|Bruins Trade for Jimmy Hayes, Sign Matt Belesky||Should Rick Porcello be Sent Down?||Red Sox Front Office Should Not Look to Trade Clay Buchholz||Trader Donny? Looking at Bruins GM Don Sweeney’s Recent Trades|
KC did a piece earlier in the Celtics season in which he reviewed and issued grades for each individual player on the team. Now that the season is over I’ll take a look at all of the players on the team and give them a grade and a little bit of review on how I believe they performed and what to look forward to from them in the future.
Overall, no one can deny the C’s an A overall. Winning 66 games in the regular season and then going on to win the NBA Finals is not something to be taken lightly. To win in the fashion that they did earns the team an overall A, no questions asked. Also, I give an A to Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge for putting this team together and creating the greatest single-season turnaround of a franchise in NBA history. They deserve all the credit and accolades they get.
Now, onto the players. First, the Starting 5:
Paul Pierce: A
The Truth, the NBA Finals MVP, the Captain, etc. Call Pierce what you want but after last season’s struggles and everything he went through, Pierce took this team where it needed to be. Sure, Garnett and Allen helped him a ton, but Pierce was the leader throughout and showed just how good he can really be even with two other stars around him. Pierce still led the team in scoring and had great numbers for both his offensive and defensive stats. He truly was the best player on the team this season and deserves all the praise that he received.
Kevin Garnett: A
Kevin always brought the intensity: from his pre-game rituals, to his chest pounding celebrations, and to each and every game. He was the spark at the beginning of the season and made some surprising and beautiful plays throughout the playoffs. The team’s No. 2 scorer and leading rebounder all year, KG never let up throughout.
Yes, Garnett’s numbers were down from where they normally are, but remember who he’s playing alongside of. Despite being injured for a bit shortly before and after the All Star break, Garnett got right back in form and helped drive the Celtics back to their throne.
Ray Allen: A-
Allen was a great player most of the year and consistently maintained his sharp-shooting touch. There were times though that he slumped badly and the Celtics needed him, but he did come through in the end in a big way. He woke up near the end of the Eastern Conference Finals and became their best player in the Finals against the Lakers.
In my mind, Ray was deserving of the Finals MVP award but was denied because Pierce showed tremendous leadership as exemplified by his 38-point effort in Game 5. Despite not earning the award, Allen still had a great season overall. I firmly believe that he will continue to play well next year, even though some believe he is getting to the end of the line. Ray still has a lot of juice left in him.
Rajon Rondo: B+
Rondo had a great second season with the Celtics. He was the team’s leader in assists and was fourth on the team in scoring by averaging 5.1 assists and 10.6 points per game. Not a lot could have been expected out of him coming into the season, but his quickness and good ball-handling skills earned him the respect he now deserves.
Rondo just needs to work on his free throws as well as maybe taking the ball to the basket himself more often. Rajon is still very young and I see a potential all-star future for him.
Kendrick Perkins: B
The always angry-faced Perk had a decent season as he continues to develop. Remember that Perk was drafted out of high school and is still very young despite being in the NBA now for five years. Perk led the team in blocks this year as he took on the role as the everyday starting center. He was healthy for just about the entire year, but faced some health issues in the playoffs (nothing major though).
His problems came when he was under the basket, where instead of putting up the shot he would take a dribble first. He may get the foul but instead of a three-point play it would become just a chance for two, or he would lose the ball. Perk started to grow out of that through the playoffs and continues to show signs of improvement as he develops.
James Posey: A-
Posey was the sixth man all year long and a very good one at that. His terrific defense and the three-point capabilities led to clutch moments on both sides of the ball. Posey was a great spark off the bench and critical in the Game 4 comeback in the Finals. Posey (and the C’s for that matter) were helped by his extensive playoff resume, which included an NBA Finals win with the Heat in 2006.
The future of Posey and the Celtics is not very clear at the moment as Posey has the ability to opt out of his contract for next year. No matter where Posey ends up next year, I am confident Celtics fans will still appreciate what he brought to Boston through his experience and tremendous defense.
Leon Powe: B+
It seemed like Leon just came out of nowhere for the Celtics when Garnett went down with the abdominal strain midway through the season. The second-year player out of Cal was dominant underneath the basket and despite only playing in 56 games this season, he finished 5th on the team in scoring.
Powe generally only plays underneath the basket, which makes me wonder if he can shoot a jump shot well enough if he needs to. Despite this, he had several games where he finished with over 20 points and was the most effective player of the game. I expect big things from Powe in the coming years as he also continues to develop.
P.J. Brown: B+
I loved P.J. from the moment we got him and throughout the playoffs. Good thing Brown was convinced to come out of retirement at mid-season. Sure, he did not have the numbers of his younger days, but when P.J. was out there he could rebound and put in a shot or two.
He was a veteran leader on an unproven team and had a tremdous playoff run. When Perkins was hurt in the playoffs, P.J. was there to pick up as many minutes as need despite being 38 years old. P.J. will most likely retire after this season, but his help towards the Celtics will not soon be forgotten.
Eddie House: B
The forgotten backup point guard at the start of the playoffs was another great spark off the bench for the Celtics. Eddie had a great ability to catch and shoot the ball quickly when the clock was winding down. Sometimes I thought that he did it recklessly, and he also had some issues with handling the ball.
I’ll give House the benefit of the doubt that he is not naturally a point guard and his built more like a shooting guard, but over time one would expect his ability to control the ball to improve. Eddie is a free agent as well and we will have to wait and see if the Celtics will go after him or not for next season.
Glen “Big Baby” Davis: B-
Big Baby was a spark off the bench early in the season, but the rookie lost minutes when Leon Powe began to emerge. He is a great rebounder as well a dominant physical presence on the court. He is basically a miniature Shaq in my opinion (hence the name Baby Shaq). Davis will continue to develop the next few years and will be fun to watch. Who cannot help but laugh every time he takes out camera man after camera man?
Tony Allen: C
The guy was great in 2006-07 before he wrecked his knee trying a stupid dunk. This year Allen came off slow and hesitant so he did not get injured again. Tony still played terrific defense when he did play and is starting to get his confidence in his knees back.
Tony even saw some crucial minutes in the Finals as he guarded Kobe Bryant, based on his past success against him. I can see Tony playing a bigger role again next year when he is finally 100% recovered from his injury and gets the ability to score like he did in the previous season.
Brian Scalabrine: C
Scal continued to be that token towel-waving white guy on the bench that KC called him halfway through the season. He does not score when he goes into a game and he rarely even goes into a game at that. He does work hard though and continued to work out and practice with the team day after day in the playoffs even though he was only active for a few games that he did not even enter.
Unless the Celtics try to make a move, then Scalabrine will be part of the team once again next year and continue to be a crowd favorite.
Sam Cassell: C-
I was a big supporter of the Cassell deal when the Celtics first acquired him, but over time he really did nothing for the team expect maybe provide some valuable veteran experience. Cassell was a better ball handler than Eddie House but his slow play style clashed too much with the Celtics fast-paced style. Sam also seemed to like to dribble down the court and shoot the ball himself without passing it once and leaving about 20 seconds on the shot clock.
He did have some decent games, notably one against San Antonio during the Texas Triangle sweep, but overall I felt he was a waste in the end and brought nothing to the team. The one thing I did like was that after Game 6 of the FInals, Cassell was asked why he did not play. He responded by saying that he told Doc not to play him and this one was for the young guys.
Scot Pollard: C-
Remember this guy? That other white guy on the team? Yeah, Pollard was still a member of the Celtics after the Finals were all said and done. Injuries to both his ankles and surgery afterward ended Pollard’s season prematurely. Pollard is not necessarily a bad player as his size gives him the ability to rebound and be an effective center.
However, the injuries left him really no chance to prove himself to Boston. Pollard is also a free agent and will most likely not be back next season. I will miss his episodes of “Planet Pollard” on Comcast Sports Net, but life goes on.
Gabe Pruitt: Incomplete
KC also had Pruitt listed as incomplete at the halfway point in the season. I think Pruitt will be a regular bench player on the team next year since he spent most of his time in the developmental league this year. Pruitt looked decent in the few games he played and his size (6’4″) is just right for a backup point guard. Look to see Pruitt play more next season.
The season as a whole was obviously a successful one. The return to glory for the Celtics franchise is one that Boston fans have missed the last 22 years. The NBA draft is coming up and the Celtics have the last pick in both rounds, but I would not expect much out of the team for the draft as we can assume that most of the team will be back next year. “Can the Celtics repeat?” is a question I am sure that is on everyone’s mind, but we will just have to wait and see.
How would you grade the Celtics 2007-08 season?
Total Voters: 19
Tags: Brian Scalabrine, Celtics, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, Eddie House, Gabe Pruitt, Glen Big Baby Davis, James Posey, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers, Leon Powe, NBA Finals, P.J. Brown, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Sam Cassell, Scot Pollard, Tony Allen