Point/Counterpoint: Should the Boston Celtics break up their roster?
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 23:02
Scott: Boston’s supporting cast has been sub-par at best this year, which has also contributed to their slow start. However, since the Rondo injury and loss of rookie stud Jared Sullinger, the Celtics have gone 4-0, with wins over title contenders such as the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers. Players such as Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley and Jason Terry have begun to shoulder more of an offensive load with the absence of Rondo, driving and dishing, finding the open man for a spot-up shot and playing with a greater sense ofurgency. Pierce and Garnett are known for being great distributors for their positions and as the team gels into their new identity, easy opportunities will become available. An unheralded aspect of this Celtics squad under Doc Rivers is its defensive prowess that seemingly defies the age of its roster and keeps them afloat when the offense stagnates in tight spots. In fact, Boston has allowed 96.1 points per 100 possessions in the calendar year of 2013, slightly below what the league-leading Indiana Pacers’ defense is allowing. This extremely stingy defense has kept the Celtics in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, with a three-game lead in both columns over the 76ers. While this season hasn’t gone the way Boston had planned, and they still have some final hurdles to overcome, they have demonstrated their strength on both ends of the court. It seems highly unlikely that shredding a shamrock will produce any form of good luck.
A four-game sample size is not enough to make actual conclusions about how a team performs. Either way, I never denied that the Celtics are a great defensive team. It is marvelous watching Garnett anchor a defense, as well as Bradley and Pierce locking down people on the wings. But in terms of offense, the Celtics are below even the Milwaukee Bucks. This isn’t just an Achilles’ heel – it’s a hole in their game. Because of their offense, their record is barely eighth in the Eastern conference. Their point differential and SRS (which adjusts for strength of schedule and pace) is actually negative – even worse than pretenders like the Atlanta Hawks. This team will never go anywhere. The sooner they realize this and accept that their time is over, the more they can move onto the future with a better outlook.