I started thinking when I was looking at the Mood Meter on CelticsBlog that asked the mood of Celtics fans from Depressed to Ecstatic. I put that I am optimistic. But why am I optimistic? Is it the koolaid? Or is there a real solid reason to be optimistic?
Going into last season, I was excited about the team and very optimistic. Then the injuries started, even before the season started. Al's ankle injury, Banks' knee, and Tony's knee made a difference right from the beginning. Dickau went down with the Achilles injury. Perk was playing very well, but not seeing much playing time because Doc was showcasing Blount, who averaged more turnovers than rebounds. Then the big trade came and Wally, Kandi and Jones replaced Blount, Reed, Banks and Ricky. The biggest improvement there was in attitude. With Blount and Banks gone, the chemistry improved immediately.
It took a little bit for the team to mesh again after the trade but it seemed that Wally was fitting in very well right from the beginnning, and there as optimism again. Then Wally started to have knee problems. His jumper wasn't near as effective because he couldn't get the lift because of his knees. Then Perk and Al got hurt again and Pierce had elbow problems. But even with this new rash of injuries, there was a silver lining. We saw the emergence of Ryan Gomes which gave us reason for more optimism. I do believe that without the injuries the team would have won a lot more games and would have made the playoffs.
This year, I am once again very optimistic. What is there to be optimistic about? The players who were injured last year are healthy this year. The cancerous attitudes of Blount and Banks and to a certain point, Raef, are gone. I can see Pierce and Wally meshing together very well, as they started to before Wally started to have knee problems. I can see Tony Allen continuing where he left off at the end of last year, which was playing very well as a slashing player and defensive stopper. I can see Ryan Gomes being even better this year. I can see Delonte West being improved this year, whether he plays the point or the 2 guard. I can see Perk even better this year and being a defensive presence in the paint. I can see Al having a break out year. He is determined to silence his critics and to be the player everyone has been waiting for. I can see Leon Powe surprising a lot of people and contributing right away. I can see Pierce being even better than last year and working even harder to fit into the team game. I can see Green being improved and bringing excitement to the games and also winning the slam dunk contest.
Most importantly, I can see this team running and being a very efficient team because of having 2 new pure points. The addition of Telfair and Rondo have got to bring optimism. We haven't had point guards of this quality for a long, long time. They will run and the rest of the team will run with them and we will get easy baskets because of their speed and ability to find the open man. There is no doubt that our PG's will run this year, and the rest of the team will run with them if they don't want to be left on the bench.
Yes, there is much to be optimistic about. I am happy to see that I am not alone in being optimistic because the majority of votes have been in the optimistic range (albeit cautiously optimistic). The weak link as I see it is in our coaching. If Doc can improve his in game coaching and will take defense seriously this year, we should be rewarded for our optimism. I am optimistic... where is your mood meter?
I am right there with you, FL12. Every year, I'm optimistic about the chance to do better than the year before. I'm optimistic about the young kids improving. I'm optimistic that the chemistry will improve.
But a lot hinges on how well Doc coaches, especially defensively. Ainge made this comment last season, during a game in which he joined Tommy and Mike on the air. As they were talking about coaching strategies, Ainge said that its hard to teach guys how to score, (how to make the right decision to shoot, to drive, etc). But he said that you can always teach a player how to play defense. He's probably instigating that defense is about desire and concentration.
If that's the case, Doc has to make sure our guys have the desire and concentration to play solid defense for all 48 minutes. We know that we can score--but our pudding test will come on the defensive end.
My thoughts exactly Derren! My big concern this year is defense, but I think having Clifford Ray here will be an advantage as he will have the bigs rebounding and playing defense in the paint. That will be big toward getting everyone else to play defense.
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FL12, everywhere Clifford Ray has gone, he's improved the team's rebounding significantly (that may be an understatement--he's taken bad rebounding teams and made them into top rebounding teams almost overnight). How high do you think we can climb this season? We have a young frontcourt, but the rebounding talent is there with Perkins, Jefferson and Dwayne Jones.
Hmmm... you must have had cheesy enchillada's that night, FL ;D
Right you are. I know that Gomes will get more playing time this season than what he averaged last season, so that will help with our rebounding total. I'd like to be optimistic and think that Powe will get some playing time right off the bat and help us with our rebounding (and inside scoring), but a big part of me says not to get over my head so quickly. I'd be more than happy hearing about Powe dominating the D-League.
BUT, if he's far ahead of the rookie curve and ready to step in for some minutes, I don't see any reason to doubt him helping our rebounding.
With Perk, Jefferson, Gomes and DJ (holding out Ratliff because we'll have to wait and see if he's dealt before the season starts, and holding out on Powe just to be conservative), we are young, but the rebounding effort will be there. We were 28th in rebounding last year. With Clifford Ray working with our young guys, breaking the top 15 would be a big step forward. I mean, we are green-in-the-gills young. Perk is in his 4th year (more like 3rd because he didn't play much in his rookie and sophomore seasons), Jefferson is in his 3rd (more like 2nd because last year was injury filled), Gomes is in his 2nd, and Powe is going to be celebrating his rookie campaign.
Still would be nice to have a veteran rebounder on the team, just in case.