Boston Celtics 2011-2012 Season Preview

By Rob Nelson

The Boston Celtics last season saw their stranglehold on the top seed in the Eastern Conference slip away. The team had a ton of issues with a lack of quality off the bench (Glen Davis took the entire second half off), injuries to key players (Shaq,Jermaine O’Neal,Delonte West,Kendrick Perkins, Marquis Daniels), and an issue finding enough offense to win games against the elite teams down the stretch (Jeff Green where were you?). However, despite the issues the Celtics were still the third seed in a tough Eastern Conference.
This season Celtics president Danny Ainge has gone about fixing all the problems from last season. The Boston Celtics in this shortened season are going to need a bench that makes them 10 to 12 deep. Gone are injured and ineffective players like Davis, Shaq, Wafer, and West. Coming in are solid veterans Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox, and Keyon Dooling. These men play solid defense and can provide the Celtics some offensive production. The Celtics also have rookies and young players like Avery Bradley, JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore and Greg Stiemsma that all could contribute right away. Marquis Daniels is also healthy for the first time and ready to go after his spinal surgery. The 2011-2012 Celtics have a bench for the first time since 2009 that can give the team the minutes the team needs to rest the starters.
The Celtics offense is always carried by the “Big Three” of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo. The aging “Big Three” will still be effective, but they need help. Rajon Rondo is going to need to take the next step and start carrying the load on offense. He worked on his jump shot and free throws and it appears that he should have career highs in scoring this year.
The bench is also a better source of offense this year. The additions of Bass and Wilcox give the team some scoring in the paint. Dooling is a solid shooter and can create off the drive as well. Daniels looks healthy and like the slasher to the hoop that terrorized teams in Indiana. Rookie E”Twaun Moore looks like he is capable os hitting the open jump shot to stretch the floor. Avery Bradley as a shooting guard now looks aggressive and ready to show case his athletic moves tot he hoop.
However, Boston will win with it’s defense. The team looked great this preseason with a healthy Jermaine O’Neal and Kevin Garnett controlling the paint. Guys like Bass, WIlcox, and Stiemsma have followed their lead during the preseason.
The perimeter defense is also solid. Ray Allen, Rondo, Daniels, and Dooling have all showed a great desire to get out after their man and bother shots. The young guys like Moore and Bradley also look like they buy into the team philosophy.
Many feel the Celtics window has closed. However, without he improved bench this team is better than last year. They are still the best defensive team in the conference and have made improvements on the offensive side. I believe they will challenge for not only the top seed in the East, but make a serious last run with the core “Big Three”. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!!

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