With the Olympics over, tumbleweeds are blowing through the NBA. The Celtics "officially" signed J.R. Giddens yesterday, but that's something we knew a week ago. Fortunately, Marty Burns over at SI.com threw together some off-season report cards for the teams in the much-improved Atlantic Division. He gives the defending champs credit for resigning Eddie House & Tony Allen, keeping defensive guru Tommy T., and for the fact KG, PP and Ray did not expend any energy in Beijing.
What went wrong:
Posey no longer in their pockets.
Posey, the veteran forward who hit some big three-pointers and played such a key defensive role opposite Kobe Bryant in last year's Finals, signed with the Hornets. The Celtics hope Tony Allen can fill the void, but that remains to be seen. Allen is coming off a knee injury, and lacks Posey's size and experience.
P.J. went back home.
After finally nabbing a long-sought NBA championship ring, veteran forward P.J. Brown has decided to hang 'em up again — at least for now. Though not as big a contributor as Posey, Brown played key minutes down the stretch after joining the Celtics late in the season. If Brown, 38, indeed stays retired (or goes elsewhere), Glen "Big Baby" Davis will have to step up.
They got a year older.
If only Ainge could do something about Father Time. Even though the Big Three got rest, Garnett (32), Allen (33) and Pierce (31 in October) all have logged a lot of minutes over their careers and are at an age where many begin to slow down. It will be interesting to see how much they have left in the tank late in the season.
The defending champs didn't need to make many changes. But will the loss of Posey hurt them come playoff time?
Fair criticism. But whose to say PJ doesn't rejoin the team come March? And the Big 3 maybe be getting older, but the other 2 – Perk and Rondo – should be better (in Rondo's case, much better). Philly and Toronto are going to be trendy picks to beat the C's this year. And don't be surprised if the national media bias against the Celtics resurfaces come October. It's way too early for predictions, but I expect the Celtics to coast to near 60 wins and another appearance in the Finals.