When Danny overhauled the team this offseason and brought in 9 new players, the initial reaction was that it would take months, possibly until the All Star break for the team to gel. There were also questions about the 3 stars' egos and if there would be enough basketballs to go around. Finally, there were big questions about the bench that was going to be very weak.
Needless to say, this team gelled right from the beginning, getting off to an 8-0 start and losing only 3 of their first 32 games. The 3 stars have checked their egos at the door and at times may even be a bit too unselfish. The bench has shaped up nicely and contributed to the winning with a different player stepping up almost every night. How do we explain the quick start and strong play of this team that was just put together a couple of months ago? It is simply that Danny may have found the perfect mix of players.
The success starts at the top with the Celtics 3 stars. Not just any stars could have blended their talents and personalities like these three have. All three were friends before they became teammates. Their personalities have meshed because all are hard workers and all 3 are very intense. KG, Ray and Pierce all give their all whether it is in practice or in games. All 3 have labored for years as the only star on losing teams and winning is the only goal for all 3. None are interested in individual stats but are willing to do whatever is needed for the wins. All 3 are willing to mentor the younger players for the good of the team.
Of all these factors, the biggest factor is that all three were willing to forget their egos and personal stats to be team players. If a rookie has the hot hand then they will get him the ball as they did in the Detroit game. There has been no ego whatsoever among these three. They have bought into Ubuntu and are willing to sacrifice for the good of the team. You would be hard put to find 3 other superstars who could mesh as well.
Their games mesh together as well as their personalities and work ethics. Pierce is a slasher who can get into the paint and draw the foul. Pierce also can rebound and hit the long range shot. Ray Allen is the long distance shooter who can spread the floor. He has a quick release and is great on the catch and shoot or pull up jumper. KG has the midrange game and can also play under the basket. He is the shot blocker and rebounder. All 3 are clutch players and are capable of being go to guys depending on the matchups.
But, Danny didn't stop with the three stars. He brought in some veterans in House, Pollard and Posey that fit this team perfectly. House is the long distance shooter who brings energy and scoring off the bench. Pollard comes in and brings intensity along with rebounds and shot blockiing. Posey is a glue guy and is the defensive specialist off the bench. Posey brings championship experience to the mix. His routine of hugging each starter before the game and giving them a pep talk is just one of the things he does to give the team a boost up.
Scal and Powe haven't gotten much playing time lately, but these are great guys to have on the bench and to have in the locker room. Both bring energy and a terrific work ethic to the team and make practice competitive, even when they don't get in the game. Perk is in his 5th year and his work ethic and intensity is second only to KG. He is the perfect center for this team. He doesn't need stats or individual glory. He is more than happy to fill the role that the team needs of him. He plays tough defense and blocks out on rebounds and sets picks for his teammates. Having a center who is willing to settle for this type of role and thrive in it is incredibly valuable.
Also held over from last year's team are Tony Allen and Rajon Rondo. Rondo is the perfect point guard for this team. He is a pass first point guard and is one of the quickest PG's in the league. He takes pride in his defense and is willing to learn and works hard on his game to improve with every game. Tony Allen is improving game by bame and has worked hard to come back from last season's injury. He fills the need for a slasher and scorer off the bench and brings energy to the second unit.
Finally, we have the rookies. Danny drafted well. Big Baby is contributing already and was a key to the win in Detroit. He has benefited from playing alongside KG and is willing to work hard and do whatever is needed of him. We haven't seen much of Gabe Pruitt, but what we have seen is very good.
The key to this team is that they all get along. Not a single player complains about playing time or their role on the team. Every player, from 1 to 14 is willing to do whatever it takes for the team to win, whether it is playing 48 minutes or sitting on the bench. You can see the camaraderie among them whether it is high fiving in the game, cheering their teammates on from the bench, or rushing over to help up a teammate off the floor. Yes, Danny has found the perfect mix for this team and it has Celtics fans very excited about the future.