The University of Maine student newspaper since 1875
home
Monday, Nov. 17, 10:59 a.m.
Sports

Celtics offseason moves line them up for another NBA Championship

Arguably the biggest news for the Boston Celtics this offseason was the loss of Ray Allen. Even more, the all-time 3-point leader went to the Miami Heat. However, I actually saw the Celtics get a little better over the summer.

The addition of Jason Terry alone could make up for missing Ray Allen. Terry, a former Sixth Man of the Year, is much more comfortable coming off the bench than Allen and can still be a threat to get to the basket. Also, Terry can hit the big shot to take the pressure off Pierce — something Allen used to do.

I’ll miss Allen as much as the next Celts fan, but why would you want someone who doesn’t want to be there and would be upset for filling the role of sixth man? The locker room had enough problems because of Allen and Rondo’s disagreements.

The addition of Courtney Lee brings another scorer off the bench. Lee, along with Terry can fill the void that Allen left behind and are accustomed to being role players.

Another plus to the Celtics this season is the fact that Avery Bradley earned a spot in the starting line-up last year. He has some experience starting and has only gotten better since he has been in the league. If Bradley continues to improve on offense to go along with his already stifling defense, he’ll be pretty dangerous with point guard Rajon Rondo in the backcourt.

The new contract Jeff Green signed got me thinking about what he can do for the team this season, too. If he can stay healthy, I think Green will be another force for the Celtics. He can guard players like Lebron and Durant. He can shoot and get to the basket as well. Hopefully he has been shaking off the rust from sitting out last season. I expect a big contribution from him this year.

Let’s shift to the Celtics big men. I was hoping the Celtics would trade up to get Doc’s son Austin Rivers, but that particular wish just didn’t come true. Instead, general manager Danny Ainge used his two first round picks on some strength and size.

I like the picks of Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo mostly because the Celtics re-signed Garnett. The experts said Sullinger is a “poor mans” Glen Davis, but I disagree. Sullinger has more scoring ability and if he didn’t get injured I think he would have gone higher in the draft. If he can stay healthy and get some experience he can be another solid role player for the Celts.

I especially like the pick of Fab Melo because the Celtics desperately needed height, and hopefully he and Garnett will work well together and he’ll learn from KG. If Garnett helps him with his defense Melo will be a nice addition to the front lines.

Another player I’m excited about this year is Brandon Bass. He often goes unnoticed despite always doing the right things on both sides of the ball. Sure, Bass is a little undersized as a power forward, but since arriving to Boston from Orlando, he has improved his defense. He truly is a hustle player, and with Sullinger at the power forward position, the Celtics should be solid.

The Celtics lost to the eventual NBA Champion Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, despite their 3-1 series lead. It makes me wonder what would have happened if they closed out the Heat. Could they have taken advantage of the Thunder’s inexperience and been NBA Champs again?

I think this season will be another big year for the Celtics. For the past few seasons everyone has been saying they’re done because of their age. Although they are getting older, I saw a really good team add some depth and size this offseason.

They have a young backcourt and two new rookies to help out with defense and rebounding. Let’s not forget the bench players I didn’t mention. Chris Wilcox and Keyon Dooling, although older, add even more experience to offset the new youth the Celtics gained. And if the Celtics get Mickael Pietrus back he just adds even more depth to the Celtics bench.

I didn’t mention stars Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, but let’s be honest, do I really have to? We all have seen Rondo get better and better each year, and hopefully he can shoot all year like he did against the Heat in the playoffs.

If Pierce can stay consistently healthy, he can do what he has always done for this team and come up big in the clutch, no matter how old he is.

Garnett, despite his age as well, is still a defensive guru and can still hit from anywhere inside the 3-point line. He’s going to be a mentor for these new Celtics big men and will get them playing defense the right way.

As I said earlier, Ray Allen to the Heat was disheartening to say the least. But he’s going to Miami — where he won’t start — just to try to get another ring. Ainge added enough players to fill the gap and nothing would be sweeter than the Celtics beating the Heat in the playoffs next year.

Besides the Heat, I don’t see any other team in the east beating the Celtics in the playoffs. The Knicks continue to disappoint despite their star power. The Pacers keep getting better but have little to no experience when it comes playoff time. And the Chicago Bulls refuse to give Derrick Rose the help he’ll need to get a championship. Noah, Deng and Boozer are good, but I haven’t seen them step up in the playoffs. Even if Rose was healthy in the playoffs, I didn’t see Chicago beating Boston or Miami.

The Celtics exceeded everyone’s expectations last year, almost beating the Heat to get to another finals appearance. So, let’s not write off the Celtics quite yet — give it another year.