Boston Celtics: To blow it up or to not blow it up.

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So will Danny Ainge, President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics, blow this up with the lack of consistent play from the Celtics? On the other hand, will he wait and see if they can get it together? After all Boston’s Big 3, which consists of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnet are not getting any younger and Rajon Rondo is not developing into that all-around Point Guard that they might have hoped. However, this is one of the better benches that they’ve had since the Big 3 era began with the key additions of Mickael Pietrus, Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox. In addition, the draft picks have worked out; both E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson have played very well in the time they’ve earned thus far. In addition, Greg Stiemsma has contributed, mainly with his knack for blocks.

So far, Rajon Rondo’s numbers are slightly up but it is good. Shooting percentage, 3-point percentage, and free throws are all up just a little. However, free throws are up from last season he still needs some work to get back to 65%, which he shot during his first season. His points per game are at just about 15 and assists per game is still hovering around 9-10. Paul Pierce’s numbers have taken a slide but that could be just a side effect of his slow start and injury that started the season. Ray Allen is around the same that he always has been with his numbers except his points per game is down to 14. Kevin Garnet has sort of rediscovered his 3 point shot but still the Celtics are in the bottom of the playoff seeding. So what is missing? Why are they losing?

Well it could be other teams’ defenses tightening up on Paul Pierce and Ray Allen or lack of offensive rebounds; I mean it’s like a disease to them honestly. It could also be the lack of penetration (shut up you know what I mean) and not getting to the line or the condensed schedule but I think it’s just a little bit of all of them. If I was coaching another team, I would tell them to play Pierce and Allen tight and focus on the boards cause the Celtics won’t fight for them but that’s basic I think because I have seen it in most games thus far.

Rondo makes this thing go but he is the biggest piece that you have in order to get the team back to the top so what do you do? Do you hope that Rondo will improve with a more athletic team, or surrounded by a team that he thinks are his equals and not hall of famers? Rondo would benefit from a younger, more athletic team but everyone knows that and it has been said many times on CSN during games or online sites. If you do plan to blow this thing up or making moves to give you a better shot at a title what do you do? Well you have to look at some underachievers on the bench right now in Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic maybe you upgrade them. However, Pavlovic has some potential to play much better than he has and really needs to step it up because he is a better play than Marquis. Maybe giving more time and more confidence to Greg Stiemsma or move him? You have James Posey, Leon Powe and some others available but are they an upgrade over Marquis, Pavlovic and “The Steamer”? No, except maybe Posey over Daniels but that’s a coin flip really.

I think you do not blow this up and stand pat with what you have on your roster. It’s a good roster and has some potential to be better. This team is better than its record and while they are not real title contenders, they have a chance to steal a title. You have to get better with rebounding, they aren’t the flu, go after them and you have to get better on the offensive side of the ball somehow. Whether it is through adjusting rotations, starting lineups or just something to increase the energy. Rondo cannot be afraid to go to the line, which so far he hasn’t been, and he must take more of the offensive load. This is his year to prove himself, that Danny can put a team around him next season, and they will succeed. I don’t know why Rondo “can’t shoot” but 2 years ago he did very well facing off against Kevin Durant in the finals of the H.O.R.S.E. competition after it coming down to 3 point shots and he did shot after shot (check you tube, I kid you not). In addition, this year he landed second in the Skills Competition and one of the reasons was not because he fell short at the shooting station. (Actually, in the finals Deron Williams fell short at that station)

I still think that minutes played and Rondo’s fear of going to the free throw line was one of the main reasons they lost against the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals in 2010. You can blame the refs and you can blame the rebounding but it was conditioning. Anyway, they cannot let that get in the way this season and like I said, they have a chance to maybe sneak into the NBA Finals and steal a win but honestly, I see them as a second round elimination. Danny has put his pieces where he wants them and at the end of the year, this team will be “blown up” so why not just stand pat and see where it goes. Maybe a minor tweak if you want but I would not make any huge moves like those that he did last season, which was a mistake.

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What options do the Boston Celtics have? CP3?

English: Chris Paul in a game against Boston, ...

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The NBA has gone down the path of the super team and Boston has to make some adjustments in order to stay in the game. If they do not land a super star or two they will at the most be a 4 seed in the future, which doesn’t  seem bad however depending on the talent that they have they might not be able to make it past round 2. Of course that is the optimist side of the tracks, they could also slip into mediocrity just like they did in the early 2000’s and Ainge and Doc will be two names of the past and I must admit that I am not so sure that I want that, those two have done a good job. Doc is not shy and will play who he trusts, who is producing and who he needs to in order to win and Danny will make whatever necessary trades he needs to in order to keep this team in the Top 3 of the NBA. So lets pan out some scenarios that could keep the Celtics battling each year.

1. Land Chris Paul from the Hornets and hope that Dwight Howard isn’t traded so that you may try to lure him to Boston to join CP. Another key part of that is surrounding them with enough other talent and viable starters to push them past the other top teams. However, you have to look at some other key issues to this and that is what did they give up to get CP3? Recently I have heard that the names thrown into the deal are Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, E’Twaun Moore, Jeff Green and some first round picks to get CP3. So with no picks to surround them with talent you must rely on free agency to draw some talent in and while that might not be such a bad idea, you just never know who you can afford after giving max contracts to both CP3 and Howard. Also Howard has said that he wants to be in a big market and (this is the kicker) a warm market. Sooo… unless we trick him into thinking Boston is warmer than Orlando, LA and some other markets we’re not going to get him. So with questions surrounding that will CP3 stay when the other big name that could come here has already make it hard? Not sure. Scenario 1 is a dangerous road and one with the likely hood that we don’t keep Paul and while we have a crazy amount of cap room can’t get Paul or Howard to come here.

2. Trade Rondo in exchange for some real promising young talent who can actually score but actually keep the Clippers pick and hope it lands in the Top 10 or Top 5 of the draft so that you get a great player who can potentially start off the bat. The Celtics seem to be stuck with players just because of the cap situation they always are in, which is the case now. With what I have read on the internet and his play last season it seems that they are not happy with Jeff Green, they apparently tried to trade him back to OKC, with Rondo to get Westbrook and Perkins. However they have to try and resign him because they are limited in options to fill out the roster which also means that they are likely to try to bring back ball-hog Glen “Big Baby” Davis even though the majority of fans are sick of him taking shots he can’t hit and missing a wide out player. This scenario gives them an opportunity to start over and get some talent in they like more and restart the Celtics around the players they got back for Rondo and the Clippers pick. This scenario is also dangerous just because you probably don’t have any super stars on the team just now and the Clippers pick has to be a hit and Ainge has to resist from trading him if he is a potential all-star. The chance of this turning into what the Celtics were in the early 2000’s is kind of high.

3. Stay on the current path and keep Rondo, let Avery, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore develop and hope that they can contribute if not become borderline stars and then sign some free agents, most likely NOT CP3 or Howard but starters at least and hope that is enough to bring you a banner or two. Names in the 2012 that could be on the radar: Kevin Love, Michael Beasley (T-Wolves drafted Derrick Williams who is a SF/PF type of player so one of these two might not be back) O.J. Mayo (Restricted but as of now still might be available) and some other decent names, so maybe you gamble on Rondo and see who you can draw to Boston with him as your star.

4. This scenario is what I would do if I was in Danny’s shoes. I would try to trade Rondo but also will very willing to go forward with him as well, it’s either Chris Paul or stay with Rondo. Unless of course some ridiculous deal is thrown your way that you can’t ignore. You have to look at the young pieces that you now have in Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, Avery Bradley, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore and add to those pieces in the 2012 free agency class and the 2012 NBA draft. What I would definitely keep in mind and not trade away is that Clippers first round pick which one site (nbadraft.net credited) has already put up a mock draft (extremely early) and the Celtics pick is now 8th. So you have a Top 10, maybe a Top 5 pick and then you look at the 2012 free agency to fill out some key areas. Kevin Garnet and Ray Allen are not on your salary anymore so you look at, in my opinion, Michael Beasley who is not a star but a decent starter or Kevin Love who is a better than Beasley or at least played that way. I’d also keep my eyes on other young guys like O.J. Mayo and some other key veterans who may or may not be available like Chauncey Billups or Allen Iverson who can get you some key minutes off the bench if they haven’t lost too much game. Heck, maybe, if you land the right young guys via draft and free agency you can get KG and Allen to come back for crazy cheap and very limited minutes either starting or coming off the bench. This is an unlikely scenario but one I like, of course, cause it’s mine. As a last note to this scenario I would, depending on how the 2011 season worked out and how well they played, consider trading Rondo and Green again.

I think the best option is to probably try to trade Rajon Rondo and get back a better PG, not many are actually better than him but just because of where the NBA is headed you have to try. Honestly I think it’s sad, like I’ve stated before, that a team must try to land a top name or names to stay in contention for a championship. It’d be nice if any given year any team could actually win the championship by just development of young talent and maybe making a minor move or two but alas this is not the NFL and you need at least two stars on your team. Bottom line is the NBA has 5 teams and the rest are jobbers, this is like wrestling now and the top teams are Hogan, Flair, Warrior and the others are Brooklyn Brawler and Doink the Clown. So who do the Celtics want to be? Either they make some moves to guarantee that they stay as one of the top teams, or gamble on draft picks and develop and hope that will keep them as a top team. Either way I believe in Danny and Doc and know that they will make what changes they need to make to get us back to Banner 18 and doing it sooner rather than later. The one thing that ties the Celtics up each year is that they can be forced to resign some talent that they do not like but are better than who is available to them in free agency but one thing I read is that teams (Heat) are going to have trouble filling out their roster due to the money tied up by the Big 3 they have, so many that will stop teams from making Super teams.