal life under control, it’s Rivers.

Camp battles: Boston has plenty of frontcourt depth. What Rivers will be looking to establish in camp at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., is a dependable backcourt rotation. Tony Allen, who became a defensive stopper of sorts during the playoffs, is a big loss. Rivers will be counting on Daniels, Robinson, West and perhaps someone who isn’t on the roster yet to give him quality minutes behind Rondo and Ray Allen.

Long shots: The Celtics recently worked out Adam Morrison, Rashad McCants, Cuttino Mobley and Trenton Hassell. There isn't much room at the inn, but it's a sign of how badly Boston needs some backcourt depth. Mobley, who has been cleared by doctors to resume his career after retiring due to a heart ailment, is the longest of these long shots.

Biggest strength: Experience. From the championship in ’08, to Garnett’s injuries, to Glen Davis’ shirtless, bloody fistfight in a moving car, to Rondo’s growth as the undisputed leader of the Big Four, to Perkins’ series-altering knee injury in the ’10 Finals, the Celtics have been galvanized by experiencing ups and downs together. Rivers’ decision to return for another season, coupled with extensions signed by Pierce and Ray Allen, has set the table for one more run with the Celtics’ core group before age catches up to them.

Glaring weakness: The glass-half-full version of the above says experience, exshmerience: The Celtics are too old for this stuff. But that’s what everybody thought last year when Boston played .500 ball from Christmas Day to the end of the regular season. At that point, my preseason Celtics-Spurs prediction for the Finals was looking about as dead in the water as the Celtics were. As it turned out, I was only half wrong. I wouldn’t advise counting them out until someone beats a fully healthy Celtics team in a seven-game series.


Comments

Since: Jun 12, 2009
Posted on: September 20, 2010 3:43 pm
 

Preseason Primers: Celtics

Kaptain Kaveman:
Although I think you are wrong and instead the Lakers will hang #17 in 2011, it pains this Laker fan to say that I would rather see the Celtics win rather than the Heat.  The Celtics are a battling, defensive, full of competitiveness team.  The Heat are a bunch of prima donnas who think that everyone is going to roll over for them.  If it comes down to the Celtics vs. the Heat, then I am saying "Go Green."



Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: September 20, 2010 3:41 pm
 

Preseason Primers: Celtics

The Celtics look good on paper but it is a long season. The Heat have a good team too but they have not been through a rough time yet and the Celtics have. With Doc Rivers guiding them this should be a good year for them . But i will say the Lakers are the team to beat. And the Heat are retooled to do some damage in the East. I want to see how well they do in the playoffs. They will be on cruise control during the season but the playoffs are something else. And Orlando will try to ruin someones party this year too.




Since: Oct 6, 2008
Posted on: September 20, 2010 3:12 pm
 

Preseason Primers: Celtics

Like THE ROCK said  "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT THE CELTICS DO"   The Lakers will still pwned them



Since: Jul 28, 2010
Posted on: September 20, 2010 2:46 pm
 

Preseason Primers: Celtics

Celtics Will Win   Banner 18  THis Year



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: September 20, 2010 2:39 pm
 

Preseason Primers: Celtics - adding west

adding delonte west:

did ainge do it to rattle lebron james? how hilarious would it be if the very sight of delonte west, coupled with KGs excessive amount of smack talk, can take lebrons head out of a potential playoff series? not because i hate lebron, but because i find it silly.

either way, there is a good amount of speculation and question about who wins the east and the title again. i really want to see durant and (dunk all over europes face) westbrook take it to 60 wins and become an elite team. those two are so sick, that i see it happenning next year ... but the miami dream team is crazy to even think about. wont touch it, but cant wait to see what happnes this season!!!





Since: Jul 26, 2010
Posted on: September 20, 2010 2:05 pm
 

Preseason Primers: Celtics

I think your dead on.....People counted them out Last year.....and they went to the finals....The only way to beat the Mia Heat is to control the Glass.....get every rebound......with Shaq,J Oneal,Perk, Big Baby and KG they can control the glass with any team......


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