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.
Kevin Durant is a basketball god. Wow, what a performance in the tourney. Damn shame he’s going to be with OKC for the foreseeable future, since he would have looked oh so good in LA.
Lamar’s performance was also very exceptional. I like how he played center and displayed his versatility. Perhaps Phil Jax may be able to put him at the center spot every once in a while, maybe even in tandem with Caracter.
Celts will be good this year, no doubt about that. The East will be absolutely killing each other, and that may complicate Miami’s attempt to get overall HCA. There are a lot of fouls to give now with their big-men rotation and maybe we’ll see some Detroit style “MJ rules” against Wade and LBJ. Also, Bosh must be weeping to know that he may have to grind it out in a 7 game series with these guys. Can’t wait for the season already!
Never ever link the C’s again. Who cares about the runner ups
Robert Fiore says
I’ve come to the conclusion that Shaq has become the fork of the NBA: If you stick him in your roster that means you’re done.
Darius Soriano says
#2. Never, huh? I find value in what other teams writers are saying about the team they watch day in and day out. There’s insight in that perspective and it helps shape my everyday viewing of the league. I can’t watch every game from every team and will never be able to accurately speak to every detail or nuance that exists on the 29 other squads. So, from time to time, we’ll link to articles from every team in the league. Get used to it. Or don’t. But it’s going to happen as long as I run this site.
Also, so using your logic, you must not have cared about the Lakers in ’08 right? Or how they could have improved? Or what their prospects were for the next season? How they could attack the Celtics or how the Celtics may try to hold them off? A big picture view of the league is necessary if you’re going to follow any team. But it’s especially true when you follow the team that currently holds the championship as that squad (in this case the Lakers) are going to be the one that every other team is out to beat. So, knowing as much as you can about those guys is kind of important. As I said in the last post, insert your Art of War reference here.
Per Darius – “insert your Art of War reference here.”
Thanks for the invite! Here’s my favorite: “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”
I wonder how much losing Thibodeau is going to hurt the C’s, btw?
Darius Soriano says
#5. I think losing Thibodeau will hurt, but will be mitigated by the fact that he was able to implement his scheme for several years before he departed. The only players that were never taught his scheme were Jermaine and Shaq (and the C’s rookies) but every other Celtic did. That should allow for some sense of continuity even though (Thibodeau) has left for the Bulls.
That said, this is all assuming that Lawrence Frank (hired to replace Thibodeau) keeps all the same schemes in place. If Frank doesn’t do that and decides he wants to change things up, losing Thibodeau could be an issue that has a pretty big impact. I mean, we know Thib’s scheme can be dominant but we know no such thing about Frank’s.
1, the last time Lamar will ever play center, even in FIBA ball, was yesterday. There are a number of reasons why Lamar was able to play center in the tournament:
1.) The Trapezoidal Lane
Because the FIBA lane is in the shape of a trapezoid, it means their big men can’t get as deep position as they want without triggering a 3 second violation. This also enables Team USA’s guards to be able to dig down on post players and recover, which reaked havoc on the rhythm of the European big men. In the NBA, guys would be able to get deeper position, there would be more space on the wings for opponents to space the floor, and there would be less likelihood of 3 second violations.
2.) The Lack of Skilled European Big Men
Now this isn’t to say that guys like Tiago Splitter, Semih Erden, or Timofey Mozgoz aren’t good players, but they are not on the caliber of Pau Gasol, Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard, or Kevin Garnett, and they certainly don’t have the girth and physical power of someone like Shaq. And because of the shape of the lane, Odom simply had to hold off the big men for a couple of moments before they had to put up a rushed shot, often under the duress of Team USA’s perimeter players. And since FIBA big men don’t have the same post skills as guys in the NBA, they weren’t able to convert on many of those shots near the basket.
3.) Zone Defense
Since FIBA does not have defensive 3-second rules, Team USA was able to play a very effective 2-3 zone, usually with Odom in the middle. This made post catches much more difficult for opposing bigs, and Odom’s long arms and mobility enabled him to contest a lot of passes. As we all know, the NBA has the defensive 3-second rule, pretty much rendering most zone defenses useless as it leaves too large a gap in the lane.
FIBA is making a lot of changes to their court for the next Olympics, going to a normal rectangular lane and moving out the three point lane a couple of feet, making the game much more similar to the NBA. So even if Odom were to play in 2012 (doubtful), his effectiveness at center would be greatly diminished.
The Leprechans lost bigger than a championship to the Lakers last year. Sheed played his heart out in defeat during game 7 at Staples, and retired. Perkins may never be the same after his season ending injury. The bench had already been thinned out considerably to just find pieces to make it to the playoffs, and they lost Tony Allen to free agency.
Danny didn’t have any serious money to pursue free agents since he wanted to hold onto Ray and Paul. So he got out the bubble gum and bailing wire and went to work.
Finding two out of work O’Neals replaced Sheed and Perk–sort of. The names made every Irish heart beat a little faster, but that was probably the only faster they were going to get.
In the backcourt, they’ve added free agents Delonte West and Von Wafer–each to help in different ways. And yes, Danny’s signed some rooks and almost rooks–even one of those FIBA Turks.
Watching them assemble their many free agents around their core should be interesting–but Miami’s situation will not be much different.
By comparison, the Lakers present a relatively well oiled machine–even better prepared to challenge those Leps, defense to defense. Andrew, Pau, and Lamar have the length–Shaq, Perk, and Big Baby have the width. The Lakers added Barnes. The Leps lost TA. Ron Artest can hardly wait to get another chance at Paul Pierce. I’m not convinced that Paul is equally eager.
7. Zephid. Good points. I was just saying that LO can definitely fill in for spot-duty moments. He really played well in the tourney and I love how his “legacy” has gone from abject “talent wasted” to multiple champ (though his stigma for being inconsistent is an appropriate label). Good year so far for Odom, and hope he parlays that into helping this 3-peat run.
Since I just started re-reading it yesterday, here is the requested “Art of War” quote:
If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril. If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
Looking forward to the Heat and the Thunder editions. 🙂
If I’m not mistaken, FIBA is abandoning the trapezoid.
Here’s my Art of War quote:
“Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.” Keep those posts coming – I’m curious to hear what’s coming out of Miami.
Great points about “knowing your enemy.” I think, though, that this season, Miami is going to be top on the list of teams other teams want to beat. I don’t know if that ultimately works to the Lakers advantage or not, though. It should help at least a little with trying for HCA and with not playing some players as many minutes, but there is something to be said for always playing opponents who are “up” for you – it’s good prep for the playoffs.
Chris J says
Fans are almost always guilty of seeing others’ flaws while playing up the strengths of their favored squads… but come on, Boston fans, how about a little reality here?
“Mark my words, (Shaq) will dominate the hell out of ground zero this season.”
You’re talking about a guy who couldn’t play the pick and roll 10 years ago; he’s now 38 and will be killed when teams put him in space and expect him to rotate at a smaller player.
If he plays back — as he usually does — they’re giving up free-throw line jumpers to guards all day. If he tries to play up, then said guards will either blow right by him and draw a foul or get to the rim unmolested.
Also, keep in mind that Shaq didn’t even average 7 rebounds per game last year. He’ll be effective for brief stretches, but there’s no way 2010-11 Shaquille O’Neal is controlling the paint over the course of most games, let alone a playoff series.
“The biggest weakness at this point seems to be at the small forward position behind Paul Pierce.”
Yeah, that’s it. Just a bench player. Everything else is gravy.
What team wouldn’t want to start a 38-year-old center who missed 30 games last season; a 34-year-old power forward who’s missed 49 games over the past three seasons and was a ghost as the Lakers took control of the Finals at Staples; a point guard who can’t throw a rock in the Atlantic without missing six times out of 10; and a shooting guard who went 33 for 90 in the Finals (37 percent) — and that’s including one game in which he was 8 for 11 from behind the line. Take out that ridiculously on-fire performance in Game 2 and Allen was WNBA-level bad when it mattered most.
Oh, and they’re all a year older.
But yeah, keep worrying about Marquis Daniels. That’s the one big weakness in Boston.
Here is my Art of War ref:
If the writer of a Laker blog is a damn fool. Go to another blog.
Sun Tzu updated ed. 2010
Darius Soriano says
#14. Enjoy wherever you go (though, you won’t be missed as you’ve added nothing meaningful to the conversation).
Lou, I don’t know what it is that you’ve started to expect from this blog, but blind focus on the Lakers and nothing else was never what FB&G was about. If that’s what you’re looking for, then you’re right. You should be going to another blog.
Darius Soriano says
A new post is up. We take a last look at Team USA in the wake of their gold medal win.
if the celtics make it to the playoffs, and are healthy, their defense will be a threat. but during the regular season, i just don’t see that happening as often. opposing teams are going to run them into the ground. Yes, the celts have some guys who can play good transition defense, but both o’neals are too slow. i don’t expect garnett to be much faster either. and i think thibodeau’s absence will be huge during the playoffs, when you need to make adjustments. another finals visit is not impossible, but very unlikely.
The Celtics will be tough no matter what because of their teams mindset to do the dirty work. Whether its pushing, holding, flopping, or barking at the moon(KG, Big Baby) they take pride in being the bad boys of the league. With all that size and fouls in the front court they will be able to physically wear alot of teams down, it may not be pretty but it will be effective. The old dogs may not have any new tricks, but their experience in battle can not be forgotten.
Its great that we are discussing other teams… but the only team we will see in the Finals is the Heat… and if Wade or Lebron get hurt then the Magic. The Celtics are old and had one last stand a season ago where they had their heart and soul ripped out in a game 7 to the hated Lakers. They are done. If it were a 35 and older league i would pick them next year for sure though.
Chris J says
What did I write to warrant that shot at me, Darius? Seems totally uncalled for.
@#21 Chris J, I think Darius was referring to the pinhead Lou in #14. The numbering must have been off when Darius made his comment.
Take a look at what Lou said in preceding comments and you can infer that Darius was talking to him and not you.
Darius Soriano says
That was not directed at you. There was another comment that has since been deleted by another moderator. I’ll re-number my original comment. My apologies for the confusion…
Chris J says
Makes sense. It’s all good.
Eric N says
Please do not link C’s information. If I want that I know how to get it elsewhere on the web and it pains me to see this holy temple of Laker information desecrated so.
To everyone complaining about links to Celtics information: If you don’t want to read it, don’t click on them.
Aja Jr. says
Hahaha… c”,) Come on guys… Why are we\you guys quarrelling here..? We are all LAKER fans here… i think we should be happy that some of our co-fanatics are so super-duper Laker diehards that they get annoyed with just the slightest mention of the Greens…
i, myself got taken aback when i opened this blog and the first thing that popped up was a photo of a Celtic player… this was the secong time, the first was a photo of Ray Allen and James Posey holding the Championship trophy…
Maybe a photo of a Celtic player getting dunk on by a Laker would lessen the shock, just to warn us that it will be a blog about the Keltics…. Or maybe, so it won’t be that harsh, a photo of Laker guarding a Celtic dribbling… Just a suggestion… c”,)