Once again, CelticsBlog is organizing the blogger previews and first up are the Celtics (of course). Over the next few weeks, we'll be carrying links to the other blogs who are also previewing their teams' seasons so be sure to check them all out.
Team Name: Boston Celtics Last Year's Record: 39-27 Key Losses: Ray Allen, Greg Stiemsma, Keyon Dooling Key Additions: Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox, Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, Darko Milicic,
1. What Significant Moves were made during the off-season?
The most significant change will be swapping Ray Allen for Jason Terry and Courtney Lee. In doing so, the Celtics got younger and more athletic. Both Terry and Lee can create their own shots, which will eliminate the need for multiple screens on every shot to get them open. Both are clutch shooters and shoot very well from beyond the arc so they lose very little in that sense.(Terry 38%, Lee 40%) The biggest upgrade, however, will be on the defensive end where both Lee and Terry are good defenders and Ray had become a defensive liability. And Jason Terry brings a level of confidence and bluster that is needed to win a championship along with a new tattoo of Lucky holding the Championship trophy.
Also, bringing back KG, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox will give the team a measure of continuity and a solid core to add the new players into.
2. What are the team's biggest strengths?
I'd say that the team's greatest strength is Kevin Garnett. The 6 foot 13 inch KG had one of his best seasons last year after switching to the center spot. He has said that he's feeling the best he has felt going into a season in years and his strength on the court and in the locker room will continue to be the heart of this team. He keeps everyone on the team on track and focused, and KG remains the anchor of a stifling defense that will continue to be the backbone of the team.
This season another strength is depth. The Celtics will have one of the deepest benches in the league. They have a unique mix of youth and veterans this season and for the first time in a long time athleticism is also a strength.
3. What are the team's biggest weaknesses?
At this point, I'd say that the Celtics biggest weakness will be their ability to stay healthy. If they can stay healthy, they can compete with any team in the league. Even though they have a deep team, they need Rondo and KG in particular to remain healthy. We have had strong and deep teams in the past that have been derailed by injuries and hopefully this year they can finally defy the injury bug. .
4. What are the goals for this team?
The goals for the 2012-13 Celtics are the same as they have always been: to win the championship. Nothing less will be acceptable for this team.
5. Who will be the players to watch on this team?
The Celtics have two players coming back from heart surgery and both have a new lease on life and on basketball and both should have great seasons. Jeff Green, in particular, has a lot of expectations on him and look to him to have a break out season.
The Celtics top draft pick, Jared Sullinger, has the tools to be great and is a fundamentally solid player and if he gets the minutes, should be a factor for the Celtics, especially on the boards, that was a weakness for the Celtics last season.
Also watch the two young centers on the team. Competition between them may just jump start both of them. Darko may finally get it and Fab may make the jump to the pros quicker than expected.
Finally, Kevin Garnett looked rejuvenated last season after his move to center. He said that he is feeling the best he's felt going into a season in a long time. Keep an eye on him to once again to defy age and have a great season.