2009-10 Boston Celtics Season Preview
It’s not easy to repeat in any sport and in the NBA it seems especially tough. Many thought that last year’s Boston Celtics (62- 20), who finished first in the Atlantic Division, could make it two NBA crowns in a row. They certainly started strong, posting a 27- 2 record. But by midseason the Celts were showing signs of fatigue and in February star Kevin Garnett injured his knee in Utah against the Jazz. The team started to show signs of wear and tear. One problem for the 2008- 2009 Celtics lay in their reserves. They just weren’t as skilled or as talented as the guys who came off the bench in the prior season when they won the championship. The good news was that even with Garnett out, the team continued to play some of the best defense in the NBA. One reason was that center Kendrick Perkins (8.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.3 APG), who averaged almost 2 BPG, stepped up big. Still, in the post-season the team faltered.
In the area of small forward, you’ve got two of the best in the NBA: Paul Pierce (20.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.6 APG) and Garnett (15.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.5 APG). Pierce is durable and tenacious and Garnett is skilled, tough and masterful. Power forward/center Rasheed Wallace (12.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.4 APG) has power and emotion. Perkins at center is a defensive gem. Finally, forward Glen Davis (7.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.9 APG) is a solid player off the bench.
Point man Rajon Rondo (11.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 8.2 APG) has come a long way in three seasons. Last year he was fifth in the league in steals and sixth in assists. Rondo utilizes his aggressiveness and jumping ability on both ends of the court. Shooting guard Ray Allen (18.2 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.8 APG) is an excellent wing man, ably hitting from midrange and downtown. His foul shot connects 95% of the time. Add Marquis Daniels (13.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.1 APG) to the shooting guard mix and you’ve got a whole lot of seasoned depth at that spot. The one worry is at point where there’s little backup.
Once again, Boston sports one of the best defenses in the league. Coach Doc Rivers has a penchant for developing players into defensive forces. The addition of veteran swingmen Wallace and Daniels certainly adds depth in this area. If you’re looking for a weakness, it’s the age factor. Ray Allen, Garnett, Pierce, Wallace and House are all over 30 and Daniels is closing in fast on that magic number. They’re all in good shape, but the fact is that injuries occur more often and take longer to heal once you cross the 30-year threshold.
If Garnett is full-strength, then Boston has a fine shot at going all the way. But if his effectiveness is in anyway hampered due to last season’s injury, then this is a club that disappears halfway through the playoffs. There’s too much talent on this team for the Celtics to miss the playoffs and there’s too much for them to finish anywhere but first in the Atlantic Division. After that watch Garnett’s knee: it will forecast the future.