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.
The Summer of 2013 will be remembered in Boston and Los Angeles for Celtics and Lakers fans long after this upcoming season is over—whether they want to or not. That’s because it included the end of an era out East, as beloved Celtics players Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were traded to Brooklyn and coach Doc Rivers—who helped deliver banner No. 17 in 2008—left as part of a trade with the Clippers. Out West, the Lakers watched as coveted, tabloid-friendly center Dwight Howard left for Houston via free agency. This coming after a season in which Kobe Bryant suffered a season-ending Achilles injury, Mike D’Antoni replaced the fired Mike Brown after a 1-4 start and a group of aging starters began showing signs of slowing down.
What that leaves us with are two franchises that have combined for 33 NBA titles and just 21 combined missed playoffs (Lakers-5, Celtics-16) with their 2013-14 postseason eligibility in jeopardy. Both teams were seventh seeds last year, and both will need to fight through some growing pains in the upcoming campaign.
There has only been one season since 1948-49 in which both the Lakers and Celtics have both missed the postseason. That’s a span of 64 years. Will this season be the second?
Yeah, you read that link right…
The Timberwolves official site gives us this little nugget today. And I’ll answer the question for you: Yes, yes it will be the second season the Celtics and the Lakers miss the playoffs at the same time.
Don’t kill the messenger here. I’d prefer they were a 60 win team just like you, but this is what it is.
Of course, I could be wrong (though there’s no history to support that, especially if you take my word for it and don’t search the archives for any evidence to the contrary). And it would be up to the Celtics to make sure that doesn’t happen.
The Lakers are NOT making the playoffs this season. No chance. Not even close. The Celtics probably aren’t either, especially if Rondo doesn’t come back until December. Remember, the C’s will have played 19 games by the end of November, including six back-to-backs and a five-games-in-seven-days stretch in the second week of the season. I tweeted this out a few weeks ago…
And again, look at the Nov. schedule: 6 back-to-backs. 11 road games (counting @Tor in Oct.). No Rondo + new system/new team=not many wins
— John Karalis (@RedsArmy_John) August 13, 2013
And I stick by it. They play Orlando and Charlotte twice… plus Toronto in the opener, but even those aren’t guaranteed wins if Rondo isn’t around and this squad is trying to learn a new system. We could be looking at 2-17 or 5-14 to start the season. With 63 games left after that, the Celtics could go a respectable 33-30 and still finish the season with 35-38 wins.
If the Celtics can somehow manage a few other wins without Rondo and then play at their best for the rest of the season, then maybe they can squeak into the playoffs. They have some talented players, and they have a coach whose analytics team will do everything mathematically possible to maximize the efficiency of their lineups.
But even that takes time. This talent is young and new. You will see plenty of turnovers in these early games where guys turn and look at each other, then explain to one another where he thought the other guy was going to be… gesturing and pointing interpretations of the plays as they jog back up the floor. The analytics guys will need data to make their assessments, so the small early sample sizes won’t mean a whole lot. It will take them until Christmas, especially if Rondo isn’t around, to come up with a solid enough set of numbers to make good conclusions.
It’s September now, which means training camp opens in a few weeks. We’ll get our answers to a lot of these questions soon. In the meantime, prepare yourselves mentally for a history making season… and not the good kind.
I’m giving you guys a little tip this morning: Put a Celtics logo on anything important you might own. If you lose it, give KWAPT a call. He can sniff out anything Celtics no matter where it exists.