Last night in the waning moments of the Rockets' blow out of the Celtics, Tommy got really fired up about an SI article that downs the Celtics and Ainge. Here are Tommy's words as transcribed from the telecast:
Ainge has put together a nucleus of a team that could be very very productive for 6-7 year if they hold on to all these players. They are very you. There here hit with mulitple injuries to key players this year. The first 6 players on the roster were out for protracted periods of time. The young kids were thrown in and told to swim. They learnde their craft a little bit better and when Pierce came back they started to really show what they could do and mixed well. I think you can take shots at pople but this team righr now... I've said it several times but if I were going to coach again, this is the type of team I would like to coach. Not saying I want to coach but this is the type of team with young, ambitious, feisty players... and they are all character kids. They just don't give up. They're going to only get better all along ... like this kid right there, Leon Powe (who was at the time diving for a loose ball).
I agree with Tommy and maybe am in the minority in that I would love to see the majority of this team kept together. We have seen the benefit of being patient with Al this season and I feel that if we are patient with many of the other players we will start to reap benefits. Perk, Rondo, Gomes, Powe, West, Allen, even Telfair will eventually emerge to be very good players.
If you compare Perk's 1st 4 years to Jermaine O'Neal's first 4 years, Perk actually has a slight advantage, in spite of the injuries and a lack of playing time. Perk 3.8 PPG 3.7 RPG .9 BPG
O'Neal 3.7 PPG 3.1 RPG .7 BPG Last night they put Green's stats over his first 90 games compared to McGrady's stats over his first 90 games. They are very similar: McGrady 7.5 PPG FG% 43.4% 3 pt FG% 29.5% FT% 72.6%
Green 8.0 PPG FG% 44.4% 3 pt FG% 40.3% FT% 80.6% We can't say whether Perk will become as good as O'Neal for certain, but I believe he will be, and even better. I believe that Green can be just as good as McGrady with a little time and patience. I also think that Rondo is going to be a top 5 point guard. He has all the tools and when his jumper becomes consistent (because it will... he works too hard for it not to), he will be the complete package.
But the big advantage to keeping this group together is going to be the chemistry that they build along the way. Chemistry is often underrated but is one of the key components of building a championship team. We have a lot of character guys on this team as Tommy mentioned. I don't want an Artest or an Iverson who will make more headlines off the court than on. I want guys like Perk, Powe, Gomes, West, and Al who have good character and will form a strong nucleus of hard working players who want to represent the Celtics with pride.
I don't think we are that far off. We certainly aren't as bad as our record would indicate. Injuries have derailed the progress of this team all season and still continue to do so. But with all the injuries, we are seeing individual growth in players and this will go a long way to making us a very, very good team next season. I'm with Tommy. This is going to be a very, very good team if they can stay together and continue to grow as they have this year. We will get a good draft pick that can either come in and help us right away or be traded for a player who can. Hopefully Doc will be replaced after this year for a coach who is better at game management. I wouldn't mind Tommy coaching this team. He bleeds green and has won championships as a player and coach and knows how to get there. But most of all, I agree that this team is going to be very, very productive for 6-7 years to come if they can stay together.
It could be. I want this team to be the way the Sacramento Kings were in the day. Very balanced. Very talented. Very smart. It's especially realistic if we get Oden. I don't care what anyone says. I don't accept the results of the playoff series between the Kings and Lackers when the refs helped the Lackeys and allowed Kobe to mug Bibby. That was crooked and everyone saw it