I feel that the most important concept on a team is defense. You simply can't win if you don't play tough defense and so a lot of my thoughts and articles go toward that end. Derrenmatts posted this on Celtics Green and I wanted to share his thoughts here on this important subject. by DERRENMATTS As I was reading FL's new article on the importance of team chemistry, I was reminded again that if we can play defense, we are the team to beat in the East. Chemistry, not only of the offensive end (which is normally where most people focus on), but on the defensive end as well.
Think back to 2001-2002, when we went all the way to the ECF (and playing in one of the most memorable--yet disturbing--playoff games in NBA history <4th quarter of game 4>). We did not get there on the strength of our offense. We got there through determination on defense, and a big dose of chemistry. Aside from Pierce and Walker, everyone else on the team was just average. Think about Battie, McCarty, Potapenko, Kenny Anderson, Erick Strickland, etc.--nothing special about those role players. Yet, because of the defensive intensity and chemistry this team displayed (players knowing their roles), we went all the way to the conference finals.
In contrast, this year's team, led by the Big Three, but also helped out by solid role players with good attitudes (Perk, Rondo, Pollard, Posey, House, Scalabrine), has much better basketball talent, and even more desire to succeed than the 2001-2002 team--offensively and defensively.
Again, it comes down to how well the team plays defensively. We should be a very good offensive team, since we have three deadly scorers, and a host of complimentary scorers (including the all important perimeter shooting). But looking at the defensive end of the court, we have encouraging upgrades here, which should translate to a better shot at Banner #17.
-We have an All-Defensive Team player in KG (when was the last time we had an All-Defensive player on the team?)
-We have improving defensive players in Rajon and Perk, playing positions which traditionally should be strong defensively
-We have Tom Thibodeau, who takes over for Tony Brown, and Thibodeau has a pretty convincing track record of improving a team's defense almost overnight.
-We have James Posey , who is one of the better defensive wing players in the league, and he will play a big role on defense.
Last season, had our players remained injury free, we could have had a pretty potent offense (Pierce, Jefferson, Wally, TAllen). But our defense was horrendous, so we wouldn't have gone very far. The upgrades we've made this summer should change the defensive makeup of the team, and have a domino effect throughout the rest of the lineup. Most of the lineup is already filled with devoted defensive players/hustlers. Along with KG, Rajon, Perkins, and Posey, Brian Scalabrine is also a hustler on defense, and with Leon Powe adding to our defensive mindset, we seem to have a good portion of players who will give their hearts on the defensive end. Pierce and RAllen aren't known for their defense, but they can certainly be motivated to buy into the team defense concept if it will lead them to championship trophies. And I don't think it will be difficult to get Pollard, Big Baby Davis, and Eddie House to hustle either.
If these upgrades can change us into a tough defensive team, I think we are shoe ins for the ECF. And if we can build team chemistry right off the bat, I think we have a good shot at the NBA title. I haven't been this optimistic about our chances in over a decade.