What We’ve Learned About The Boston Celtics In 2011

After a tumultuous 2011, what exactly did we learn about the Boston Celtics? (Photo Credit: Matt Noonan for NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Over the past 12 months, we’ve learned a lot about the Boston Celtics.

They’re no longer the top dog or a team that’s feared. Instead, they’re a veteran team that’s most likely going to finish the current season with at least 25 to 28 wins, and somehow squeak their way into the playoffs.

They’ll probably earn a few postseason victories too, but then lose to the younger and more athletic units, which include Chicago, Miami and New York, which is expected, right?

Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen have all aged, so don’t expect their tiresome legs to cruise to one more championship series, especially this season. However, it’s possible, yet highly doubtful that Boston will see a repeat of Bill Russell’s Celtics from 1969, but again, don’t hold your breath.

So, what exactly have we learned from this past year?

Could it be that team president Danny Ainge isn’t afraid to wheel and deal?

Perhaps Ainge’s decision to trade Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City could be the eventual downfall of Boston’s basketball team?

And finally, maybe the Green and White should have traded point guard Rajon Rondo to Dallas or Detroit for various veterans?

Ok… take a deep breath because I, Matt Noonan have a few thoughts and ideas in regards to all these questions stated above.

Ainge Likes to Wheel and Deal: Any owner, president or manager for a particular team or organization is always going to contemplate the question — how can I improve my team?

In the case of Ainge, he wants to win. However, I think it’s fair to say that he’s a gambler, as well as someone who’s all-in, especially at the blackjack table. Yet, adding players like Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic, Carlos Arroyo, Troy Murphy and Rasheed Wallace didn’t exactly help Boston win their 18th championship banner, but instead, create aggravation and frustration for the past few years.

Celtics fans need to understand that Ainge is going to gamble. He’ll win and lose various trades and acquisitions, as well as do whatever it takes to help his team succeed every night, and contend for a championship.

Saying Good Bye to Kendrick and Nate: It’s hard to believe, but many Bostonians still think Ainge shouldn’t have pulled the trigger last February to release Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson because they would have helped the Celtics defeat the Miami Heat in May.

 

Yet, how do these fans or followers know that Perkins and Robinson were the answer?

Boston managed to win 15 of their final 27 contest, but relied heavily on Allen, Garnett and Pierce because Green and Krstic, who were the players that Boston and Oklahoma swapped, didn’t exactly comprehend Doc Rivers’ playbook.

The Celtics bench, which Ainge rebuilt after the trade, couldn’t compliment the starters play, which was obviously frustrating. However, let’s admit that Ainge once again gambled, and came up short, again.

Perkins, Robinson, and the Thunder reached the Western Conference Finals, but lost to the Dallas Mavericks, 4-1.

So, once again, I don’t think it’s fair to state that Ainge’s decision to trade Perkins and Robinson was the demise of the 2010-2011 Celtics or future teams, but once again, another gamble that he felt would improve Boston’s chances.

In Rondo, We Trust:  Say what you want about Rondo, but seriously, he’s the future of Boston basketball, and if the Celtics are going to continue their winning ways or at least attempt to remain competitive in the near future, then he’s going to be Ainge’s building block.

Boston will eventually be forced to replace Allen, Garnett and Pierce, which means Rondo will have to play his best basketball every night, as well as imitate his Game 3 performance against the Heat from this past May, which was when he dislocated his elbow.

 

If Rondo can be more aggressive, attack the rim, and keep his wits about himself, then expect the Celtics to succeed. However, if his old, immature ways return, then assume that Boston will be forced to rebuild once their current squad walks off into the sun.

I think Rondo can be a great asset for the Celtics, especially in the near future. But, I also think many will certainly ponder the question — what if Ainge had pulled the trigger, and acquired Chris Paul?

Noonan: Boston Celtics Playoffs Thoughts and Predictions

Are the Boston Celtics ready to earn Banner 18? We'll find out!

 By Matt Noonan

Similar to the Boston Bruins, Noontime Sports has provided a few thoughts on the Boston Celtics, as well as their playoff chances. Will they win their 18th NBA title in franchise history? Who knows, but here is what we believe will happen with the Boston Celtics. 

Thoughts on the Boston Celtics: Well here comes another playoffs series, whoop-di-doo!

Are you excited? Revved up and ready for a championship run? Who thinks this Boston Celtics team has what it takes to go the distance?

Stop right there. Who truly believes this group of veterans and young guns has what it takes to earn Banner 18?

Unfortunately, I don’t feel the urge to root for this team primarily because every member of this squad, including head coach Doc Rivers and point guard Rajon Rondo haven’t gotten over the Kendrick Perkins departure from February. Instead of coping with it or learning to move on, the Celtics, who were [41-14] at the time of the trade, fell apart and finished their final 27-games with a [15-12] record.

A majority of their efforts were put into grieving over the loss of Perkins, who may or may not have been the true part of “Ubuntu.” Yet, Perkins was part of that starting five, which featured himself, Rondo, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett that never lost a playoff series. They were the ones who were able to boast about beating the Los Angles Lakers in 2008.

Yet, there were also times when the “starting-5” was missing Garnett or Perkins, but again, this was the core group of guys that defined Celtics basketball, especially in the 21st century, but again, Perkins was a key part to their success, despite all of his fouls and frowns.

On Sunday the Celtics begin their quest for Banner 18 without Perkins or the essential member of team “Shrek and Donkey,” (Glen Davis and Nate Robinson).

There are indeed some new faces, such as Carols Arroyo, Jeff Green, Nenad Kristic and Troy Murphy, but is every Green and White supporter excited to see these guys contribute toward bringing Boston yet another championship? I don’t think so.

If you had the chance to catch part IV of ESPN’s “The Association,” which was a documentary series that followed the Celtics all season, the final chapter clearly summed up the fact that this team is not ready to contend for a championship. Doc Rivers and Rajon Rondo again seem dumbfounded by the trade, but Kevin Garnett though hasn’t lost his mojo.

The Celtics are also faced with the daunting task of wondering how much Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal will help this club. Can they make a difference or be the catalysts in a possible downfall? Both players signed up as aging veterans who wanted one more shot at redemption or possibly the chance to play in a NBA Finals, but unless these two stars figure out a way to stay healthy, they could possibly go down as the two biggest busts in Celtics lore.

There are a lot of questions surrounding the team, but the only way we’ll find out what this team is made of is when the New York Knicks invade the TD Garden for games 1 and 2 on Sunday and Tuesday. After two games, the Celtics may provide us with some answers or ideas, but again, should we call Las Vegas and consider them a lock to win the title? Nope, please don’t!

Although, if Celtics fans learned anything last year, it is that the regular season can’t truly predict what will happen in the post-season or who is a guaranteed winner. Sure, the Chicago Bulls maybe the best team in basketball, but do they have what it takes to win a NBA championship?

Does Kobe Bryant have enough fuel in his tank to lead his Los Angles Lakers to the finish line or will the Miami Heat’s “Big-3” put aside their difference and win their first of possibly seven titles, according to LeBron James?

The NBA post-season is a long and enduring process, but again, who knows where this Celtics team can go, so just sit back, relax and wait until Sunday evening for some answers.

Prediction: Again, this Celtics team is a true “wild-card.” They could win it all or possibly flop out after round one against the New York Knicks. Doc Rivers is definitely one of the top five sideline generals in the NBA, so as long as he can keep his team motivated or focused, then they’ll advance. If any funny business occurs or if the team doesn’t respond to Rivers, then consider it another year without a championship.

The Celtics will most likely win their first round series against the New York Knicks in six games and then lose to the Miami Heat during the second round of the NBA playoffs.

NBA Finals Prediction:  Chicago Bulls vs. San Antonio Spurs, (Bulls win the series in seven games, 4-3).