The Boston Celtics are a legitimate contender for an NBA title this season. Yet, it seems like the C’s are still behind the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.
Fundamentally, the Celtics lack a solid secondary scorer who can take the load off of Paul Pierce when he is struggling with his jump shot.
This is a glaring hole, considering that Jason Terry and Courtney Lee are primarily bench players who would struggle playing big minutes on the first unit.
Avery Bradley is still primarily a defensive stalwart and a work in progress on offense. Kevin Garnett is a power forward playing center who would benefit from having another seven-footer alongside him. Rajon Rondo still does not have a steady jump shot, nor has he improved his free-throw shooting.
Experts will write the Celtics off, as they usually have for the past few seasons.
The Celtics do not have the most talented roster, and they likely won’t this season, barring a wholesale trade that brings a superstar to Beantown.
Does it matter to have the best players? Sure it does, because no NBA team can win without having any talent.
However, the most talented team does not always win. It isn’t a necessity, but rather a competitive advantage. Just ask the 2011 Miami Heat.
What Boston brings to the table is a certain team chemistry and intensity that no team in the league can match.
Just this last season, the Celtics were undermanned and looked like a dead team walking when the Eastern Conference finals began. Nobody gave the C’s a shot against the younger, more athletic and more star-laden Miami Heat. It wasn’t even considered to be a close matchup.
Yet Boston clawed their way to a close seven-game series that could have gone either team’s way.
Consider this now: Boston will bring back everybody, with the exception of Ray Allen, and made the shallowest bench the deepest.
Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, Jared Sullinger, Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox will be especially appreciated by Garnett and Pierce, both of whom could use the rest during the course of the game.
When you are one game away from the NBA Finals and you make major improvements in the offseason, no changes should be made.
Danny Ainge should remember what happened when he traded Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green. Green was the better player, but he was not the best fit.
The message is clear for Celtics management: Keep the band together and hope that the roster gels. If they don’t, look for the Lakers, Heat or Thunder to trounce over the Celtics.
But if they do, an 18th banner might be hanging in Boston at the beginning of the 2013 season.
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