Dallas is starting from scratch. Marion was the only starter that was even on the team last year. They have talented veterans who are playing their game. The Celtics have a ton of new pieces to fit onto a very complex system on both ends of the floor. We are not going to change our system based around Rondo, Paul and KG. Dallas will actually struggle more when Dirk comes back because the others will have to adjust to playing with Dirk. Right now they have no stars that demand adjustment from other people.
Or, put another way: at NO point this year have the Celtics fielded a lineup that was on the court for even one minute last year.
Dallas is 4-1 with huge roster turnover and no Dirk.
It's silly to panic after 4 games, but I think there are a few things we can already say about this team.
1. It ain't winning anything playing Sully and Bass major minutes at the 5.
2. Paul Pierce cannot be relied upon to carry the team like he did in the past.
3. Boston must play at a faster pace than in the past, particularly when you've got Rondo on the court with our younger, faster bench.
4 of our starting 5 are the same as last year, and that hasn't made much difference. We're also seeing the exact same problems at the beginning of this year that we saw at the end of last year (everything going to crap when KG isn't on the floor).
Fundamentally, though, the idea that other players have to adjust to either KG or Paul may be the big problem. Neither of those guys are great enough any more than every one else should have to adjust to them.
You do realize our entire bench didn't play with us last year? Of course we'll struggle when KG is not on the floor. You think Terry can come from Dallas, Sullinger from Ohio State, Jeff Green from Heart surgery, Courtney Lee from Houston, Barbosa from Toronto/Indiana and they can play defense like Rondo, Paul, Bass and KG? Give them some time.
Paul and KG may not be in their prime, but they are great at what they do. They are incredible defenders, shooters and passers with high IQ and excellent physical shape. It's difficult to play with that level of IQ and experience on the floor. Bass and Bradley struggled last year. Jeff Green struggled the year before. However, in time Bradley and Bass became very good. Same will be true for Terry, Lee, Green and Sullinger.