This morning, we have a special edition of our morning links. Jeff Clark from Celtics Blog has organized 76 different NBA blogs to participate in an NBA preview. Today, the Celtics are being previewed, and we’ll continue with the rest of the Atlantic Division for the rest of this week. This is a great idea for us to check out how the other teams around the league will be looking heading into the 2010-2011 season. This post will be updated throughout the day as other Celtics bloggers post their previews.
From Jeff Clark, Celtics Blog: What are the team’s biggest strengths? Defense, defense, defense. Granted, the team lost their defensive guru in Tom Thibodeau and they will be missing Kendrick Perkins for half a year (at least), and of course everyone on the team got a year older. Oh yeah, and we added the world’s worst pick and roll defender who happens to be 38. But with all that said, the team is going to be better defensibly than about 85 to 90 percent of the league. Continuity helps. These guys know each other and they bought into the system long ago. In fact, as Nate found out, unless you buy into the system, you don’t play. Simple as that. A mostly healthy Kevin Garnett should help matters even more (knock on wood). Jermaine O’Neal won’t be too much of a drop off from Perkins and Rondo has become one of the best defending guards in the league. Ray is surprisingly good at what he does and Paul Pierce really doesn’t get enough credit for the work he does on that side of the ball. Overall, this team is still capable of locking down an opponent for long stretches and mostly taking away the other team’s strengths.
From Jamie Canu, Celtics 24/7: What Significant Moves were made during the off-season? Alot of people question the Shaq signing, or just plain out minimize it. With Boston’s already solid defense Shaq will just be the icing on the cake. Like Perk, Shaq moves like a stalled tugboat. The range of KG in the post will close Shaq more into the paint and significantly zero in on his basket responsibility. Cleveland never had the personnel to utilize Shaq’s interior presence. Mark my words, he will dominate the hell out of ground zero this season.
From Celtics Life: What are the team’s biggest weaknesses? The biggest weakness at this point seems to be at the small forward position behind Paul Pierce. Marquis Daniels was resigned to back up Pierce at the 3 but Daniels has been oft injured and should he be out for any length of time or if he once again finds himself in Doc’s doghouse, the Celtics are very thin behind him. The Celtics’ biggest need right now is to get another long defensive 3. It’s possible they have that already in Gaffney and if Von Wafer or Delonte don’t work out, Gaffney could be what they need here. But Danny also has a few chips he can use for a trade should the right player become available and so I don’t expect this weakness to be there come playoff time. Weaknesses of last season’s team that have to be addressed this season are the offense, especially in the 4th quarter, rebounding, and turnovers. With the roster moves that Danny made this off season, it appears that he has made them with at least the offensive lapses and the rebounding problems in mind.
From John Karalis, Red’s Army: What are the goals for this team? Can I copy and paste last year’s answer? Championship or bust. Look… you don’t load a roster up with old stars with their tanks licking “E” if you’ll be happy with an OK playoff seed and maybe a series win or two. This team is built to combat the strengths of our biggest playoff obstacles. They have depth to counter the mega-front-loaded Miami Heat… they’ve got a bunch of big guys to run at Dwight Howard (and the guards to stick to their shooters), and that same size will battle with LA’s trees. This team is built as best as it can be to make another run… maaaaaaybe 2… at a title.
UPDATE: Below are links to additional previews on the Boston Celtics for the upcoming season.
*Celtics Hub sees health and KG’s athleticism as keys to the Celtics’ success next season.
*Gino’s Jungle is in a wait and see mode in wondering if the additions of Shaq and Delonte disrupt the chemistry of the team.
*SB Nation Boston uses a bunch of Shaq qotes to preview the upcoming campaign, including this beauty on why smarts may be the C’s biggest strength: “I’m not a young jitterbug anymore. When I was a young jitterbug, I never won. I didn’t start winning until I got older. The older I get, the wiser I get. You just have to play it smart.”
I couldn’t leave you guys without a few Lakers links to balance out all of this Celtics talk:
From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: As far as keynote addresses go, it was 100 percent Artestian, strewn with diversions, tangents, and stories including an eclectic array of characters from his extended network of family and childhood friends. But Thursday, speaking to a crammed auditorium at Eastmont Intermediate School in Montebello, Ron Artest wasn’t graded on the elegance of his delivery, just his willingness to speak openly about a subject so many, adults and children alike, are uncomfortable addressing: mental health. Yes, Artest is aware of the irony: “I know no parent wants their kid to be hearing from the guy who was on the Jimmy Kimmel Show in his boxers,” he joked from the podium, after admitting to concerns he wasn’t exactly the expected source for an important message.
From Mike Trudell, Basket Blog: As he did throughout the playoffs in consecutive title-winning years for the Lakers, Lamar Odom performed at his best when his team needed it most, this time for Team USA at Sunday’s World Championship final against Turkey. Odom went for a double-double for the second straight game, scoring 15 points with 11 rebounds in the 81-64 gold-medal-deciding game against the Turks, playing in front of a frenzied home crowd in Istanbul. All 15 of Odom’s points and eight of his rebounds came in the second half, and he scored nine of his team’s first 13 points to open the fourth quarter, helping to keep Turkey from getting back into the contest.
From Patrick Crawley, You Been Blinded: Resume: 14 seasons; 25,790 points; 5,410 rebounds; 4,766 assists; 12 AS app; 1 MVP; 2 Finals MVPs; 5 championships; 2008 Olympic gold medal: What can you say about Kobe Bryant that hasn’t already been said by legions of car flagging, mouth-frothing, MVP-chanting Lakers fans? 14 seasons into his career, he’s a Laker legend, an unmatched competitor and one of the most reliable late-game performers the league has ever seen. He’s so good it’s scary. He’ll rip your heart out, then smile for the cameras after he’s done. When teamed with Shaquille O’Neal in the early 2000s, Kobe was a force of nature who was forced to bend to the whims of his elders. The duo combined for three championships, but you could tell Kobe was never really happy. Now he’s the elder, capturing two straight NBA titles and setting his sights on Michael Jordan’s once-ironclad legacy, and he’s never been happier. Sure, he’s had more rough patches than Robert Downey Jr. in the 90s, but Lakers fans always seem to forgive him. He’s one of the most revered athletes in the history of L.A. sports.
From Janis Carr, OC Register: Derrrick Caracter is one of two rookies who will be looking to make this season’s Lakers team and by the looks of things, he could have a legimate shot. That is, if he can get his weight down. What does he think about his chances? What is his current weight? Does he miss ice cream? Which Laker is he most excited to play? Why did he switch jersey numbers? I will find out that and more Monday when the former UTEP center calls me and we discuss the upcoming season. There’s plenty to ask him before training camp opens Sept. 25.