Monday, May 11, 2009
What Would've Happened If.....
While it is crystal clear that Derrius Heyward-Bey will be the run away Offensive Rookie of the Year this year, one thing remains a mystery from day to day: how the Celtics will play. The Celtics have been extremely difficult to figure out this post-season. With Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe both out for the playoffs, I had the Celts dead in the water in the first round. Somehow though they managed to come out of "The Greatest Playoff Series Ever" victorious. Against the Magic in Round 2 they have been very up and down, but managed to tie the series last night on a buzzer beater by Big Baby Davis aka Jon Frisch. Their success without Garnett this year has led to wonder how the Celtics would be doing if they had not traded for him in the first place. Would they be better off? This writer says maybe.
The championship window for the Celtics is definitely closing. Paul Pierce, Ray Allen(Wellesley...), and Kevin Garnett are all in their early 30's and are already showing signs of losing a step from last year. Pierce can't always create his own shot now, Ray Allen has lapses on defense and can only get open with the help of screens, and Kevin Garnett has not been able to stay healthy this year. The Big Three were definitely fortunate to win the championship last year, because I'm not sure that it will happen again. With the way they are playing this year "anything is possible", but I imagine that if the C's beat the Magic, Cleveland will put an end to their playoff run this year, and possibly for many years to come. By next year Garnett will be 33, Pierce 32 and Ray Allen(Wellesley...) 34. Geezers by NBA standards. Having witnessed many of the Celtics playoff games firsthand last year, the championship for The Big Three was truly something special. I have my doubts that those 3 can do it again though.
Now imagine a Celtics team consisting of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen(Wellesley...), Al Jefferson, Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo as starting 5. Then throw in Ryan Gomes and Sebastian Telfair off the bench, and two first round draft picks this year. Not looking too bad eh? Its hard to say how good this team would be obviously, but on paper it certainly doesn't look too bad. Al Jefferson was having a monster year before tearing his knee up, and could be a top flight forward for years to come. He would also have helped bridge the gap for the future for Boston with Rajon Rondo. Who knows what would have become of the draft picks as well? The building blocks would certainly have been in place for future success. Food for thought.
It is certainly interesting to think about how things could have been. In all though, I think the Celtics made the right move in getting Garnett. Nothing replaces winning now, and that's exactly what Garnett enabled the C's to do. He brought leadership, toughness, a defensive mindset and the ability to mentor the young bigs in Boston. I doubt Al Jefferson and a few draft picks would have been able to do all this. Certainly not all by last year. With Garnett out for the entire playoffs and the C's still winning though, one can't help but wonder what it would be like if he never came to Boston in the first place.