Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
It would seem that the big three do in fact have more basketball in them, even at their advanced ages. Pierce had arguably his best season of the era, shooting a career high in true shooting percentage (which accounts for 2’s, 3’s and free throws) while cutting down on his turnovers.
Allen had an insanely hot winter, and while he cooled off down the stretch, that probably owed more to a general malaise that set in over the offense. The concept of Ubuntu may be dated, but offensively the Celtics truly are what they are because of each other. When one of them slumps, it has an effect on all of them, particularly Allen who relies on his teammates for shots, screens and spacing.
Garnett returned to form defensively and on the boards and while his minutes were strategically kept down, he had a ruthlessly efficient season shooting the ball. Garnett was arguably more responsible than anyone for the Celtics regular season success.
If Allen, Pierce and Garnett can duplicate, or come close, to last season’s production and if Rondo comes back and has a monster season, then the Celtics can compete for one more year provided Ainge hits a home run in free agency and Green develops into a sixth man of the year type of player. If any one of those areas comes up short, the Celtics could slide into the dreaded nomad land of being good, but not nearly good enough, somewhere between the Pistons of old or the Magic of current times.
Bill Simmons Paul Flannery provides a lengthy pros/cons look at the Big 3, Rondo, the bench and free agency.
Raise your hand if you are uncomfortable with all those "ifs."
On Page 2, Danny won't back down from the trade.
"I don't think that the presence of one player standing in the middle of the paint was going to [help] our offense score more, wasn't going to prevent LeBron James from shooting step-back 3-point jump shots with Paul Pierce and Jeff Green draped all over him," Ainge told Comcast SportsNet's Greg Dickerson in a one-on-one interview.
"I mean, we scored zero points with four or five minutes to go in two games. That was not because of who we had playing center. That had a lot more to do with our best players not being able to score."
And please don't tell him the Celtics lost their toughness when they lost Perkins.
"Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. We lose our toughness because we trade one player?" he said. "What do you think Kevin Garnett feels about that? What do you think Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo [feel about that]? Like, we only have one guy that's a tough player, that brings an element of toughness?"
"So [the trade] didn't work. That's just part of the game and part of life, a frustrating part."
But he still thinks the reasoning behind the move was sound.
"If I had to do the trade today, I would have done it."
I know what you're thinking… another post on the trade? Sorry… but when the season ends, so does a lot of the media coverage.
Ainge can continue with the valid and insightful defense of his trade, but it won't matter. Those opposed have dug in their heels and refuse to give up ground.
You can watch the entire interview tonight at 7 on CSNNE.
The rest of the links: