The Celtics are a veteran team who know each other well from the past few seasons. With the key components, KG, Ray, Pierce, Rondo and Doc all coming back there is no reason to believe the Celtics will not be a contender for the title.
Most fans have started to look to the future though. In reality this season is likely the last of the "Big Three" and fans are speculating on how the Celtics will stay on top in a loaded Eastern Conference.
But before we look too far into the future, the Celtics have the upcoming season to finish. With a lockout in full effect and most analysts predicting this to not be one that is resolved quickly, we can only hope the next season is the 2011-12 season.
David Stern doesn't want his legacy tarnished by losing a season at the end of his career so in all likelihood even if the season is shortened, it is likely to happen.
Here is how the owners and Player's Association are helping the Celtics raise another banner.
Without proper guidance from an outside perspective that a coach can provide, these teams may be able to practice together but may not be able to grow as a unit and learn from their mistakes.
The Celtics on the other hand know their system and just need to work on staying in shape and getting new guys to be dedicated to working as hard as them once the season starts.
The Celtics don't need to learn anything new other than what the rest of the league does when the season resumes. The Celtics will run the same plays and have the same 4 guys on the court at the end of the season as the last four seasons.
All the Celtics will have to digest are new scouting reports. With the league currently in a lockout, teams are not allowed to make moves so this isn't even something they need to focus on until the CBA is settled.
Unlike some of the other contenders in the league like the Knicks, Bulls, Heat and Nuggets, the Celtics core remains the same. Even though last year was the first together for most of those teams and they should see improvement, without the ability to be guided by their coaches, most of those teams will see stunted growth.
The Celtics have the same coach and the same system, pair that with veteran leadership and you can make it through a long lockout.
The Celtics have played late into the playoffs, if not up to the final game of the season, in each of the past four seasons. With age there is a greater need for rest to allow the body to perform at a high level.
The amount of stress the body takes from jumping up and down a court for 40 minutes a night, 82 days a year should not be underestimated. Pierce, Allen and Garnett are all at the stage where they could afford a little rest.
With a shortened season, the Celtics would have fresher legs come playoff time when they will certainly be relying on Rondo, Garnett, Allen and Pierce to carry a large share of the burden.
This one doesn't involve the current Celtics on the roster.
Danny Ainge and Doc have literally nothing else to do but watch tape of potential free agents now and see how they fit with the current Celtics team and how they will transition the team next year. While they cannot discuss any moves with other players, they can certainly make plans to once the lockout ends.
Danny and Doc have deftly made moves to ensure the Celtics' core have had a solid supporting cast, and with extra time should have similar positive results.