Today I am thinking about Al Jefferson and the bad rap he got last season as a malingerer and people were labeling him as a bust and he really took a lot for not healing and not playing well after the ankle injury. Then he had surgery and healed quite quickly and even played just 2 weeks after an emergency appendectomy. Finally healthy, he is playing very well and everyone is singing his praises. Today's Globe article by Shira mentions that Al had minor surgery to remove discomfort from a tendon. I would expect this kind of misinformation from Peter may but am surprised to see it from Shira. I am amazed that they are still trying to gloss it over. Al had bone chips removed from his ankle. It wasn't exploratory and it wasn't just minor tendon discomfort. There was a definite problem and when they finally fixed it, he healed quickly and proved that he wasn't just milking the sprains. Reporting otherwise is a big disservice to Al.
This season it is Perk who has been injured and is getting the "bust" label by a lot of fans. How soon we forget the way he played just before the shoulder injury last season. He got all of 19 minutes playing time his entire first season. He played in only 60 games and averaged only 9 minutes per game in those. His third season, he didn't get much playing time until Blount was traded and then averaged only 19 minutes per game. When he finally did did get playing time, he was producing and looked good and then he injured the shoulder. Over the summer he had the shoulder surgery and so didn't get to work out over the summer and was working on getting his conditioning back coming into training camp. He then had the plantar fasciitis hit. Many players have been plagued with this. Tim Duncan had it and wasn't able to play well at all and they shut him down because of it and he missed close to 30 games. Perk missed 10 and has been trying to play through it. Because of the pain in his foot, he hasn't been able to move well or to get any lift. In the first half against the Hawks, he felt good and his foot for at least a half wasn't hurting and he produced big time on both ends of the court. Then the pain hit again in the third period. Yes it is his 4th season but he had very little playing time his first 2 1/2 seasons. If we are labeling a player out of high school a bust because he isn't producing more by his 4th season, then Jermaine O'Neal has to be a bust as well. It wasn't until his 5th season that we saw any real production from him, and he didn't have the injuries that Perk has had to deal with. Give Perk a chance. He will be a double double guy when he is healthy and gets the playing time.
I just don't understand the lack of playing time for Powe. This kid does good things whenever he is on the court. He rebounds, plays defense, gives us a post presence and some toughness. But yet, even with the injuries to our bigs, hasn't gotten playing time. I really, really don't understand. Now with Scal coming back tonight, he will probably lose even the 5-6 minutes he has been getting. We are a better team when Powe is on the floor because of his defensive intensity and he needs to be playing.
Do we want to win now or do we want to get a high draft pick? This is the dilemma that most Celtics fans face and are torn between. It is hard for me not to want the Celtics to win and so I pull for them every game to win. I can't get down on the team for losing though because they are playing hard against some pretty steep odds. Every time there is another injury the team loses a bit of chemistry that they have built and have to reacclimate to the new lineups and new plays that have to be reworked due to the missing players. We are seeing improvement in individual players. Rondo, West, Jefferson, Gomes, Green all are showing improvement and I think that if we can get over the hump, this team is going to come together and be a contender, whether or not we get Oden or Durant. However having a high draft pick would definitely add to this team a great deal. I think we will be fine if Pierce comes back and we start winning, but we will be even better if he doesn't. Either way, I still love this team and will root for them every game. I am not ready to give up on our young players as yet.
Rondo is our PG of the future. I can't get over how good this kid is really going to be. He is just lacking a consistent jumper to become a top PG in this league. His defense, court sense, basketball IQ and overall ability are very exciting. He also has the work ethic that will get him to the next level. Reports are that he spends hours before and after practice and before games just working on his jumper. It will come and with it, our debate about the PG spot will stop.
Tonight's game may be ugly if Al can't play well tonight. We need him to be 100% against Bosh, who will be buoyed by his spot on the All Star Team. Of course, Doc could play Powe to give Al a break, but he probably won't. Doc will play Scal who can't do near what Powe does in there. Also, the Raptors will reach .500 with a win tonight and you know that will be an incentive to play hard. We will need to play both halves tonight or our losing streak will reach 10. Which would please the half of the fans who are cheering for Oden but will disappoint those of us who are still cheering for a win. I know that our young players are trying hard for a win. I just can't see any of them tanking. They are going to work hard and it will come together one of these days when we can get some relief from the injuries so that players can get some consistency in their roles. Of course, a new coach would help also.