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Brace yourself… an ESPN writer is coming around on the Celtics

Chuck - Red's Army September 26, 2012 Celtics News 15 Comments

ESPN Insider David Thorpe is one of the first national basketball writers to realize the Celtics are locked and loaded for 2012-13.

His most recent column –  Are the Celtics sneaky good?

Most of the talk this offseason has centered on the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat. Even the Philadelphia 76ers have drawn some interest with the addition of Andrew Bynum. Big trades and free-agent acquisitions will do that.

However, the Boston Celtics did neither (save for re-signing Kevin Garnett) and very quietly have had a tremendous offseason. With some good fortune this season, they could be just the team to break Miami’s stranglehold on the Eastern Conference crown.

Boston won the Atlantic Division last season and appears to be deeper and more talented this season. The Celtics should be able to pull off the magical combination of limiting their top players’ minutes without sacrificing much in terms of wins. Of course, having well-rested starters does not mean postseason wins are guaranteed, as the Spurs can attest. But last spring it was routine to see Garnett playing great for a long stretch, then huffing and puffing and resting with his hands on his shorts whenever he could.

In the end, a more energized Big Three for Boston is likely to make the Celtics a very tough beat in seven games. And if they can defeat Miami, no matter who among the Big Three turns out to be the biggest player of the series, the Celtics will have to thank Ainge and his sharp offseason moves for being the catalyst.

For those without Insider access, I can tell you that Thorpe cites the additions of Jason Terry, Courtney Lee (“dynamic on-ball defender”), Jeff Green (“strong chance to have career season”) and Jared Sullinger (“can help immediately as a rebounder”). I know – it’s stuff we’ve been talking about all summer.

His assertion that Fab Melo might score significant minutes (“his size and defensive disposition should be at a high enough level to earn minutes”) is a bit of a stretch to us, but maybe Thorpe knows something we don’t.

What separates Thorpe from most of his colleagues is the age factor. He just doesn’t see KG or Paul Pierce – aided by reduced minutes – falling flat next season.

Some national media members (Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith, etc) are like cats and toddlers – they’re easily distracted by shiny objects. Come mid-season, when the Celtics are thriving and dominating, we’ll be inundated with the I-can’t-believe-Boston-is-doing-it-again commentary.

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  • Richard

    If everything goes well and the Celtics can lock up a Number 2 seed. Then i think they can challenge the HEET ! Don’t overlook the possibility of a championship hangover in Miami, it’s happened to many teams before. The Knicks, The Pacer, and maybe the Bulls are capable of beating the Heet ! The more teams that cna give Miami trouble……THE MERRIER !!!!!

  • paul

    We have Rondo. No other team in the league has Rondo. That’s why we got the secret swagger…

    Richard, we don’t have to rely on the Heat having a championship hangover. If this Celtics team comes together as we think it will, we can beat anyone. The question may turn into, can they beat us?

  • Brian

    I’m sure with the training camp, and the get together on the west coast put together by rondo this team will gel early, and be the best team we have had since 2007/8 Remember what it was like to be up 3-2 to the heat with Dooling and quis and hollins coming off the bench. I know C’s fans know but the national media hasn’t figured out that, the c’s are going to be like the spurs with there vets mins down and a strong bench. Darko has a lot more talent then stemesma and Hollins so having him as our back up back up center for a vet min deal was a great idea by the c’s. Being a fomer 2nd pic there has always been pressure on him, this year he is a role player fighting with Jason Collins for mins, so anything we get from him is a plus. The real break out player I see this year is Dionte Christmas. He is going to be our verison of Rodney Stucky. On the switches he will cover the SG when Terry is in the game, and at 6-5 just like Lee he gives us some height in the back court with will be huge this season. I just don’t think people realize what this team will be like when you can keep the starters mins down, and they aren’t huffing and puffing once they reach 38/40 mins a game in the playoffs. KG barley had enough time to put his pants back on before they c’s would blow their lead and he would have to be put back in the game. With out Ray Allen on this team, you will see a much faster uptempo offense, and you won’t have to see rondo dribble down to there is 5 seconds on the clock waiting for Ray to get open and then jacking up a 3pter when he isn’t and ray giving him a wtf look. This is a great bunch of guys and with the NHL lock out and whatever is going on in Foxborro this is going to be the most exciting team to follow this year.

  • James

    Look, I can careless about ESPN. They’ve(ESPN) been losing credibility over the past 10 yrs. As far as the Celtics they need to get acclimated and build upon consistency.

  • MJ

    The underlying factor this year: Bench scoring. Throughout the post-season, we had no one who could score consistently. What I noticed about our series with Miami is that every time someone scored 7-13 points off the bench, we won the game (Quisy had 8 in game 6, but those points were scored in garbage time). Check the box scores. They’ll show:

    Game 3: Quisy had 9 points, Keyon had 7
    Game 4: Keyon had 10 points
    Game 5: Peaches had 13 points

    So in short, we only had three guys last year who could provide bench scoring SOMETIMES. This year, with a fully healthy team, we have potentially six players who could do it REGULARLY.

    Terry, Lee, Green, Wilcox, and Darko are all capable of scoring 7-13 points a game and Sullinger has shown he can score.

    Factor that in with the best defensive 5 in the league of Rondo-Bradley-Pierce-Bass-Garnett, and man, we are LOCKED and LOADED.

    • Chris

      Agree 100%. Terry alone will likely average more than last year’s entire bench contribution. Then add Sullinger, Wilcox, Green, and later Lee/Bradley

  • OlSkool

    Big Difference between ESPN website writers who actually do research and their TV talent who for the most part are clueless.

  • KY Celts fan

    Skip and Stephen A. are full of shit. I don’t think they believe most of what they say. That whole show is completely fake.

  • zippittyay

    I, for one, have not ceded the top seed in the east to those despicable scums in South Beach.

  • dwade

    this celtics will be easy picking for the Miami Heat

    • OlSkool

      You’re Lack of Proper Grammar and unoriginal Name are typical of a stupid troll. Once Heat lose you can jump back on Lakers bandwagon

      • prefuse

        yikes… “you’re lack of proper grammar..” and “once heat lose..” how embarrassing

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  • Cal

    Team has no center and is too small