Friday, July 03, 2009

Talking Off-Season With Nick of Boston Celtics News Station

Making the team blogging rounds, we're now talking Celtics. We have Nick Gelso of Boston Celtics News Station. An up and coming C's blog you are going to have check out.

1. Lots of elite Eastern conference teams have made big moves recently. The Cavs got Shaq and the Magic got Vince Carter. What if anything do the Celtics need to do to keep up with the other title contending teams in the East?

I believe Boston has almost completely slipped under the radar of the media and key opponents. The Cavs acquired Mo Williams last season to combat the Celtics. Though that playoff match up never materialised, Mo Williams was a no factor against the Magic in the EC Finals. This season the Cavs brought in Shaq to combat Dwight Howard.

While Cleveland has spent the last two off seasons on the defensive, this year prepping for an Orlando rematch, Boston has been developing their current roster, resting and regrouping for another title run. In my opinion, the Celtics starting line up has the league's top five players at each position. No other team in the league can boast that fact.

I do not feel the Shaq addition to Cleveland changes much for Boston. Perkins has done an excellent job defending Shaq the last two seasons, holding him well under 18 ppg and 9 rpg.

Regarding Orlando, with Hedu Turkoglu opting out and Vince Carter coming in, this actually makes the Magic an easier team for Boston to match up with. The length of Orlando gave Boston the most problems last season, not to mention the loss of Garnett didn't help matters.

According to the Boston Globe, the Celtics had a three hour meeting with Rasheed Wallace on Thursday. The Big Three, Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge and team owner Wyc Grousbeck attended the meeting. the Celtics offered Wallace a two year deal using the mid level exception.

Wallace, who has yet to decide on where he would like to play, would certainly help in adding length, experience, scoring and three point shooting to the Celtics bench.

It's my belief that Big Baby will be re-signing as well. I do not believe Davis is worth even the mid level exception. Despite his good play during the post season, Davis still displays lapses in basketball IQ, lacks inside scoring and rebounding. He is still overweight and undersized for a power forward.

The Cavs and Magic are dominating the media as the elite Eastern teams. Few have recognized that the addition of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva will make the Pistons a team to be beaten again as well.

2. This questions come from NBA_Rumors_News from Twitter: Do you think the Celtics sign Rasheed Wallace if he wants a multi year deal? Would the Celtics sign Sheed and still re-sign Glen "Big Baby" Davis?

It has been reported by the Boston Globe that the Celtics offered Rasheed a two year contract. I think the question is, how bad does Sheed want to play with KG and contend for a title again? Will he opt to play for a team that offers him three years but has less of a chance to win? Will the Cavs offer Sheed a three year deal? At 35, it is doubtful any championship contending team will offer Rasheed more then two years.

I do feel the Celtics can sign Rasheed and re-sign Davis. As I explained, it's my opinion that Big Baby still displays lapses in basketball IQ and still needs to trim up and work on his rebounding and inside scoring before he can demand the mid level exception.

3. Putting aside your earlier answers, lets say the Celtics keep this same team for a few years. How close is their window to being shut?

I feel like they only have one or two more legit title chances with the current team. I would have to agree with your assessment. The, much discussed, "window" is likely to last for another two seasons. That window is trimming up, however, as the Eastern Conference has bulked up their talent this off-season. I think this is why this season we will see the sense of urgency that was displayed during the 2008 championship run.

KG and Paul Pierce have made public comments eluding to the titles return to Boston in 2010. Their is no doubt that the Celtics are ready and people forget that last year's team team, though severely injured, won 62 games and stretched the eventual Eastern Conference champions to 7 games.

4. Stephon Marbury had a run with the Celtics last year. He showed flashes of the old Starbury, but most of the time he showed a new, bad version of a former star. Did you like anything he did in a Celtics uni and what should the C's bring him back?

In addition to having a good attitude and being a model citizen with the media and fans, Steph showed hints of his old self during the Orlando series. The irony of Steph in green has been that his biggest impact was on his teammates in contrast to his career, which has been primarily known as selfish and "me first" player.

Marbury taking over at point guard for the second unit allowed Eddie House to run off screens, spot up on the break and not have to handle the ball. Eddie's play was drastically improved when Marbury arrived.

Though Marbury was only a shadow of his former self, I do believe he helped the Celtics last season. If he is given an entire season to play with the team, he will be a great contributor off the bench. He has expressed an open desire to return to Boston and I think the Celtics will make him an offer for 2010. I don't feel the luxury tax burdened Celtics will offer Steph more then a one year deal however. Whether Marbury accepts such a deal is yet to be seen.

5. How many jump shots a day is Rajon Rondo putting up and do you think he will one day be a consistent jump shooter?

Rondo needs to shoot jumpers non stop this summer. He was fantastic in the Chicago series but his triple double play was followed by, his much overlooked, sub par play in the Orlando series.

In the semifinals, Rondo's defender was continually leaving him to double team Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. Rajon will not reach all-star (and max player) level until he knocks down that 17-20 footer consistently.

Given Rondo's blatant desire to be a max player in the NBA and Ainge's public criticisms, this may be Rajon's season to prove a point and knock down that jumper on a regular basis.

6. Kendrick Perkins has really progressed. He's starting to establish an inside game and he has always been able to defend big guys very well. Where does he need to improve next?

Perk's progression has impressed me most. He was the defensive anchor of the team in KG's absence during the playoffs. It is obvious that (big man coach) Clifford Ray's work with Perkins has paid off. Perk was under control with his back to the basket in the post season. He developed three distinct moves in the post including a steady jump hook.

I think Perkins needs to improve his 10-15 foot jumper and get out on the break a little more. I think he is often found hanging in the backcourt in fast break situations. He misses out on easy dunk opportunities on the break.

Also, though he has improved greatly in this area, Perk needs to control his emotions and work on the amount of fouls he commits early in the game.

7. If you had to trade one of the big three who would it be and what would you look for in return?

The thought of trading any member of the big three is painful to me. If I was forced to it would be Ray Allen. The combination of his expiring contract and aging body would be the determining factory.

Ray's expiring contract is worth more then Ray himself to other teams so the players we would get in exchange is not sufficient for me to trade him.

8. I know that you have been a huge Celtics fan for a while. Describe your favorite moment in Celtics history. Also describe the worst.

Having primarily grown up during the "Larry Bird Era", it is fitting that my greatest memories are during that time period. So many moments still give me the chills and stir up the same emotions as they did 20 years ago.

I feel Bird showed his greatest character in adversity thus making my favorite Larry Bird moment one that occurred during his final seasons.

Though it's not a championship moment, the game that comes to mind is game 5 of the 1991 first round series versus the Pacers. Larry Bird was injured early in the second quarter and had to leave the game. He returned in the second half to lead his Celitcs to victory. The usually reserved legend displayed emotions that had not been seen since the Celtics championship seasons several seasons earlier.

Though the death of Reggie Lewis and Len Bias rate very close to the top of the my worst Celtics memories, I would have to say that Rick Pitino's "Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale are not walking thru that door" comments was a time when I actually shut the television off, unable to watch.

I didn't turn the TV off during the 2006 season so that just kind of tells you how bad the Pitino moment was.

9. I have talked to people that think KG's intensity is all fake. As a Celtics fan, answer those haters and talk about how hard KG works and how he plays with those emotions (even if those emotions sometimes get the best of him).

Since Garnett's high school days he has displayed the same emotional devotion towards the game. If KG was always an emotionless player and suddenly last season started chest pumping and fist waving I would say that this was an act. Quite the contrary, Garnett has always displayed such emotions. I feel currently, being in a major market and part of the 2008 championship team, Garnett gets more national T.V. coverage and his style of play is more pronounced and, at times, scrutinized.

Regarding Garnett's emotions getting the best of him, I believe, when traded, he brought positive emotion back to a team that was in desperate need of an emotional lift. I believe KG's emotion brings out the best in his teammates and fans.

10. Give you expectations for next season. How far do the C's get?

A lot of ifs still surround this Celtics team. As with most teams that are aging, injury is always a concern. I believe that if the big three can play 70+ games, no team can beat the Celtics. If a major injury is sustained to the big three we are looking at another second round exit.

I enjoyed chatting with you Alex. Thanks for the opportunity!

Thanks Nick and remember to check out Boston Celtics News Station!