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Celtics Can Stay Pat at Trade Deadline and Win -- Here's How

Mickey McGuireCorrespondent IJanuary 18, 2010

ATLANTA - JANUARY 08:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on January 8, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics have been decimated by injuries almost as badly as any team in the NBA this season. Almost every player on the roster has missed a game due to an injury, sickness etc. The team's depth has been tested numerous times, especially in the front court. Despite these adversities, the team has managed to obtain a respectable 27-11 record, good for second in the Eastern Conference behind the Cleveland Caveliers. Many fans have been calling for the team to make a move, but why should they? When this team is healthy, they are one of the most dangerous teams in the league. Essentially, all they have to do is find a way to get the players currently on the roster healthy and in uniform all at once.

Normally this would be the point that one would use evidence to support the fact that the Celtics are one of the most dangerous teams in the league when healthy. However, there is no evidence to prove that THIS year's team is dangerous because there has not been one solid stretch of games where every player has been healthy. This is mainly because of Glen Davis' preseason thumb injury that caused him to miss 28 games as well as Tony Allen's knee injury that caused him to miss 20 games. Davis was signed to a 2-year, $6.3 million contract and was expected to play a big role off the bench while Allen was on the brink of being released by the team. Both have played significant roles off the bench since returning from injury and look like they will continue to play those roles as the season progresses.

Thumb injuries have not been friendly to the Celtics. The versatile newcomer Marquis Daniels also suffered a thumb injury in early December and is expected to be out until at least the All-Star break after having surgery. Daniels has not exactly performed up to expectations this year but he is an important part of the team as he can play multiple positions.

However, the injury that has been the biggest thorn in the Celtics side has been All-Star power forward Kevin Garnett's knee injury. He has not played since December 28th. Garnett is the defensive anchor of the team and has been greatly missed, especially because Rasheed Wallace and Paul Pierce have also missed time during this stretch. The only players that have been injury-free (knock on wood) have been Ray Allen and Kendrick Perkins. Even potential All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo and the normally durable Eddie House have missed games due to injury.

The injuries may have been a blessing in disguise for the team. This gave them a chance to play guys that don't normally play like J.R. Giddens, Shelden Williams, Lester Hudson and Brian Scalabrine. While none of them showed real promise as a regular rotation player, specifically considering Lester Hudson was placed on waivers and moved to Memphis, it showed the Celtics have players that can at least be ready in case of an injury. Scalabrine was playing some of the worst basketball of his career until the big stretch of injuries hit and once he got more minutes, his numbers increased and his defense improved.

Doc Rivers expects that the team will be completely healthy right around the all-star break when Marquis Daniels is expected to return. As the team slowly gets players back and in shape one by one, they should see their winning percentage rise considerably. Most teams would be proud of a 27-11 record but the Celtics hold themselves to a higher standard then that. They do not need to make a trade to get better, all they have to do is get healthy. Most of the players on the team have championship experience and the team is tight against the cap regardless. There would be no point in moving a player like Ray Allen, who would be the only desirable asset due to his contract, as he has been one of the top performers on the team this year.

What makes the Celtics go is their "Ubuntu" attitude and their team first attitude. No one player can carry a team and they understand this. This is evident as no player on the team attempts more than 12 shots per game. Without a cohesive unit that is fully healthy, the team will not be successful. You can point to the 2008/2009 season if you want evidence of this. The team philosophy has not changed in the past three years. Last year, had Kevin Garnett been healthy they likely would have made a second consecutive Finals appearance against the Los Angeles Lakers. Bringing in a cheap rental player at the expense of key pieces would be a waste of resources and a waste of time. There is no need to press the panic button just because the injuries are all happening at the same time. The team already has players that are capable of filling holes when players are hurt and that is the true sign of a championship caliber team.

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