Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Crystal Balls

Anyway, sorry about the delay, but here’s our final pre-season Up and Down readings and a prediction for the season.


Orien Greene – no climbed higher or faster this training camp than this most unlikely of second round success stories. While the dude looks exactly like a genetic mix of Adrien Griffen and Rob Horry, his game resembles Eric Snow mixed with a semi-talented college player who grew up idolizing Jason Kidd. Unusually poised for a rookie, he seems at home eschewing his own offense and distributing the ball to more talented players, something Marcus Banks never could get a handle on. Unfortunately, his rocketing success seems to speak more to the lack of talent (and failure of others) we have at the point, than to any kind of epochal 2nd round steal.

Paul Pierce – the true story of the pre-season was the return of Happy Paul, a player who hasn’t worn #34 in a long, long time. The Up and Down Meter does not predict, it only reveals things as they are at the moment, so it would be distasteful of me to admit that I think Evil Pierce will return once the games count for real, and that I hope he’s gone by January if we’re struggling. Nonetheless, it was nice to watch this guy play these pointless games and remember what it was like back in 2000 when he was the anti-Toine and could do no wrong. Just please, Danny, get more than Nene for him.

Ryan Gomes – alright, I relent, I have grown to like my homeboy from the ‘bury and might even grudgingly agree he was kind of a steal in the 2nd round. Kind of. He’s still undersized, but goddammit he can rebound and he’s smart and tough – think of him as the anti-Blount. There is no reason this guy shouldn’t get close to 20 minutes a game.

Ricky Davis – the greatest single turnaround of a player’s reputation since Mase found God. Seriously, could you have ever predicted that Ricky D would come into a Celtics camp, have a mediocre pre-season, and still be regarded as the only veteran player on the team you’d be upset to see traded? Unbelievable. Needs to go back to the bench though, and let Gomes start.

Kendrick Perkins – here is where we start to see darkness. Kendrick had a terrific pre-season up until the point where his minutes were unfairly taken away in favor of Scalaburine, who to that point had under-whelmed. This is serious shit or get off the pot time for Doc Rivers – if a guy like Perk comes into camp in great shape, does nothing wrong on the court, and earns his minutes, then how can you be taken seriously as a coach when you take him off the floor in favor of a soft cracker who can’t rebound? If we want to develop our players, we need to show them that PLAYING WELL EARNS YOU MINUTES.

Sorry, anyway, now the DOWNS.

Raef – minor Down, really should be neither up nor down, but that makes it automatically a Down when you look at his salary. Also, with him and Blount we have the softest starting front line in the history of the NBA.

Delonte West – hurt his stock with a mediocre pre-season that exposed his complete inability to handle pressure, penetrate or get the team into its offense with more than 8 seconds left on the clock. I’m not expert, but these things are generally important for NBA point guards. He hustles and does all the little things, blah blah blah, but he’s a career back up shooting guard and the more he struggles at the point, the more we struggle as a team.

Al Jefferson – What the fuck? Did Antoine’s “tutelage” complete destroy this guy’s instincts on offense? He’s getting his shots, sure, but he’s not hitting them. Sound familiar? Also, he can’t stay on the floor, which used to be Perk’s great shortcoming. Big Al has the look of a guy who thinks he’s already there, as opposed to needing to work to get there. Or maybe he’s just working back from an injury and we’re being typically unfair. Either way, get yr ass back in gear!

Brian Scalabrine – Five year guaranteed deal for this stiff. Also, his blog sucks, and I’m tired of seeing all of the other Celtics blogs out there link to it like he has anything worth reading. This guy is a typically annoying white dude who plays handball at the gym like the fate of the free world hangs in the balance, yet only wins about half the time. A walking advertisement to the power of positive thinking, and to the idea that talking a lot on the court can be mistaken for “activity.” Danny might have the worst free-agent instincts of all time. Sorry, sorry sorry, what I meant to say is I’m sure Brian will “help” in lots of ways we don’t see.

Dan Dickau – This guy has the dazed look of someone who went home to feed the cats and found his wife in bed fucking Orien Greene. Another classic Danny acquisition we’ll never see play – think Jermaine Jones and Yogi Stewart. Think Gerald Green (hahahaha, just kidding).

Mark Blount – alright, everyone, take a deep breath and think about the ocean for two seconds. Now you are ready for the truth – Mark Blount sucks. Please remember, he had a similarly decent pre-season last year (no rebounds, high shooting percentage). But he’s soft, can’t rebound, and can’t play defense if it doesn’t involve Jim O’Brien’s Rube Goldberg-ian constructs. In general, he’s completely ineffective unless his stupid 15 footer is falling. Fuck this asshole. Fuck everyone who keeps saying he’s “reborn.”

Gerald Green – good lord, this dude has a long way to go. He’s got a nice jumpshot, but he seems to have a complete absence of basketball instincts to go with it. I can see him being an okay player someday (and probably a good pick at #18), but all this talk about the next McGrady seems to be a testament to his handler’s ability to generate buzz for their client. Even the Kool Aid drinkers seem to have noticed these things.

Justin Reed – an uncomfortable mess of a player. Superior defensive instincts, yet cannot touch the ball without trying to shoot it. This guy in some ways is the most overrated player on the team, but he seems to have slipped permanently behind Gomes on Doc’s depth chart. We need one of them, not two.

Tony Allen – poor bastard, even if he stays out of jail and rehabs from his knee, it’s still hard to see where he’s going to fit in on this team. He’s a victim of the Ricky/Pierce (haha, I wish we had Ricky Pierce) logjam, and now with Gomes providing no reason to be taken off the court for spare minutes at the 3, I just don’t think TA is in anyone’s plans at the moment. Life lesson for us all – don’t tell your friends to shoot people when the cameras are rolling.

Marcus Banks – the single most precipitous fall of an NBA player not involving off-the-court bad behavior. This guy was supposed to be our future starting point guard, and has systematically alienated every supporter he has in the organization because of his shitty attitude and low basketball IQ. It’s strange, because he’s obviously a pretty bright dude, but now he’s fucked – broken shin, last on the depth chart, not given even the token 4th year guarantee. Someone’ll take a chance on him, and as I’ve always believed, he can excel on a bad team, but we’ve probably seen the last of Marcus Banks as a member of the Boston Celtics.

Season Prediction

The Celtics will pay lip-service to the idea of developing the rooks, but Doc wants to win and will rely primarily on his veterans. We will lose more than we win, and eventually Danny’s hand will be forced – either trade some of these young players for an established veteran point-guard who can “win now” with our core group, or trade Pierce and finally scrap the old guard completely. I think either scenario is entirely likely, although my gut says Wyc and the boys would rather flog tickets for a team barely above .500 than a lottery bound group of “promising players” (only one of whom really seems to be all that promising).

In the end, however, our talent level is simply not high enough to overcome the lack of competent game-coaching and the improvement of almost every other team in the east. Stranded yet again in bubble-land Limbo, we go on a losing streak to end the season and fail to make the playoffs.

Final Record – 35-47.

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