We have been blaming youth and inexperience for our losses over the past 3 years of Doc's tenure as coach. A funny thing happened on the way to this off season. The kids have grown up and we don't have youth and inexperience to blame any more.
Perk is going on his 5th season. He didn't get much playing time his first two seasons, and was injured this past season. But he has been in the league for 4 seasons and has improved each season but hasn't been able to have a break out season due mostly to injuries. Jermaine O'Neal also came into the league directly from high school and it wasn't until his 5th season that he showed any promise of being an all star player. With 4 seasons in the league, Perk is a veteran and hopefully will follow O'Neal and break out this season.
Al, Tony and Delonte are all going on their 4th season in the league. All three have been slowed by injury as well, but still they have 3 seasons of experience behind them. It seems as though they also can be considered veterans. We saw Al break out last season and play at an all star level much of the season. He averaged a double double for the year and I have a feeling that he is just scratching the surface of what he will be able to do. Tony also was showing all star talent before he went down with the torn ACL. He is ahead of schedule on his rehab and should be ready in plenty of time for training camp. Hopefully he can get back to where he was when he was injured. Delonte has been a steady player for us the past two seasons, after an injury plagued rookie year. He has improved from year to year and should come back better next season also and hopefully be able to stay healthy.
Gomes and Green are going on their 3rd seasons in the league. They may not be considered veterans, but they definitely aren't rookies any more and with 2 full seasons behind they have to be considered experienced players. Gomes plays beyond his years and will rarely hurt the team when he is on the floor. Green still has a long way to go but he has improved considerably in his first two seasons and we can expect even more improvement from both of these players for the upcoming season.
Rondo is just entering his second season, but this kid didn't play like a roookie at the end of last season. He has such great reflexes and court awareness that he may just break out this season. Of course he will still make some mistakes because of inexperience, but he will do way more good than bad. The only knock on Rondo seemed to be his jumper and I would be happy to bet that he will come back with a decent jumper next season.
Danny was saying that he gave Doc the contract so that the team would have continuity. We can think the same thing of the players. It seems that with the core of this group together for several years now, the chemistry and continuity should begin to be a factor. Pierce is calling for more veterans on the team. Well, we have been growing some veterans right here in Boston. It seems to me that we have stuck with them this far, we should give them a chance to see it through. Any players we trade now are on the verge of breaking and if we trade them, we may see them becoming all stars for another team sooner rather than later.
We can no longer blame youth and inexperience for our mistakes. Doc was given an extension and vote of confidence by Danny and the owners. We have a top draft pick coming in. If we don't get off to a good start this season, we can no longer blame youth and inexperience and hopefully not injuries, either. Our players all have several years of experience behind them. We either have to admit that our players don't have what it takes or it is our coach and the system that he has them in that is holding them back. Either way, this year there are no excuses.