I have come to the realization that Celtics Green has some of the most knowledgeable posters on the net. The post below from Derrenmatts is one that is a terrific example of this. I am hoping that Danny keeps Dwayne Jones around for the very reason that Derren mentions. We need rebounders and Jones is a very good one. Pittsnogle as a big man doesn't address this because he is more comfortable on the perimeter than under the basket. Even Scal doesn't fill that need near as well as Jones. Jones got 24+ minutes in only 2 games last year and he responded with 10 and 13 rebounds in them. Doc wants to run, but in order to run we need the basketball and so we need to have players who can rebound the ball. Perk, Powe, Gomes, Jones and Ratliff are all good rebounders. Rondo and West are very good rebounders for guards. Hopefully all will find playing time this season.
As far as the turnovers, our turnovers were cut down after the trade. Blount was averaging almost 4 a game when he was traded. I think our turnovers will further be cut down this year with pure points running the offense and not as much dribbling into triple teams by Pierce.
Great observations Derren... More rebounds, fewer turnovers and injuries and the Celtics will be a force to reckon with for sure.
Last season, we should have been a much better team. I think we had a right to use youth as an excuse, being that we were pretty young and inexperienced. But even with youth, we should have been better. Losing Jefferson in training camp hurt us some because we were ready to use him more as an offensive option. Losing Tony Allen to legal problems and a bum knee hurt because at the conclusion of the previous season, he came on strong and we hoped to capitalize on his improvements. Had he not have been injured, we could have continued with using Ricky Davis off the bench, which was a strategy that worked for us the year before.
But even with all that, there was still reason for optimism because Delonte was looking like a solid PG and Pierce was playing extremely well. Ricky was also having a strong season.
But here's what killed us. We were a terrible rebounding team, and we gave up way too many turnovers. We ranked 24th in the league in rebounding (up 3 slots from the previous season, but still very poor) and we ranked second to the bottom in TO's per game. Giving away offensive possesions and not securing defensive rebounds gave opposing teams too many second chance opportunities to stick the fork in us. No matter how many points we could put on the scoreboard, we were giving up more than we scored.
We may not have Detroit Pistons-like defense, but one has to wonder with our defense, if we lowered our turnovers and rebounded to the point where we were at least an average rebounding team (ranking 15th in the league instead of 24th), could we have been a better, more tolerable team? Could we have been the Bulls of '05 (on the verge of breaking out)? I mean, we played teams tough for most games, only having a 4th quarter lapse that cost some wins. We lost a lot of close games that we may have won if we played a few possessions better. Had we been a better rebounding team and had we taken care of the ball better, I don't think its a stretch to think we could have won at least 41 games to pull to .500.
This season, if we improve our rebounding numbers and cut our turnovers down drastically, even if we don't bring in a veteran big man or another star player, but stick with what we already have, its not hard to imagine being at least 3 ~ 5 games better than last year's 33 win team. If we improve our defense and cut down the amount of easy shots we give up on the perimeter and in the lanes, we improve another 3 ~ 5 games. Remember how many close games we had lost last season? Those losses were attributed to inexperience, a lack of defense, costly turnovers and a lack of timely rebounding. We improve in those areas, and I don't think anyone can dismiss a 45 ~50 win season.
Keep these stats in mind, and when the season rolls along, keep stats of these key categories:
24 out of 30 in rebounding
29 out of 30 in turnovers committed
Improving in these areas will boost our win total. And if we step up our defensive intensity, even by just a smudge, we move into the winning bracket and look like a young team on the verge of becoming a formidable team. [More] source: Celtics Green -Derrenmatts