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Celtics Grumpy, Focused Heading Into Season

December 19, 2011

Is the NBA filming a remake of Grumpy Old Men in Massachusetts? Because there is a noticeable edginess at Boston Celtics training camp this year. The team has a chip on its shoulder as well as a renewed focus heading into a shortened 66-game season. But will this be enough to win it all?

You can understand why the Celtics are feeling especially scroogy this Christmas. After a Lockout in which Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were vocal in their displeasure with the NBA owners (and even with their own Players Union), a crash-course training camp must hardly be music to their ears. Add the elderly Ray Allen and Jermaine O’neal to the list and you can see why the rigors of this abbreviated schedule are already rubbing some of these guys the wrong way.

KG, for one, was very blunt recently at Media Day…”I think what you see, we’re a rushed league right now…..Stern has been pretty adamant about when he wants to do things and how he does things.” Ooooh, salty. The Truth, meanwhile, was very frank with reporters as he talked about the new faces in town. ”Last season we had a lot of immaturity on the bench roster.” Paul says this led to a lot of inconsistent play and that they expect “more professionalism” from the reserves this year. Wow, tell us how you really feel ‘P’. These quotes certainly explain the recent trade of Glen Davis and Von Wafer to the Orlando Magic (netting the strictly business Brandon Bass). Then we have the most recent display of Celtic crankiness, courtesy of Ray Allen. After free agent PF David West passed on the chance to join The Green Team in free agency, Allen didn’t hide his true feelings: “I’m shocked” he said, “once it got down to the end, I think his ego kicked back in…He wanted the dollars. I guess it comes down to ‘What is a championship worth to you?’” Sounds like a guy who needs more people around him. I can’t remember a player commenting publicly like this about a fellow NBA-er ‘taking the money’. I mean, this is a business right? Players all live by the same code…get it where you can and give nothing back. West’s decision shouldn’t surprise Jesus Shuttlesworth…he did the same back in his prime.

Celtics fans everywhere should relish what they’re hearing coming out of camp. This isn’t just a group of veterans looking to ride off into the sunset this year on some farewell exhibition tour…they obviously feel like they should’ve handled the Miami Heat last season in the playoffs. They don’t seem all too impressed with the 2010-11 season that the Chicago Bulls had either. And if you’re a Celtic fan you have to be loving it. This “one more stand…us against the world” attitude is a good look for them. But while I love the stuff going on between the ears in the Boston locker room, what’s going on below the necks isn’t as positive. This is an aging team with very little quality depth. One look at the roster and you see that management is where the veterans should be aiming their frustrations, not the league. GM Danny Ainge has done nothing thus far to improve this roster (despite putting Rajon Rondo practically on eBay). Then you add the sad news that versatile forward Jeff Green will miss the entire season following heart surgery, and you have the makings of a very shallow rotation. The team does have some depth, but no impact players. Keyon Dooling, Chris Wilcox, and Marquis Daniels wouldn’t even get in the rotation if they were playing for the Heat or Bulls…that’s just the honest truth.

Doc Rivers will have his hands full getting this group past the 2nd round of the playoffs again this season. Their record and health may be helped by a shortened season, but I fear that their postseason run will also be shorter than usual.

I love what I’m seeing from the Celtics heading into the regular season…I just fear that this group won’t have enough heading into the postseason.


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2 Responses to Celtics Grumpy, Focused Heading Into Season

  1. Dee Bo Derrick on January 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Boston is done, it’s hard to watch those old guys play. Get the Ben Gay!!

  2. TREV on January 12, 2012 at 10:03 am

    should change title to “Celtics old n banged up heading through season”

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