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.
To Ainge’s credit, he has articulated the problem areas – scoring, particularly off the bench, and a younger supporting cast to take the burden off Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the regular season. He will try to address those needs this summer. That will be difficult, particularly if a new collective bargaining agreement takes away some of the salary cap exceptions that Ainge needs to sign players.
In order to get past Miami (and Chicago), Ainge will need a great offseason, the Celtics will have to be fortunate in regards to injuries and Jeff Green will have to be much better than he was after arriving from Oklahoma City. Then there is Rondo, who may have not yet reached his creative and athletic peak. He gives the Celtics a clear advantage at an important position and supplies the added bonus of being completely immune — if not downright disdainful – of Miami’s whirling sideshow.
That’s a large number of things that have to go just right, but it’s also not impossible and that’s the primary lesson the Mavericks provided. In this league all you want is a chance and in this era, trying to build a super-team from scratch may wind up being a fool’s errand. Until Miami figures it out, the NBA is a year-by-year proposition and the Celtics are the ultimate year-to-year team.
I think the one thing Miami's loss shows is that you can't just throw three guys together and say "go win it". So all this talk about copycat "Big 3's", I hope, will die down.
The reason the Celtics won it in their first year of the new Big 3 is because (a) they were all nearing the end of the road and realized they all had to sacrifice something (and they were willing to) (b) all their games complimented each other so it was easy to fit them all together and (c) they had a much better supporting cast than Miami's. Look at what Rondo has become. They had Perk. And they had James Posey off the bench, who was a killer. And back then, Eddie House could still shoot, so that was a huge help too.
I've always thought next year would be the year to fear Miami. With a season under their belts and a chance to remake their supporting cast, they'd be much more dangerous than they are now. But Dallas has shown that you can build a team with proper moving parts, one superstar, and a couple of reliable side kicks and win it all. Team basketball can trump talent if there is enough talent on that team.
So the Celtics, with a few good moves (as Paul Flannery says) can get enough of the right pieces to fit into what they already have and get the job done. It's possible. But it does depend on what Danny does this offseason.
The rest of the links: