We are officially in the slooooow season. There wasn't a single article in any of the New England papers that cover the Celtics. Nothing in the Herald, Globe, MetroWest Daily, Projo, Worcester Telegram, Enterprise, Courant, SouthCoast Today, Daily News Tribune, or Eagle Tribune. You would think that at least one of them would have at least a fluff piece about how hard Perk is working, how the new players are settling in, or even some of the players the Celtics are interested in. In tracking down the links, I see reports from just about every other team about how they are going after this player or that player. Yet, nothing on the Celtics. Either the Celtics organization has some very tight lipped people, or nothing is going on. Thank goodness for blogs!
First, the Daily Herald that covers our D-League team has an article about how the Flash is being patterned after the Jazz. It tells us that Danny requested that the Celtics be affiliated with the Flash. Red's Army seems to think this is further indication that Danny is insane. Or, it could just mean that Danny likes the way they are running the team.
Hoopsworld gives us a free agency update on all the players the Celtics haven't signed. China Daily reports that 2 Eastern Conference teams have invited Wang Zhizhi to work out. He was the Chinese National team's best player in summer league and he does have some NBA experience. The Celtics should be one of the teams taking a look at him, but as I said above, there aren't any reports from the Celtics as to who they are targeting. Not even FSN has reported anything on the Celtics. But Wang would be a good player to look at.
Hoopsworld also look at the high risers from fantasy basketball. Al Jefferson tops the list. Associated Content has Big Baby topping the list of the best second round picks in Summer League. FSN has a video from the draft that is interesting to watch.
NBA Glue says that the Atlantic division is up for grabs but projects the Celtics to come in first in spite of our defensive liabilities in the past. I really hope we have a better defensive team this season. Of course I have hoped for that for the past 3 seasons also.
Why they've got a shot: The addition of Ray-Ray gives Boston three players capable of averaging at least 20 points a game, so offense clearly isn't a problem. Pierce, Jefferson and Allen will take most of the scoring load off of Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins, who haven't been great scorers in the past but do a nice job on the defensive end. Depth is another strong point for Boston this season: they've got a great starting five, but with guys like Tony Allen, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green and Glen Davis ready to contribute off the bench, it's going to be hard for opposing teams to find time to rest. Why they might not: Defense. Despite Rondo and Perkins being good defenders, Pierce and Allen aren't exactly 25 anymore and Jefferson's D is still being worked on. Tony Allen and Ryan Gomes will be a breath of fresh air off the bench, but until a stronger defensive core can develop, it's going to be a rocky road. Projected Division Place: 1st
It's nice to see that the Celtics legendary players aren't the only ones who are flopping around as GMs. SI.com tells us that Michael Jordan is on his last try to make his mark as a GM after failing in Washington. Hoopsvibe grades the GMs on their performance in the draft and the former Celtics don't fare too well. Bird rates a D+, McHale tops the trio with a B+ and surprisingly, Danny only gets a C+. They count Dahntay Jones and Troy Bell as the Celtics picks instead of the players Danny actually got in that draft. I would grade Danny a bit higher in that Perk, Al,Rondo, West, and Allen were in mid to lower first round and Gomes and Powe were second round. But they don't credit Danny with Rondo or Powe and list Green and Foye as his picks even though he was choosing them for another team so, I don't put too much stock in this report.
Celtics17 has a very good article on when players break out.
Some notable folks that broke out in their 5th year include Jermaine O’Neil, Gerald Wallace, Ricky Davis, Corey Maggette, Nene Hilario, Chris Wilcox, Chauncey Billups, Samuel Dalembert, Marcus Camby, Steve Nash and Ben Wallace. Nice group of players to wait for, if you were patient enough, and only the Clippers (Maggette), 76er’s (Dalembert) and the Nuggets (Hilario) managed to hang on long enough to see their investment pay dividends. The others were moved, in hindsight, at below their market.
This list interests me because it would appear that Centers and PGs take a little longer to break out. Perk is going into his 5th season. I have said it many times: Perk is going to break out this season and surprise a lot of people who feel he is at best a back up center. It takes time for players to reach their peak. It is the exception for players to be able to make an impact right away. Hopefully it won't take Rondo 5 years to develop. He seems to be ahead of the curve already and could break out this year or next. But, wouldn't it be worth waiting to have a Steve Nash or Chauncey Billups running your team?
Other articles worth reading are one from Bill Simmons on Hoops and Vegas and another from Hollinger on the teams that improved because of the moves they have made so far.