Out of Luck: The Celtics' Big Three Beyond Repair

Matt GelfandCorrespondent IFebruary 15, 2010

Celtics fans just couldn't help themselves.  

The rabid, die-hard, professional basketball fans in New England no doubt contributed to both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce getting voted on the 2010 NBA All-Star team.

I bet they wish they had their votes back. 

Despite being victorious in this year's Three-Point Shootout, Piece was noticeably lumbering his way to each ball rack.  And the way Garnett's been limping around the hardwood lately, he may as well be auditioning for his AARP card.  And nine-time All-Star Ray Allen is nowhere to be seen.

The Celtics' "Big Three" should consider a name change.  Something more fitting.  "The Injury-Plagued Amigos?"  Maybe something a little more straightforward, like the "We Hit Our Primes Three Years Ago" All-Stars. 

No matter what you call them, it's clear that Pierce (knee/foot), Garnett (knee), and Allen (back/general ineffectiveness) are playing on borrowed time. 

The Celtics are a geriatric Carnival cruise disguised as a "defense-first" basketball team. Their veterans have not aged gracefully, and their current squad is a far cry from the spry, juggernaut of a team that won an NBA title a mere two seasons ago.

Since then it's been a slow, steady fall from grace. 

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The 2010 Celtics are a great team on paper.  An even better one in NBA Live 2010.  But in reality?  They are a team destined for failure. 

There's a reason why the Hawks (average age of starting five: 25.8) having been giving the Celtics (average age of starting five: 29.6) headaches for the past two seasons.

They have more aging bodies on their team than the cast of Cocoon.  They sport an overrated bench led by the underwhelming Rasheed Wallace (who appears to believe he's earning a bonus for bricking three-pointers this season), and injury-prone Marquis Daniels.  Young talent?  Don't see it (no, Kendrick Perkins doesn't count no matter how underrated he is).  Red-headed sideshow act whom the Celtics continue to trot out on the court perhaps for comic relief?  Check.  (Apologies to the Scalabrine family).

All that's left is Rajon Rondo and his fat, new five year, $55 million dollar contract.  And I bet he'll be reconsidering that decision in 2013 when J.R. Giddens and Sheldon Williams are his main targets. 

Rondo has all-world talent, but like any point guard, he needs competent scorers to be effective, and it'll be a mockery of his skills if the corpses of Garnett and Pierce are still his only scoring outlets a few years down the line.

GM Danny Ainge and the Celtics are in this strange, sort of limbo stage.  A purgatory of sorts.

Stand pat, and your season has an expiration date: the first round of the playoffs.

Bring in new blood for Allen, and fans briefly forget all the team's shortcomings as they watch a declining Pierce and Garnett hobble up and down the court through rose-colored glasses for 41 more games.  Expiration date?  Possibly second round.

Blow the team up (gasp), and your job has an expiration date. 

The Celtics are the same "win-now" team that already won two years ago, and they have done little-to-nothing to sure up the future of the franchise since then.  As fans and team personnel begin realize this fact, irrational trade rumors inevitably pop-up.

A recent sexy trade rumor floating about involves the Celts trading for Antawn Jamison. 

Despite defying father time and inexplicably enjoying some of his most impressive totals over the last three seasons, Jamison, a 12-year veteran, is a ticking time bomb, having been nearly as fortunate as Garnett over the past decade in avoiding the injury bug. 

The Celtics trading for Jamison is akin to an alcoholic who throws back a couple shots of Jack Daniels in the morning to avoid a hangover. 

They're just prolonging the inevitable.

Ainge had to know his window for success would be short when he acquired Garnett (33) and Allen (34), but he's suddenly found himself in a slippery situation that's sure to end in fans calling for his head when it's all said and done.

Add the 34 year-old Jamison to the mix?  You're fighting fire with fire, replacing one aging star for another, when it's clear that acquiring youth (i.e. Caron Butler) is the only way to keep the Celtics relevant in the East past 2011. 

As always, the difference maker is Garnett.  And the Celtics faithful continue to turn a blind eye to the fact that they're watching a player who peaked far too early.

Garnett's legs have logged over 40,000 minutes in his career.  Good for 24th all-time, and third amongst active players.  Impressive, until you consider the two players he's trailing (Jason Kidd and Shaq) are both nearly five years his senior, and are each now playing mere supporting roles on their teams.   

Garnett's combination of good health, and starring on a bad team (T-Wolves) for nearly a decade may have cost him (and the Celtics) the career longevity and high-end production that Ainge thought was a given when he acquired Garnett.

So, when Celtics nation is holding their collective breath during every possession of the All-Star game in which Garnett and Pierce are on the court, praying that neither of them aggravate their respective injuries, feel obligated to hold back your sympathy.

It's their own fault.