Boston Celtics: Rebuild or One More Run?
Published: Monday, February 6, 2012
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2012 17:02
They're too old. They can't compete with the elite teams such as Miami or Chicago. Danny Ainge has to blow this team up. They have nothing left. They are the 2012 Boston Celtics.
In the words of country music star Toby Keith, "I aint as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was." This popular lyric could possibly help to explain the Celtics and the rollercoaster ride of a season the Green are having.
The Celtics currently sit at 12-10, which is good enough for second place in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference only trailing the Philadelphia 76ers.
Looking at that record, people might think that everything they are hearing about the Celtics is true. They are an over-the-hill basketball team. But maybe, just maybe it means that they are a team just hitting its stride.
The C's started off the season with three straight road games where they went 0-3. Then, they proceeded to win their next four games making them 4-3. It has been a roller-coaster ride up until recently.
Think about this, over their last 10 games, the Celtics are 8-2. During that stretch, they've beaten the likes of the Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic, New York Knicks and a 36-point victory over the Toronto Raptors.
The Celtics won seven of these games without the likes of star point-guard Rajon Rondo.
Rondo is having a career year averaging 14.4 points-per-game along with a league leading 9.2 assists-per-game. That also gives Rondo a PER of 19.4. Not too shabby for a guy who has yet to be put on the All-Star Team.
Ray Allen was also absent for many of these games. The reliable and seemingly ageless shooting-guard is also having a good season averaging 14.9 points-per-game. He is also shooting 56-percent from behind the arc and 90-percent from the free throw line.
Now that the Green are looking to be healthy, finally, Celtics fans have a reason to hope for the future. They went 7-3 with former first-round pick Avery Bradley at the point along a combination of Keyon Dooling and Marquis Daniels filling in for Allen.
Another good sign for Celtics fans is that their defensive statistics are just about as good as they have ever been allowing only 87 points-per-game which is second best in the NBA.
Despite all of these positive signs, there are still a number of reasons to be concerned about the C's going forward. They are ranked 29th overall in rebounds and are in desperate need of a big-man who can snag some rebounds.
The Celtics also need another scorer of some sort as they sit at 25th overall in points-per-game with 90.3. These are both needs that could be addressed at the Mar. 15 Trade Deadline.
There are a number of guys available who could fill both of these holes. Center Chris Kaman is available in New Orleans. Kaman is having a solid season averaging 9.2 points-per-game to go along with 6.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks-per-game.
Another option for a big man who is available is Joel Przybilla who did not catch on with a team at the start of the lockout shortened season. Przybilla's career numbers are not as impressive as Kaman's, but he only requires money while Kaman would have to be acquired through a trade. Przybilla averaged four points-per-game, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks over the course of an 11 year career.
Along with the need for a big man, the C's also need another bench scorer. There are a few guys around the league who are free agents who could fit that bill including combo-guard Gilbert Arenas, shooting-guard J.R. Smith, point-guard Rafer Alston, and small-forward Wilson Chandler.
These are all rather big names and might not be likely for the Green as they only have the veteran's minimum contract available to offer these players. Wilson Chandler is also a restricted free-agent which means that the Denver Nuggets can match any offer made to him. He would be a highly unlikely addition for Boston.
So as you can see, Celtics fans still have reason to believe in this team as the Green Machine gear up for one more run at championship banner number 18. Only time will tell if the C's can maintain these winning ways over the rest of the season, but if they play their cards right, we might just be talking about them deep in the playoffs.