Every time things calm down for the Celtics this season, I get ready to write down my thoughts on the team and then something huge happens. Screw it. Here’s my snapshot of the moment; next month, when Pierce is traded to Indiana for O’Neal, I’ll revise it.
This is why Jim O’Brien was fired, except the personal issues were more important than the writer thinks. As were the trades. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
So the Celtics have a few kinds of players. First off: wingmen. This is Pierce, Davis, and Welsch. Maybe Jumaine Jones, if Ainge wants to get him minutes, but I think Jones will have trouble cracking the rotation. The Celtics are actually quite strong here. Pierce and Welsch are decent to strong defenders, and they’ve all got offenses of rather varying sorts, which is nice. This is the least worrisome area of the Celtics.
Point guards. The Celtics have no real point guards. Maybe Marcus Banks will be a real point guard if he gets 20 minutes a game for the rest of the season? We can but hope. Mike James is a fill-in like the other fill-ins they’ve had since they let Kenny Anderson go. Welsch does not appear to have the point guard nature; he can fill in as a combo guard but that’s about it. Without a quality point guard, this team can’t contend.
Big men. This is the mystery position. Mark Blount is an asset who doesn’t rebound much. The article linked above claims it’s because of the defense. If Blount starts pulling down 10 rebounds a game I’m gonna be delighted. Other than that, what you see is what you get. Hunter, Mihm, Perkins, and LaFrentz are mysteries. The first three might develop into great players (well, probably not Mihm) or they might not. LaFrentz might have an injury-free year… OK, so that’s unlikely.
But they’re all fairly young. While the Celtics don’t have a solution at power forward and center right now, the chances that a solution will arise out of those five players is fairly high. Mihm was looking pretty good in Cleveland playing at the power forward spot. Hunter is intriguing. If Perkins doesn’t develop as a center, maybe Mihm can improve his center play and Hunter can start as the hard-nosed power forward. We don’t need a lot of offense out of these guys; mostly we need rebounds and defense and low post play.
Oh, and then there’s McCarthy and Stewart. McCarthy is Lou Merloni, except taller. Stewart is an unfunny joke. Don’t worry about them.
None of it helps without a point guard. There is precisely one possible long term solution available at present. No pressure, Marcus! Possibly without Baker on the books, and if they expose LaFrentz in the expansion draft, they’d have the money to sign someone like Steve Nash. OK, someone exactly like Steve Nash. The Celtics slogan: “Boston — it’s much closer to Canada than Dallas.”
Give Nash a decent four year contract and you’ve got possibilities.