I made an article today for a small unknown amateur website, as a Celtic fan I would like to share it here. I am not a professional writer and I'm from the Netherlands so there could be some grammar mistakes. I made this because I love to do it and I'm a huge Boston fan! Celtics for life:
Boston Celtics in trouble, or still NBA title contenders?
Miami, Saturday June 9 2012, with 28.3 seconds on the clock the Boston Celtics are trailing 99-88 to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals game 7. Celtics coach Doc Rivers suffers season elimination and substitutes his big 3 (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen). Even the Heat fans gave the three Boston players a standing ovation, while their rivalry has been a hard fought one since LeBron James joined the Heat. An emotional moment for every Celtics fan, this would most likely be the end of an era in Boston, with the aging players and the expiring contracts of Garnett and Allen. Doc Rivers shed a tear of two on the bench and realized how much he loved the Celtics 2011/2012 team and how close they came to another NBA finals. It probably took LeBron James his best game of his life in Game 6 to take the C’s to an all deciding game 7 and finally beat the Celtics. That’s how close Boston came and this with realizing the Celtics had a record under 0.500 at the all-star break.
Three weeks after last season ended Kevin Garnett who was seriously thinking about retirement decided to give it at least one more shot and signed a new contract with the Celtics. After KG returned also Paul Pierce continued playing, wanting to retire alongside Garnett. Ray Allen left his brothers to join the Miami Heat of all teams. Which left the Celtics fans with a bittersweet feeling and made Garnett deleting Allen’s phone number. Although Ray Allen left there was a big excitement in the city of Boston about the new season. Not only Garnett came back but the C’s signed veterans Jason Terry & Chris Wilcox. More important the Celtics also signed young talent in Jeff Green (coming back from heart surgery), Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass and drafting Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo. With Garnett playing like he did in the playoffs and Rajon Rondo playing like an MVP in the playoffs and waiting for Avery Bradley (was out till January) who looks like a defensive superstar this team looked even stronger than last year.
Somehow the Boston Celtics are in trouble and there is nothing of the success Boston fans expected. The 2012/2013 season is halfway and the Boston Celtics are once again facing a losing record (20-21) and are currently holding the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. The team started of sloppy and inconsistent. In the last week of December/first week of January the team lost 4 straight and got outscored by 79 points in four games. Then Avery Bradley made his comeback and suddenly the Celtics looked like the team of last year. After losing 4 straight the Celtics won 6 in a row with impressive and relatively easy victories against good teams like Indiana, Atlanta and New York. The C’s looked good with a great Bradley and an improving Jared Sullinger who is proving to be the steal of the ’12 draft. But the happiness didn’t last for long as the C’s played horrible but won against the Bobcats and Suns but then lost 4 straight again with a big shame performance in Detroit.
How to fix this team and is it even possible? Do the Boston fans have to be worried? Last year they had a losing record as well at this stage of the season and look where they ended, can we trust on another rally like that? I don’t think so, there are more problems surrounding this team. The off season acquisitions haven’t brought what we all thought they would. Jason Terry looks horrible and is not himself (yet). Courtney Lee and Jeff Green are inconsistent although they have shown some descent performances lately. Late addition Leandro Barbosa isn’t adding anything except playing in garbage time and Chris Wilcox have been injured for most part of the season. But it’s not all on them, the core doesn’t look good either. Rajon Rondo is having an exceptional performance on one day and then the other day he looks not interested and trying to make the highlight play all the time. Paul Pierce is having a horrible shooting season so far which hopefully won’t make him an all-star. Kevin Garnett has been solid but not even close to the KG of last playoffs although he might save some of that for the post-season and Avery Bradley looks fantastic at defensive but not at offense and is still very injury prone as he suffered a rib injury just after being back for 2 weeks. The only bright spot on the roster is PF/C Jared Sullinger who is improving every game and looks like a potential 15/10 guy on any given night. The team itself is inconsistent on defense, showing sparks of excellence but nothing more and it doesn’t look like the C’s can play good D at every game for 48 minutes. They are really bad at rebounding and relies heavily on it jump shots. So how could this team improve? Do we have to rely on their experience and that Boston will turn it around in the second half of the season? Or do the Celtics need to shake things up, make a trade or two to either start completely rebuilding or add some good rebounding big mans.
What kind of players could improve the Celtic roster and which players could be available via trade. If the right offer is there the C’s could go for a trade to acquire either DeMarcus Cousins or Josh Smith. This would be blockbuster trade which will change the team drastically. The Celtics have some trade value with Bradley, Rondo, Sullinger and maybe Lee and Jeff Green (although his contract looks horrible so I doubt he will add any value at this time). The question is how far GM Danny Ainge is able to go and what players he is able to say goodbye to. Probably anyone except Kevin Garnett as Ainge is known to be not afraid to make a big deal which have big impact on the team. We got one month left to the trade deadline and as a Celtic fan you should listen carefully to every trade rumor but don’t believe any of them before the trade is actually made.
The Boston Celtics are not title contenders at this point but they will make the playoffs and then it’s suddenly a team no one would like to face. If the Celtics get things together they still have so much talent, experience and they know how to get things done at the right time. If they do, they are able to beat anyone in the East, even have a shot at the Miami Heat. The question is can they do it, the next three games could say a lot when the Celtics play against the Knicks, in Atlanta and against Miami (Allen returns in Boston). If there is no improvement within the next two weeks don’t be too surprised when Ainge pulls the trigger for a blockbuster deal before the trade deadline.