Tag: Celtics

Sunday Column: Boston’s Playoff Return Shows Progress Under Stevens

Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics begin their postseason play on Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and after a semi-successful season, there is optimism surrounding the Green and White. (Photo Credit: Celtics Hub/CelticsHub.com)
Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics begin their postseason play on Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and after a semi-successful season, there is optimism surrounding the Green and White. (Photo Credit: Celtics Hub/CelticsHub.com)

By Matt Noonan

The Boston Celtics have returned to the postseason.

Yep, the “glory days” of Boston Celtics basketball has returned. However, don’t get your hopes up because Brad Stevens – the head coach of the month! – will be guiding a roster of second and third depth chart players against perhaps the ultimate favorite to defeat San Antonio in June (or Golden State).

Boston will once again see LeBron James in the “second season,” but unlike previous matchups, this particular series favors King James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Framingham’s own David Blatt.

That’s right, the Cavaliers are going to win this series, probably in four or five games.

Perhaps six? Well, that would depend, especially if the Celtics could win one (and hopefully two) game(s) on their own parquet.

Yet, no matter the outcome of this series – again, expect Cleveland to win – this is a huge step forward for a team that became the biggest revolving door earlier this season.

Give credit to Stevens and most of the front office as the Green and White became “pit-stop” for a slew of players over the past few months. Players like Tayshaun Prince, Nate Robinson, Jameer Nelson and Austin Rivers stole the headlines when they all landed in the ‘City of Champions’ during Danny Ainge’s ‘Wheeling and Dealing’ escapade. Rajon Rondo was a Celtic – he was on the opening day roster – but was eventually shipped to Dallas.

Once Ainge stopped shuffling the deck, Stevens had a chance to get to know his team – for the most part! – and teach them a style of basketball that resulted in a 40-42 record.

Boston won more games this year, outlasting their 2013-14 squad that captured 25 games, including 16 contests on Causeway Street. This season, the Celtics won 21 games on their home court, 19 on the road, and 12 divisional matchups. Boston also finished 28-24 in the Eastern Conference, but again, don’t let those numbers fool you because the Celtics won’t be playing basketball in May or June (I am sorry, Boston!).

I am a Celtics fan – always have been! – however, I just don’t think this team has what it takes to defeat the second best team in the East. If they were matched up against the Atlanta Hawks, well … I would think they would have a chance. Chicago? Forget it, I like the Bulls because they’ll contend for an Eastern Conference crown.

Boston – on the other hand – should enjoy seeing their beloved Celtics in the playoffs. It is extremely nice to have a winter team extend their season into mid-to-late April, especially after the Bruins’ collapse last weekend. We love having our teams compete in the postseason, we do, but this team won’t be riding Duckboats around Government Center. Instead, most of the players will learn from this opportunity and apply it to next season.

Year number two of Stevens and the Celtics has been a success. They won more games, were competitive with the league’s top teams – remember when they almost beat the Warriors? – and showed they can compete, even if they look like a squad that resembles a college intramural unit.

I am extremely excited to see the Celtics taking a step forward. And now, it is all about playing your best – at least giving your best effort, Brad! – and learning from the experience. I believe in Brad just like I believe in Boston. Better days are ahead for the Green and White, so consider this the start of something special.

All good teams have to go through a “rebuilding” phase in order to contend. Atlanta was a decent team a few years ago and now they’re number one in the Eastern Conference. Toronto wasn’t that good, even when Vince Carter played for the Raptors, but now they’re a 49-win team. And the same could be said for Milwaukee, but the Bucks won 41 games, not 49.

Let’s all enjoy this series – please do the best you can to enjoy it, but remember that while Cleveland is indeed the favorite, Boston will one day be in their shoes and ready to contend for Banner 18.

Boston Celtics: Good or Bad Deal for Nate Robinson?

Here is a blog submitted by one of my fans. He asked for me to post his reactions toward the whole NBA Trade Deadline, but primarily how he felt about the entire Robinson deal. Here is Trevor Paul, an alum of Wheaton College in Massachusetts writing about the Boston Celtics!

Nate Robinson ... does he help the Celtics?

Okay so, at this time Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry are being swapped for Bill Walker, J.R. Giddens, and Eddie House. On the surface, this makes zero sense for the Celtics. They get a ballhog PG who doesn’t REALLY play point guard and lose one of their “core players” (according to Doc) and few remaining game changing shooters. Really, do we not remember how House could totally change the game with only 6 points? Two huge shots, game changed, that’s Eddie House.

So how can this possibly work for the Celtics? What is the benefit of the trade?

Well consider the climate, there are a lot of factors in play but let’s run them down. First, the Celtics aren’t going to miss the playoffs. An older team will have a good chance in the playoffs with the extra downtime to adjust and recover, so they COULD win this year, but there is NO trade out there that makes it definite, so trading is foolish because you can’t make yourselves DEFINITELY able to win. The only way the trade would make sense is if it is long-term.

So how could this trade work long term? Well, who are the big three free agents next year?

1.) LeBron James  2.) Dwyane Wade  3.) Chris Bosh

What happens to the Celtics next year?

1. Ray Allen’s contract is over, they have him off the books.

2. Nate Robinson’s contract ends this year, that is also off the books.

3. J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker are no longer paid, no matter how minimal that payment is it is still off the books.

Ray Allen, keep or let him go?

The Math:

*Ray Allen’s 2010 salary: $19M

*Nate Robinson-Marcus Landry 2010 salary: $4.5M (theoretically $2.5M given the nature of Nate’s contract)

*J.R. Giddens-Bill Walker 2010 salary: $1.9M team optioned

Realistically reduced salary number: $23.4M off the books next year, still over the cap but significantly lower than before. Now consider the price tag on available players next season…

LeBron James current yearly salary 2010: $15M

Dwyane Wade’s current yearly salary 2010: $15M

Chris Bosh’s current yearly salary 2010: $17M

So, let’s consider the climate of the NBA next year, without being super detailed beyond the above math. At the end of the day, LeBron and Dwyane are going to be hotly pursued. Pundits have talked about chasing down LeBron and getting Dwyane as the “second prize” but no one has really discussed Bosh as the third prize. Apparently it is heavily assumed that Bosh would be going to one of the cities that gets Wade or James, but is that a definite?

Going to Wade or James’ team does not guarantee Bosh a distributing point guard or another low post presence to help him, similar to Gasol and Bynum in L.A. Realistically, it isn’t a great deal for Bosh as it demands a lot of him and puts extreme pressure on him to perform in the clutch to save his team. Not considering salary, going to a team with either a powerful big man or a great point guard is his ideal, not to mention what sorts of veterans might help him at that team.

The Celtics tossed out House and the young guns for a ball-hogging guard that isn’t a true backup to Rondo, but what if Ainge is doing what he did when he acquired Garnett? Thinking longterm, letting the team take a hit now and plotting around the whole thing with a deal that looks blah at first, but hits a homerun? People forget, Celtics fans were totally unaffected by the Allen signing, until we got Garnett and then it was brilliant. Well, what if the Celtics are playing the smart hand in the free agency market?

Bosh could be signed for $18-20M per year in a 2-3 year deal. Suddenly, the Celtics starting five becomes Perkins-Bosh-Garnett,Pierce-Rondo. Pierce, the reigning three point champ, becomes the two guard, taking pressure off of him to drive and work the stud forwards on other teams. Bosh becomes the stud PF, taking on the majority of the scoring work, but with Perkins to play serious defense and score on a wide range of shots and with Rondo to feed him and create his own shots. This is a nightmare starting five for other teams because two former unstoppables (Garnett and Pierce) are no longer being pushed to do too much and the new big three is a high percentage scorer and vicious defender (Perkins), a scorer and developing defender (Bosh), and a fantastic point guard and defender (Rondo). The bench now is as good as it was, without the added pressure of needing to pick-up the starters, which is the biggest problem this year for the Celts.

Could this happen? Uh, yeah, actually it isn’t too unrealistic. Bosh would be smart to come to Boston, potentially smarter than if he goes to wherever Wade and James go, because he has all the support he needs to thrive without feeling pressure to be THE inside presence. Garnett and Pierce could sell Bosh, easily, they did it before and they still hold the esteem to do it again. I don’t care what people say about James and Bosh’s friendship, they do not compliment eachother well enough. There are only a couple things that could ruin this for the Celtics:

1. LeBron and Dwyane resign early, making Bosh the sweepstakes player to chase (unlikely).

2. Boston resigns Robinson longterm (crazy, maniacal laughter from every sensible Celtics fan terrified this might happen).

3. Bosh resigns with Toronto (impossible).

4. Boston signs someone else or resigns Ray (unlikely given their unwillingness to negotiate the deal now).

What will Danny do when the 2009-2010 season is done?

Look, at the end of the day Boston is not getting LeBron or Dwyane, and they don’t need to, but Bosh is actually almost an EASY get. Everyone else is chasing the other two, Bosh is available and potentially he is the best option if you are the Celtics. Young, complimentary star to your other two young stars. Pierce and Garnett leave? Who cares! The core is still Rondo-Bosh-Perkins. Financially it works, common sense says it works, and it is the ONLY possible way the Robinson deal makes sense.

Ultimately that is really what I’m saying here isn’t it? Robinson coming to Boston on an expiring deal is stupid. It is BEYOND stupid, it’s throwing away a great player for this team for a selfish useless, Starbury 2.0 player. Unless this is why. And the more I try to think about it, the harder I try to decide WHY this would happen, the more convinced I am this is why. It might just make sense, it might just happen, and if it does, I might just not be too upset with Mr. Danny Ainge

Thoughts on Sports (10/22/09)

Had a few thoughts on my mind!
Had a few thoughts on my mind!

Had a great day of classes, but couldn’t concentrate. Had a few burning thoughts about the sports world in my head, which is why I decided to blog.

The New England Patriots are headed to London for a game against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, should I make a prediction now? I’ll wait for another day, but doesn’t this seem weird, the Patriots in London and playing football? Not soccer, but American football to be exact. Seems strange to me. The past two games both NFC teams, (Giants and Saints) won, so will the tradition continue again this year for the NFC? We will have to wait and see.

Are you enjoying the MLB 2009 Playoffs? I doubt it, unless you are a New York Yankees fan. I am sure not caring one bit. Ever since the Boston Red Sox were eliminated, I have tuned off baseball and said hello to college football. In fact, the ALCS and NLCS have not been exciting one bit, but that’s just my opinion. Although if you consider what has occurred, two teams are great and two are not. Yet, is it somewhat funny that both teams with Los Angeles at the beginning combine currently for 2 wins?

Do you think Manny enjoyed the playoffs?
Do you think Manny enjoyed the playoffs?

How about those umpire the other evening in Anaheim. Looked like myself back in the day umpping softball in the suburbs. Of course I was very lenient and wanted the young sluggers to enjoy their time on the diamond, but wow, quite a good amount of mistakes were made that left the Sothern California faithful quite confused and upset. If the Angles indeed fall to the Yankees this evening, should we blame the MLB Umpire crew for the entire series?

Who is ready for some basketball? I am and for some reason this year, I am super excited to see the Boston Celtics back in action! Did it seem that last nights contest against King James’s royal family, (a.k.a. the Cleveland Cavaliers); was just a warm up for next Tuesday season opener or just another chapter in this heated rival? Either way, I am expecting Tuesday night to be somewhat of a classic. Last year the Celtics defeated the Cavs at home, as well as unveiled banner number 17, so I am sure this year things may seem different.

How about those pesky Pittsburgh Penguins, just dominating the world of the NHL. Aren’t they just the true meaning of champions? Do you think Sydney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin eat Wheaties every morning? I sure hope so because this team is on fire. ESPN ranks them the number one team over the other 7-1 squad, New York Rangers.

Finally how do you think Terrelle Pryor, the quarterback of the Ohio State Buckeyes felt when answering a call from the LeBron James? How would you answer the phone if the “chosen one” called you? I bet Pryor was excited and anxious to hear how James goes about his celebrity life and how Pryor should follow in his foot steps with possibly a 60-minutes interview and a State Farm commercial for the Cleveland Browns.

Those are my thoughts, have a great rest of your Thursday!