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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Whelan & Dealin’

Whelan & Dealin
Whelan & Dealin’

The days leading up to the tip-off of the Celtics season are quickly shrinking and, unfortunately, its looking more like the same old team that we have seen for the last three years. Once again we begin the season knowing that even if we somehow come together, dramatically overachieve and make the playoffs, maybe see the emergence of one young superstar, we still don’t have the slightest ghost of a chance of making the playoffs. Not to pull a Shaughnessy and risk being overly negative, but here’s why.

1. Shaquille O’Neal is not walking through that door. The biggest key to winning a title in today’s NBA is having a strong front court. It’s the NBA equivalent of to win you must run and stop the run, to win in the NBA you score in the post and prevent scoring in the post. The last team led by a dominating guard was the Michael Jordan bulls in 1998, and since his retirement after that season, a productive big man has become a prerequisite to a long playoff run. The last eight champions have all relied heavily on a dominating post presence, whether Tim Duncan for the Spurs (’99, ’03, ’05), Shaq for the Lakers and Heat (LAL ’00-’02, MIA ’06) or the Wallaces for Detroit (’04). Barring the emergence of Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes or Kedrick Perkins as a low post presence, the Celtics have the same problem as most of the rest of the league: Legit big-men are as hard to come by in the NBA as draft picks that are old enough to vote.

2. Too much of a good thing. I know Doc Rivers wants to play an up-tempo, running style of basketball that requires a lot of substitutions, but someone should tell him that you can’t play an eleven man rotation. Looking up and down the Celtics roster there are eleven players who expect and deserve decent playing time, many of whom play very similarly, and because there are only 48 minutes in a game they all aren’t going to get the time that they need. Of course Paul Pierce is going to get his forty minutes a night at shooting guard and Wally Szczerbiak is going to get a sizable amount at small forward, but that leaves the remaining time for four players (Gerald Green, Tony Allen, Delonte West, Allen Ray) who have all earned the right to play but all have similar skills. In the front court, the time will be divided between six players (Al Jefferson, Michael Olowakandi, Theo Ratliff, Kendrick Perkins, Ryan Gomes and Leon Powe) at two positions. Again, all of these players have around the same skill sets, some having slight advantages in certain areas, but none are by any means complete. This much competition creates a lose-lose scenario in which Rivers can either heavily rotate and risk not allowing players the consistent playing time that they need to perform most efficiently, or he must pick a smaller group and invariably not give some players the playing time that they deserve, leaving some talent on the bench. This many ingredients create a recipe for disaster and Rivers must find a way to make it work before this dish is ready for public consumption.

3. Did you say “Yout”? This Celtics team has been “rebuilding” for some years now, and instead of playoff appearances, all we have to show for it is a glut of young players. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing…for the team of ’09. Currently, this team has too many youths in various stages of development and not enough seasoned, experienced, play-off tempered veterans to lead them. This team’s average age is 24.8 making them one of the youngest in the league. Until that number goes up, wins wont go up either.

About the Contributor
Ben Whelan served for the following positions at The Mass Media for the following years: Editor-in-Chief: Spring 2009; 2009-2010. News Editor: Spring 2008; Fall 2008 Sports Editor: 2006-2007