The Celtics have started the preseason 2-0 and I know that doesn't mean anything in the long scheme of things, but what I have seen from the team is very encouraging. Semih Erden has proved to be a lot better than most people expected. He runs the floor very well, has good hands, and holds his own on defense and if he keeps hitting that hook shot, Tommy is going to absolutely love this kid. Doc's going to have to find minutes for this kid. The 15th spot is still up for grabs. I'm leaning toward Stephane Lasme right now. He's been the most impressive of the 3 players on the bubble so far. The little nagging injuries already are a bit concerning - JO's hamstring, Delonte's back, Rondo's hand - and I'm hoping these work their way out in preseason and they are able to stay healthy through the season. The Celtics are deep, but still need everyone to stay healthy.
Speaking of staying healthy, Phil Jackson is talking about making Andrew Bynum just a part time player. He hasn't had a healthy season yet. He was enjoying life and living large this summer so he put off his surgery and now won't be ready until at least December. Let me get this straight... they are paying this guy $14 million a year to play part time? Must be nice. When thinking about this, just remember the bargain the Celtics have had in Perk.
Doc has so many options this season with such a deep bench, especially when Perk gets back. He can use a powerful front court with Perk and Shaq who might not be the fastest but they sure will be intimidating. He can use a front court of KG and Semih who can run the floor and get up and down quickly and have length but not necessarily the brute strength of Perk and Shaq. Or he can mix and match with Jermaine O'Neal and Big Baby that would fall somewhere in between. And, for the first time, the Celtics are deep at the point. Delonte or Nate or even Quisy can handle the ball on the second unit. Delonte is a starting caliber point guard as well should Rondo go down for any time. A Nate and Delonte backcourt on the second unit is going to be a force to be reckoned with. Sure is a lot better than waiting until the end of the season and signing a PG who won't quite be with the system by the playoffs.
Many of the Celtics joined in a softball game at Fenway yesterday. Nate and Shaq both tweeted about it. Seems that along with being a good PG, Rondo is quite the softball player. Nate credited him with hitting 3 home runs. Shaq said he only hit 2. I love that the Celtics are hanging together and building chemistry, but when I saw that the Celtics were playing softball, the first thing that came to my mind was Larry Bird. Bird loved to play softball and one off season when he caught a ball he looked down and his finger was turned around the wrong way. He had surgery to put a pin in it. The pin was eventually removed, but the finger never was right. Was glad to hear that no injuries were reported in yesterday's game.
I already hate these new technical rules. David Stern is ruining the league. I'd much rather see players show emotion than have the game stopped 10 times a game for ridiculous technical fouls called for throwing up hands or rolling their eyes or walking toward a ref or away from a ref or frowning after a foul or whatever stupid reasons they are giving T's out for this season. In the meantime, it appears that LeJerk is going to be exempted from these rules. He got away with complaining about a foul last night with no technical called. If they're going to call it, they need to call it on everyone. But, I guess that fairness is a bit too much to ask of Herr Stern. I really, really wish someone would have the courage to get him removed. The league would be so much better without his corruption in there.
Doc is talking about staying with the Celtics long term now. Just this summer, he was agonizing about leaving the team to spend more time with his family. I think that this summer was a critical juncture in his family's lives. Austin is a senior and making the decision about college and is about to have a big season as the top rated prospect in the nation. His son Jeremiah is playing at Indiana. Callie is in her senior season and playing volleyball for the Gators. His family all voiced their opinion that they thought he should stay with the Celtics and that helped to make his decision to come back to avenge last season's loss. Now with that critical summer over, he is realizing how good he has it with the Celtics. He and Danny have a great relationship. He loves the Celtics. He loves the organization and now he is thinking of the challenge of rebuilding the team after this current window closes. At first I wasn't a big Doc Rivers fan but I have grown to be one. It would be great to have that continuity after this two year window closes to rebuild the team into another winner. Long time coaches are rare, but if the fit is right, it happens. Doc could become the Jerry Sloan of Boston.
Next up is Toronto. There have been hard feelings between the Celtics and the Raptors since that Gerald Green dunk at the end of a blow out many years ago. Not many players remain on either team from that season but the ill will is still there among Raptors fans. Maybe we'll get to see Jermaine O'Neal's debut on Sunday. I love what I'm seeing from this team. I can't wait for the next game.