Boston Celtics: 4 Steps for Kevin Garnett and Co. to Take to Get Back to Finals
It has all come down to this: One more year.
A wild ride that began four years ago will finally reach its final stop in the fall of 2011.
Injuries have prevented the Big Three from notching more than one championship and the chance of “one last go-around” being more than a pipe dream depends on many things.
This article will be more about alterations that can be made in order for the current situation to be more successful.
Master Kevin Garnett's Minutes
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It took what seemed like forever, but Kevin Garnett finally showed the more permanent signs of aging. He was a step slower in the playoffs and lacked the maintained intensity that we are so accustomed to witnessing.
I couldn't help but watching him with his head down on the bench during his resting time, as if the 34 year-old was attempting to tap into some unfounded energy source.
Garnett and his fellow vets looked more like a group that had run out of gas when it came time to close out games.
So what needs to change?
According to Chris Forsberg on Twitter, the Celtics want to begin using Garnett in three five-minute spurts per half, equating to somewhere around 30 minutes per game.
Still, Garnett's willingness to give up some minutes to fresher legs will probably be a necessity. Whether the Celtics can fill those minutes with a serviceable player will end up being one of the major questions to answer this offseason.
Get Rid of Big Baby
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Is Glen Davis really whining about the extent of his role on the team heading into next season?
A player that was (at one time) looking to be one of the league's most valuable role players became a shell of himself last this season.
After tallying multiple streaks of double-digit games during the year, Baby only logged over six points once throughout the playoffs.
It wasn't age, so what was it?
Well, we can credit Jermaine O'Neal and Jeff Green for snatching up some of Baby's minutes. We can say they deserved it.
To be honest, Green gave me a relentless headache from when he (re)arrived in Boston until the end of the season. His inconsistencies made The Trade look even more incompetent.
Still, Green's effort and quickness seemed to have much more of an impact that Davis' rapidly diminishing commitment to defense.
Suddenly, Davis became a shoot-first post guy off the bench with none of the fury that gained him new fans in New England in recent seasons. He didn't even take as many charges as I had hoped for.
I am not going to allow myself to explain Davis' play by saying that a devastating breakup with Perkins caused him to not play with any heart. KG wouldn't allow such a thing.
I'm not saying that Baby will continue playing more like his name than the gritty guy that has made a name for himself by playing bigger than his size, but a player's mentality is a sensitive thing.
Either way, I believe the kind of money that Davis' agent will be demanding could be better spent elsewhere at this point.
Trim the Fat
This section is solely about creating the perfect diet and exercise regime for Shaq.
OK, not really, but maybe a little weight loss would prevent the big man from getting injured while jogging down the court (however, I have no ideas to help him avoid slipping on ice).
I'm not sure what spurred the desperation that led to the slew of moves that the Celtics made at the deadline.
I always tried to justify (rather insensibly) The Trade. After reminding myself that the Celtics needed to get something for Perkins before his contract expired, I concocted a unique but not-so-farfetched explanation for all the moves (besides the one I just mentioned).
The spinal injury to Marquis Daniels left the Celtics without a suitable backup to Pierce, and Green seemed like the perfect fit.
With Perkins gone, the Celtics went into “we might just be in trouble and we need overcompensate by taking low-risk chances on random free agents” mode.
Enter Carlos Arroyo (take that, Miami, the C's just got the player that failed to survive your mediocre rotation off the bench—but wait, look at the determination in the photo), Troy Murphy (a solid player...at one time) and Sasha Pavlovic (that's right, LeBron, they're taking on all your former scrubs).
I would like to thank all three players (I don't have the heart to include Krstic here) for taking up the roster space made available by the Celtics ridding themselves of a major chunk of the relevant youth within the organization (and doing nothing with it).
With no components of this group showing any signs of lighting a fire under themselves in Boston, it is time to go back to square one.
There are ample mid-level free agents to be had this year (some of which were mentioned here) and I am praying that Celtics can craft a decent group of picks come draft time.
Nothing like rebuilding a bench.
Still, I can't wait to see how Luke Harangody and Semih Erden develop heading into next season.
Keep West in the East
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The Celtics can thank a wild history of injuries and a resume of off-court issues for what should be a decent shot at retaining their backup point guard.
After a season plagued by injury, West finally looked to be hitting his stride late in the playoffs.
Without the career hiccups, West would likely be a starter for a decent team. For the Celtics, his tenacity, creativity and decision-making abilities make him one of the most valuable guards coming off the bench in the league.
There would be several teams looking for a shot at West and the Celtics would be wise to re-sign West as soon as possible. .
West works as a dual backup to Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen. His ability to work as a PG/SG hybrid makes him a near must-have on a team that will increasingly need his minutes.
Another season would give West the time that he didn't have to acclimate to his position within the team.