After 149 dismally depressing days, the NBA lockout is finally over. Like many basketball fans, I was practically in shellshock at the thought of the 2011-2012 season being cancelled. I tossed and turned at night thanks to horrific nightmares about Billy Hunter, David Stern, and Derek Fisher greedily tearing the league apart. Channeling my desire for NBA action through NBA 2K12 even lost its luster, with none of this year’s draft class being available for play due to the lockout. Aggravation struck every time I caught a glimpse of who the Celtics should have been playing against that day, and irritation every time distressing news about the Celtics surfaced, typically involving Shaq taking shots at guys on the team to promote his book, or speculation that Allen Iverson wanted to be seen in green.
However, yesterday morning I woke up to the joyous news that the lockout was apparently over, and my heart was lifted. It now becomes clear just how important this condensed season will be for Boston’s aging squad, and it is imperative that Danny Ainge makes some smart decisions to help the Celtics’ Core Four bring their second championship banner to Boston. This could very well be the last opportunity for some of the older guys to contribute to a successful playoff run, as Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Jermaine O’Neal’s contracts all expire at the end of this season.
While the Celtics may be aging, hell even old, they are still capable of a championship run if managed correctly. Danny Ainge needs to make the right moves by bringing in some defense and physicality to the center position, as well as reasonably effective support players off the bench who are better than current scrubs such as Troy Murphy and Aleksandar Pavlovic.
Furthermore, Doc Rivers needs to coach intelligently and carefully, making sure not to overuse his aging starters during the condensed regular season, while still putting up wins against inconsistent and less experienced teams. Rookie JaJuan Johnson’s development is key to the future of the Celtics, and hopefully KG can help mold the young talented big man into a legitimate threat on both sides of the ball.
It was only seven months ago that the Celtics bounced the significantly younger legged New York Knicks from the playoffs in a dramatic four game sweep, and I expect to see the same sort of enthusiasm from them when they open the season against the Knicks on Christmas day. Basketball is officially back, and as far as I’m concerned, a shortened season is as good as any season for bringing home Banner 18. Jon Jacobson 11/27/2011 03:12:00 PM Tweet Edit