2009-2010 Boston Celtics NBA Preview
Preview courtesy of Stu Holdren @ NBANoise
Rasheed Wallace (free agency)
Marquis Daniels (free agency)
Leon Powe (free agency)
Gabe Pruitt (free agency)
If you are a Boston Celtics fan, you should be excited for this season. The Celtics have returned all of the key components to the 62-win team of last year. A team that, even without Kevin Garnett in the playoffs, competed admirably and was still a threat to win on even given night. Just having Garnett back in full form would be enough for me to put the Celtics among the East’s elites, but Boston was far from complacent in the offseason and actually added talent to their star-studded roster.
Boston Celtics 2009-2010 Preview (media)
The most notable addition, of course, is Rasheed Wallace. If/when he plays alongside Garnett in the frontcourt, it may be the longest, nastiest, versatile and talented frontcourt tandem in the league (not to mention two of my favorite players ever). Boston center Kendrick Perkins has proved his value in this league, and is one of the good young bruisers in the post – and he’ll get his. But, a ‘Sheed/KG frontcourt will cause some real problems for opposing defenses. Given both of their shooting abilities, they should be able to extend opposing big men outside of the lane. I know that Wallace and Garnett have both lost a step or two, but lumbering bigs pulled out to the perimeter will be at their mercy. It should also open up post opportunities, cutting lanes, and higher chances for grabbing offensive boards. But more than anything, I like the addition of Wallace as a piece of frontcourt insurance. With an injury to either Garnett or Perkins, Wallace will be able to integrate himself seamlessly and the Celtics can move on without missing a beat.
The addition of Marquis Daniels is also a stellar piece of injury insurance for the Celtics and should be a solid addition to the rotation. Daniels had the most productive season of his career, and thrived when Mike Dunleavy was out of the lineup injured. He was able to average nearly 14 points and 5 rebounds a game, and was the Pacers’ most valuable player outside of Danny Granger. At 6’6″, Daniels also brings some necessary size off the bench and even has some experience playing the point. His versatility will make Boston that more dangerous and able to exploit matchup advantages.
Aside from Boston’s stockpiled talent, the Celtics are one of my favorites to win the East just because of their team approach to the game. They are always willing to make the extra pass on offense, and they work together tenaciously on defense. The biggest question is how long the championship window will be open for Boston. They are aging, and are certainly more prone to injury – but given their superior depth the Celtics should have an opportunity to contend for an NBA championship for the next two years.
I would be shocked if the Celtics don’t make it to the Eastern Conference finals, and I would give a healthy Boston team the edge over both the Magic and Cavaliers to make it to the Finals.