The Dwight Howard trade to Los Angeles had many effects on the NBA. The Western Conference was clearly effected with the Lakers now legit challengers to the OKC Thunder (The Lakers are still not in my mind as good as OKC, but that remains to be seen). However, the ripple effect in my mind is most felt in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division. The Boston Celtics will now have a serious issue on their hands as the Philadelphia 76ers (Andrew Bynum), the New York Knicks (Tyson Chandler), and the New Jersey Nets (Brooks Lopez) all have legit NBA centers that Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett must face off against most of the season. This is bad news in Boston.
The fact is KG at center usually gives Boston a huge edge. The fact is most teams do not have a true center and KG can feast on the tall, but untalented players that make up the current group of big men in the NBA. KG can use his speed and basketball IQ to torch these giants on the defensive end as well without having to take a pounding in the middle. The problem for Boston now is that there are three solid centers in the division now that KG will play a lot of games against.
KG hates taking the pounding in the paint that a guy like Andrew Bynum delivers. This pounding that the body takes at center is why KG HATES playing center. Bynum takes his wide body and just leans on him or lowers the shoulder with that massive power right into KG’s body. Granted the other two centers in Tyson Chandler and Brooks Lopez are not classic bangers with incredibly wide bodies, but they can bang in the paint and wear KG down. This means Boston will not have a rested KG come playoff time after a long year of wars in the trenches with these men.
The Boston Celtics are still in great shape despite this new wrinkle for the upcoming season. KG proved last season that Chandler is not much of an issue for him and Lopez has a more offensive game than Chandler, but he is not going to be a guy that KG’s speed and guile cannot handle on most nights. The real issue is Bynum. Bynum is not a guy that KG will handle with ease, but the rest of Boston’s supporting cast should help them out and resolve this issue with some solid defense and doubling.
The bottom line is the Atlantic Division title is not a fore gone conclusion this season. Boston’s biggest advantage has been taken away at times with KG’s center spot no longer the edge to get Boston going. However, I still like Boston in this very tough division. The problem is will KG have enough left in him after the regular season war in the trenches to carry Boston past a team like Miami? We shall see very soon. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!!