I was patrolling the internet, looking for some news on our beloved Boston Celtics, when I stumbled across a (seemingly) throwaway article by Charley Rosen at Foxsports.com titled, "These seven teams can win it all if ...."
The Celtics section reads:
"The arrival of Rasheed Wallace gives the Celtics incredible depth up front. So much so that Glen Davis is just about superfluous.
Even if Ray Allen (soon to be 34) is showing signs of slippage, he still has sufficient juice to be a game-changer. Meanwhile, Paul Pierce (32 when the season commences) and Kevin Garnett (33) are still in the prime of their respective careers. Although Rajon Rondo (23) still retains the stubbornness of an adolescent, and Kendrick Perkins (almost 25) is always in foul trouble, these two youngsters have not yet approached the limits of their talents.
Boston's numerous tried-and-true scorers, along with the team's tenacious defensive mindset present formidable challenges for opponents to overcome at both ends of the floor.
WHAT THE CELTICS STILL NEED: A creative wing scorer off the bench. (Grant Hill would be a perfect fit). A pass-first point guard behind Rondo."
Now, maybe I expect a little too much from the national sports writers. I know that they don't obsess over the C's as I do, and with a whole league to cover, they couldn't realistically know every little detail about our team. And, I probably read a little too much into these off-season filler articles. They aren't really meant to be groundbreaking, just bring a few page views to their respective sites.
But throwing all that aside, I take exception to a few things Mr. Rosen said.
First and foremost, saying that Ray Allen is showing signs of "slippage." Celtics fans know that, for the majority of last season, Ray was our most consistent player. Yeah, he disappeared in the playoffs (again), but in 08-09 he was a much better player night after night than he was in his first year in Boston. While I guess the term "slippage" is up for interpretation, Ray Allen's stats are not.
He not only increased his scoring last season, but his shooting percentages (all of them) went up - 44.5-48% FG; 39.8-41% 3's; 90.7-95% FT. Simply, he was a better player last season, and showed signs of being comfortable with his role and this team, and the amount of burden he could carry.
Now, we'll give Charley a pass on calling Big Baby "superfluous." I know it was a half-joke — but any Celtic fan that can remember a front court of Scal and Mikki Moore in the postseason definitely isn't laughing. We need all the court-worthy bigs we can get.
My last point of contention revolves around his characterization of Rondo and Perkins as "youngsters [that] have not yet approached the limits of their talents." We've reached a point where I'm definitely reading too much into this, but bear with me.
Now, my problem with this is that it implies that these two are the anchors that are weighing this team down. Yes, in the Orlando series Rondo wasn't great... but we would never had made it to Orlando without him. He definitely has some room to improve, and has to keep progressing on his jumpshot, but that's a tired storyline. Rondo is a one-of-a-kind talent, he causes fits for every team we play, and he's a key to our success, not our failures.
But really it's throwing Perkins in there that causes me the most anger. Perkins is a beast. If Charley had tuned into the Orlando series, he would've seen Perk matching Dwight Howard on nearly every possession. Perkins has developed into a defensive force. Granted, he's no Tim Duncan on the blocks with the ball in his hand, but if you give him an inch he'll make you pay. We've reached a point in his career where we need to start focusing on what a great player he's become, and how much our team and best-in-the-league defense depends on him. Yes, Charley, he does rack up a few too many fouls (often times away from the ball or setting screens), but that is literally the only knock on his game.
Perk's story is a great one, and I just think that if Charley had been paying attention to him these past few years, he would stop lumping him in with the "Youth" and start focusing on the player he is. Not what he will be.
Because, frankly, I don't think Perk is going to get that much better. And I love him just the way he is.