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Photo courtesy of:  Robert Chin, Look GOOD Studio
Team Name:  Boston Celtics
Last Year’s Record:  50-32
Key Losses:   Tony Allen, Rasheed Wallace,  Brian Scalabrine, Tom Thibodeau, Clifford Ray
Key Additions:  Jermaine O'Neal, Shaquille O'Neal, Von Wafer, Delonte West, Avery Bradley, Luke Harangody, Semih Erden

1. What Significant Moves were made during the off-season?   The most significant move was to shore up the front line and assure that they have the center spot filled until Kendrick Perkins comes back.  They accomplished this by signing first Jermaine O'Neal and then Shaquille O'Neal.  These moves made the team older, but also better.  
 The Celtics made the decision to keep the team together and make another run at the title again this season by re-signing Paul Pierce to a 4 year contract and Ray Allen for 2 more seasons.  They also brought back Marquis Daniels and Nate Robinson and signed Von Wafer, Delonte West, Avery Bradley, Luke Harangody and Semih Erden.  While the signings of Bradley, Harangody, and Erden might not seem very key right now, they may end up being key, either in their ability to contribute this season or as chips to bring in a player who will be a key addition.   Of the trio, Bradley's NBA ready defense would seem to make him the front runner to get minutes on this team. 
One significant move was who they didn't bring back.  Tony Allen's defense will be missed but hopefully someone like Delonte or Bradley can step up and fill that void on the defensive end. Another loss I consider significant is Brian Scalabrine.  He may not have been all that important on the court at times but he was a glue guy in the locker room and that can't be underestimated.   I also consider the loss of both Tom Thibodeau and Clifford Ray as significant.  Both are the best in the league at what they do and the defense and the development of the bigs will be affected by the departure of these two great coaches. 
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?   The team's biggest strength will be their starting 5, just as it was last season.  Rajon Rondo is a year better.  Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and KG are coming back with a chip on their shoulders and the mission to avenge their finals loss.   Jermaine O'Neal will aptly fill in for Perk until he comes back.  And the Celtics will have one of the best starting units In the league again this season.   And this season, their bench is also deep, especially their front line and they are strong from 1-12.  

3. 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. 
4. What are the goals for this team?
        The goal is to win a championship and nothing less.   They came within one quarter of winning the title last season and have reloaded and come back looking to avenge that loss.   The East hs gotten a lot stronger and it won't be easy, but the Celtics will have the singular goal of hanging another banner come June. 
5. What is the biggest obstacle to wInning It all this season.      First and foremost, it will be injuries.   Without the injury to Perk in game 6 of the Finals, they would be champions today.    With a team loaded with older veterans, staying healthy is much easier said than done.   The Celtics will need some luck to avoid the injuries that could sidetrack them this season.   Home court advantage is important and so the Celtics need to have that luck throughout the season so that they can  play their best ball all season and not just in the playoffs.  Unfortunately, although we hope they never are, injuries are usually an unavoidable reality for most teams. This guide on sports medicine schools will provide you with the info you need to find out what is needed to get into sports medicine and get our injured guys back on the court.

Bonus Question:  Will the Celtics trademark defense return this season?  With the departure of Tom Thibodeau to coach the Bulls, the Celtics have lost their defensive mastermind.  Stepping in to fill Thibodeau's shoes will be Lawrence Frank, who is a very good coach in his own right, but the Celtics will still miss Thibs'.  Also affecting the defense will be the absense of Kendrick Perkins who has been the anchor of the defense for the past 3 seasons.   The O'Neals will add more offense to the mix, but they can't come close to Perk's ability to shut down opposing centers.  The answer to this question will unfold as the season goes along and we get to see how the team's identity develops with the new pieces and without the old ones. 

Projected Record for 2010-11   60-22

FLCeltsFan 9/13/2010 08:50:00 AM Edit
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17 Responses so far.

  1. tb727 says:

    Great assessment FL. My prediction is 53-29. I just don't know how much better the team will be in the regular season than last year. I think their defensive tenacity won't match last year's team, unfortunately. Paul, Ray, KG are a year older, Shaq and Jermaine aren't as good as Perk defensively (although I think Jermaine will be very good defensively this year). Tony Allen's gone, and he was the Celtics' lock down defender. Delonte's a solid defensive player and light years better than Tony offensively. And Frank in place of Thibodeau is concerning.

    I hope this team can remain a Top 5 Def FG% team, but I have my doubts this year.

    I predict Heat over the Flakers in the Finals :(

    I also really hope I'm wrong!

  2. JR says:

    Nice write-up FL. I completely agree that the goal is to win a championship and nothing less. This is the Boston Celtics. We don't hang division or conference banners. It's going to be tough, but not impossible.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow. 60 wins? The homerism is riding high in here. I think even 50 will be tough to gain and lots of things will have to go right for that to happen. And stop crying about the Perkins injury. If Bynum was healthy to begin with, none of this would even be an issue in the frst place since LA would have won in 5. Rebounding was an issue for Boston all season long, and one of LA's strengths all season long. Stop the Pity party. Lakers were an injury away from a 3-peat ;) Take that to the bank.

  4. tb727 says:

    Yes and "if" Gasol wasn't given to the Flakers for no one, they'd be in the middle of the pack in the west dealing with mediocrity and Bean would've already bitched his way out of town. Take that to the bank and piss off.

  5. Anonymous says:

    LOL, what does Gasol have to do with the Celtics being an old, aging team? Put the "if" stories away. If the league wasn't such a cupcake league in the 60's, Boston wouldn't have had 8 championships. Don't forget Kobe getting his MVP chants in Boston a couple years ago either ;) Back then you guys wanted Doc and Ainge fired. And the Lakers getting Gasol is no different than Boston getting KG, Allen etc. The difference is the Lakers are always making good trades and don't go 20 years between contending seasons the same way Boston did. And Marc Gasol and OJ Mayo are working out great for Memphis.

    Flakers? Wow such a good comeback. Keep up the lame jabs. Enjoy the purple and gold this season, best franchise ever, bar none. Take THAt to the bank too ;)

    Don't forget the asterik for '08.

  6. Why do Laker fans feel the need to post on Celtics boards? Apparently they don't have any good blogs to post on so feel the need to spread their venom on Celtics blogs.

  7. tb727 says:

    OJ Mayo wasn't involved in the Gasol trade first off. The Celtics GAVE UP a 20-10 guy in Al Jefferson to get KG. The Flakers gave up no one, unless you count Javaris Crittenton and Kwame Brown of some significance. Get your facts straight before visiting a blog where you're not welcome to begin with.

    It's funny do you know who the Celtics beat all those years in the 1960s? Your Lakers, who were one of the teams. It's incredibly dumb for you to think it was a cupcake of a schedule back then. It was the PREMIER players on 10-12 teams. Imagine if all the over-expansion wasn't in play and there was only 10-12 teams consisting of the very best players today? It'd be nearly impossible to win at that rate.

    Lastly, we call them the Flakers around here. So get out of here if you don't like it. With all the rest of the Flaker internet trolls that pollute every sight.

    And remember 17 is more than 16, that's the only number that counts. Take that to the bank and please put an asterik next to your 2002 championship that belongs in Sacramento.

  8. Karl says:

    Great write up FL. I'm going to miss Scal.

  9. And 5 of their titles were taken from another franchise in Minneapolis. All of the Celtics titles were in Boston.

  10. shelbyl says:

    I haven't read any news articles except for that infamous tweet regarding Ray's resignation. Any official word on that? I'm still hoping that he'll indeed be back this year.

    Also speaking from my own sports blog experience, there will always be immature fans of rival teams that will come and try to piss on your wall. My advice: Just ignore them. They aren't worth your time. That's what we do.

  11. Bohemian says:

    I honestly believe we will get 55 wins or so but 60 is not entirely out of reach. Homerism? Funny coming from a fan of a team of cheaters. Go back to your blogs, Minneapolis Flakers fan! By the way TB, add another asterisk to the 2010 one...I wonder when they bought it if before the Finals, before the playoffs...

  12. Bohemian says:

    And if I say 55 is because it's a team focused on the playoffs. If we were interested in Division or Conference banners then I'm sure we would pass those 60 wins. We want the big prize though, so I predict a 53-56 season

  13. Shelbyl, there is a very good article today in the Globe about the Celtics letting Cliff go. Seems pretty official now. I think it's a big mistake on many levels.

  14. drwiAn says:

    Just dropping by this page, I'm a Celtics fan from the Philippines... was a nice discussion u have here, Lakers, for sure wont get a 17 before the Celts get an 18 and a 19. If the 19 isn't for us then it might be Wade's 2nd and not kobeys 6th. But banner 18 is not far from claiming its place in the rafters of TD BankNorth Garden. Celtics For Life!

  15. Michael says:

    Great post - I agree, if everyone stays healthy they will win the title, just like they would have the last two years if KG and Perkins hadn't gotten injured.

  16. CelticWolf says:

    To: The Anonymous Lakers Fan

    I think the Celtics winning over the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals was just on a level playing field. You see, Bynum is a 7-footer and no one in the 2008 Celtics lineup could have matched up with him if he was not injured - not Perk (6'10) or KG (6'11). Besides, they already had Gasol (7'0) and Odom (6'10) to contend with. It would be an even match-up if we had either one of the O'Neals that time to go against an uninjured Bynum. Even then, I still think the Celtics would have won because they had the championship hunger and really played as a team.

  17. The Celts have a good squad. I don't think Tony Allen is a good fit in Memphis. with any luck by mid season, the Celts can get him back via trade. And Luke Harangody is a BUM. Guy's not even 6'8" or whatever he is listed as. Max he is 6'4"

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