by DERRENMATTS More defense and become more uptempo. Those are the keys to this offseason. Defense is big, especially in the playoffs, and without a better defensive team, we will not step into the upper echelon of strong NBA teams. Getting Greg Oden is paramount towards this cause--he boosts our defensive makeup a whole notch instantly. He'll erase a lot of our defensive mistakes, and we all know this team makes a lot of defensive mistakes (that's an understatement). Getting back a healthy Tony Allen is also important, and we already know that Rajon is an incredible defensive player who may lead the league in steals one day. But this won't be enough. We need defensive improvements from every single player on the team, especially those who will be logging in big minutes every game. This includes Jefferson, Pierce, Gomes, Delonte, Perk and Wally. They don't need to be great individual defenders, but be able to play good team defense.
Once our defense improves, our running game will also take off. Consequently, our defense will spark our transition game. That's why we need to become more uptempo. Guys who haven't been running much in the past must start to run at every opportunity. This especially means Pierce, who may be the least enthusiastic about running. Wally and Gomes may be on the slower side, but they do give the transition game a good effort most of the times. With our defense forcing steals and grabbing defensive rebounds, our guards and wing players will get ample opportunity to fly downcourt and garnish easy fastbreak points. Manufacturing points this way is a must for any serious contending team. Right now, we do have a good amount of players who can play uptempo and fly downcourt and finish breaks--Rajon, Delonte, Tony, Gerald and Allan Ray, plus Wally, Pierce and Gomes (they aren't burners, but they can finish breaks). The team just needs to get into the mindset to run whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Doc is here for at least another year, and if he's ever going to get fans on his side, he's going to have to do it by turning this team into a winner again. And to do this, he's going to have to do what he has been promising us the past couple of seasons--that we are going to be a better defensive team and play the uptempo game more. We can all see that defense is a major weakness and how stagnant and predictable we sometimes get on offense. We need to turn the tables and transform our weaknesses into strengths. Then we'll be ready to compete and regain our spot as the conference's best team. I can't wait to see the Pistons, the Bulls, and the Celtics competing for the top spot again like it was in the late 80's and early 90's. I'm going to enjoy the epic battles and the new histories we'll write as we wrestle and clash with these two teams. But in the end, it'll be the Green team standing victorious in the Eastern Conference, proudly holding the Celtics' flag in truimph.