The Ageless Boston Celtics may be old, and they may not cruise through the regular season with the best record. But are they the best post-season and by definition the best team in the NBA? They are second, only to the Los Angeles Lakers. That's right, I'm calling it now: Celtics in 5 over Miami. Now that we've got that out of the way:
G Tony Gaffney(6'8, 205) was waived by Boston. However, they'll be sure to keep dibs on him playing in Turkey this year.
The Celtics might not have had the splashiest of summers, but they may have had the most effective summer of all.
Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal add experience and depth to the front-line. Along with Kendrick Perkins mid-season there'll be competition for minutes, but for Shaq it's his last chance arguably at a ring(untill he rides another team) and so he'll probably be on his best behavior(though he'll likely start due to his ego being too big to accept a bench role)
In addition, the Celtics bolstered their guard rotation significantly. Avery Bradley may be the long-term back-up for Celtics star Rajon Rondo and may very well push Robinson outside of the rotation and outside of the Celtics roster at the end of the year. Not mentioning that Delonte West is also a good defender and he'll come back from a 10-game NBA suspension for his bipolarness. Von Wafer adds scoring punch to that second unit. Finally, the Celtics did a pretty good job at retooling. Luke Harangody had a good summer and showed both range and rebounding. Glen Baby Davis also adds future size and rebounding at that position for when KG is done. Rondo's Rondo and Perkins is a legit center. Not bad for an NBA-contending title team.
Free Agency needs: None, the team addressed all of them in the off-season.
Prediction: Doc Rivers is riding a similar wave to Charlie Manuel, once hated now loved in Beantown. I'll give Doc the credit for getting this team to be a cohesive unit so quickly and I'll give Ainge the credit of doing an outstanding job getting young talent as strapped against the cap as they are. As I mentioned earlier,
this team is not going to coast through the regular season and probably won't really challenge Miami, but they don't have to challenge Miami now. They just have to do that when the playoffs come around, and I feel like the Celtics are a far better team in a 7 game series.
Prediction: 54-28, NBA finalists. Will they avenge that game-7 loss to the Lakers? It depends on their bench. Guys like Davis, Wafer and Robinson have to step up offensively, their loss was mostly due to the struggles of one Ray Allen. Avery Bradley showing flashes of potential wouldn't hurt either. Both teams made great moves in the off-season so to me, they're pretty much still at even strength. I predict it'll go to a game 7. Who wins? Who knows, who cares. As a Sixers fan, I hate it. As an NBA fan, I'll embask in the glory of two great teams playing ball.
Next up: The nearly-extinct Raptors.