There is a rule that you should wait 20 games before passing judgement on a team at the beginning of any season. Going into the season we had a lot of questions about the team. Could Doc coach? Would we play defense? Could the 3 stars mesh on the court? Would the bench be enough? There were opinions that they may be good but it would take a year or so for them to mesh. Most felt that Doc would still mess it up even if the team played well. Many felt that 1 ball wouldn't be enough for the 3 stars and that the bench was too weak. We have played 19 games and I am going to give my 20 game report card one game early.
First of all, Pierce, Allen and Garnett get an A in chemistry. They have meshed much quicker than anyone expected. They have played very unselfish ball and because of that have made their teammates much better as well. As far as their individual play goes, that rates an A minus. The 3 stars haven't all played well in any game so far. Ray Allen has been in a shooting slump but yet has hit 2 game winning baskets so far. KG has been the most consistent, but even he has had a couple of rough games. Pierce has been up and down with his shooting but has excelled in other areas, doing whatever is needed on any given night for the win.
Coaching should get an A. Doc has done a good job of coaching this team. He is very good at motivating players and his players all respect him. The one question I would have is minutes. Ideally, the 3 stars have played too many minutes but Doc seems to be working toward playing them less and the bench more so even that isn't a major concern. Tom Thibodeau has been an invaluable addition to this team. Their defense has been the best in the league and most of that credit has to go to Tom Thibodeau. Clifford Ray has to get much of the credit for the improvement in Perk and Big Baby's development.
Defense also gets a grade of A. This is very important because defense wins championships. The fact that this team has come together this quickly defensively is incredible. They top the NBA in defensive statistics and still have room to improve. If we are to win a championship, this is where the team must continue to excel.
The "Little 2" gets a B+. Rondo has done a good job of running the team and he has been hitting his shots at a 55% rate. However, he is only shooting 49% from the line. He has shown poise on the floor in directing the offense and does a good job of finding and setting up the open man. Perk has been playing very well but has had limited minutes. Even when he is playing very well, it seems that Doc doesn't play him as much as he could.
The Bench gets a B+ as well. They have opened a lot of eyes. Posey has played very well at both ends of the floor. He brings energy off the bench and has hit some clutch 3s as well as playing excellent defense. House has been streaky with his shot, but has played well at the point and also played better defense than expected coming in. Big Baby has been a revelation. He has been giving us some quality minutes at the 4 and 5. He plays with energy and has a knack for rebounding. Tony Allen has been up and down as he tries to come back from the knee injury but we can see improvement from game to game. Scal's minutes have been dwindling as Big Baby's have been increasing. Powe and Pollard have played very sparingly but have played well when given the minutes. The bench has been able to hold leads and in some cases, even built on leads and have surprised a lot of people who felt we didn't have a bench coming into the season.
Overall play gets a B- only because they have much room to improve. As a team they are committing over 16 turnovers per game. Pierce, Garnett, and Allen have yet to all have a good game at the same time. The results are undeniable with a 17-2 record, but we have yet to play 5 of the top 6 teams and the one top 6 team we did play beat us.
Excitement factor A+ This team has been exciting to watch. We have seen a blowout of over 40 points as well as overtime wins at the buzzer. They are unbeaten at home and continue to give us exciting plays on both offense and defense. They play with intensity and hustle. We see stars diving on the floor for loose balls and incredible passes to find the open man. And best of all, we are seeing lock down defense. I would say that the first quarter of the season was a big success. Now the competition gets even harder, but something tells me that this team is going to get even better. ] [Discuss this topic on the Celtics Green Forums!]
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