I often wonder what opposing teams, their beat reporters and bloggers are saying about the Celtics after playing trading with the Celtics. Here's a dose of 'enemy chatter' from Oklahoma.
Most of that centered around Green and his starting power forward spot. There always appeared to just be something missing there. He was undersized, didn’t fit well next to Nenad Krstic and lacked on the glass and the defensive end. He could hit big shots and make big plays, but is was always clear that something wasn’t right.
So Presti put his finger on the big red button and finally pushed it.
A bittersweet day for Thunder fans as Green was a clear fan favorite. He was always close with teammates Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. He was always seen as one of the core members of this group. But in the world where what counts is wins and losses, not how much fun you have and how well you get along off the court, it was a deal that had to be done.
By all accounts, Jeff Green is a talented player who was loved by his teammates, but forced to play out of position. Here's the good news – he no longer needs to guard high caliber power forwards. So it's possible most of his defensive shortcomings in OKC will be eliminated the moment he puts on a Celtics jersey.
Nenad Krstic is also a goner. He was a no risk, high reward signing out of the Russian Superleague two years ago, and he proved to be a very serviceable center. But, to be honest, he was everyone's favourite player to hate. He wasn't a very physical center, and he didn't defend well. He scored very efficiently in bursts, but whenever he missed a couple of jumpers or got dunked on, everyone was quick to point the finger at him. Alas, for that is the nature of basketball. But in all honesty, there's a reason he started at center over Ibaka. He was always available as an offensive option when Durant and Westbrook got tied up, and the plays that were drawn for him worked remarkably well. He didn't commit stupid mistakes, and always knew where to be on the floor. His mid-range jumper was like butter, and he could always overpower those who were smaller than him. Yes, he was a below average defender, and yes, he would never go in the paint and score. But he was what he was, and he helped us to Oklahoma City's first playoff run. And that fact cannot be forgotten.
Smart player with a jumper like butter. He's going to add a new dynamic to the Celtics offense. So without Kendrick Perkins, mabye the Celtics defense gives up a few extra buckets per game. It's highly likely Krstic and Green provide even more on the offensive end. And Krstic gets a lot tougher, just by standing next to Kevin Garnett.
On Page 2, what OKC loves about Perk and Nate.
3) The Thunder just got tough. How many teams will want to to pick on a starting frontline of Perkins and Serge Ibaka? The answer is zero. The Thunder won’t be bullied by anyone. Not now. Not in the playoffs. For 2 1/2 seasons, the Thunder has been more of a finesse team. But both of today’s deals add more force and fire. Russell Westbrook is as tough as a point guard as you’ll find (ask Jermaine O’Neal), and Nick Collison and Nazr Mohammed have much-needed meanness as well. Perk and Mohammed are a match made in heaven for the Thunder.
4) Don’t underestimate Nate Robinson. It’s easy to look at him as a throw in. Don’t. Robinson has value. And lots of it. Whether he matters in Oklahoma City, though, will all depend on Scott Brooks. If Brooks gives Robinson minutes, he could be a serious spark plug. He scores in bunches and poses problems for defenses.
Kendrick Perkins is exactly what the Thunder need. A tough, physical center who can stand toe-to-toe with anyone on the Lakers. That point cannot be argued.