Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Celtic Pride Back Again

Alright, I know you've heard it 17,000 times in the last three days but.....

Paul Pierce IS walking through that door, Kevin Garnett IS walking through that door, Ray Allen IS walking through that door. If they did walk through that door, they'd be unstoppable.

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

Growing up as a teenager in the Greater Boston area, it's much easier to associate the Celtics with Dino Radja, Rick Fox, M.L. Carr and Rick Pitino than with Larry Bird, Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale. Basically, it's like comparing
Dude, Where's My Car? and On The Waterfront. I think Sean William Scott is Dino and Ashton is Pitino, but I'm not sure yet. For the first time in years, the Celtics have become relevant again thanks to one Mr. Kevin Garnett. Ray Allen in the fold is nice, but there are few players in American sports more dynamic and supremely gifted than KG. However, I'm putting talent aside here and focusing on one thing: will. Words can only say so much, but this interview says everything. No acting, no playing around, no bullshit. This is KG:

Pretty much says it all for me. Beyond the domination is just a guy who would give anything to win. I'm sold. Even if the C's are selling their souls to the luxury tax Lucifer to get it done, not to mention spinning off most of their young talent. Although the marketing slogan, "We've Got The Big Ticket (Time To Get Yours)" really is tempting - kudos to the marketing department for that one. A great change from the "Come Watch Doc Rivers Babysit (Please?)" of recent years. I'm sure Wyc factored that in while he was reaching deep into his wallet for that $20m per annum KG will be netting.

Where do the Celtics wind up next year? Right now, just a playoff team. The fact is they're still really young outside of the Big 3. Only Brian Scalabrine - who is more thankful than anyone else in Boston right now because maybe people now will forget how awful his game and contract are.....nah - was born in the 70's (take a look at his official Celtics website photo, he looks like some guy they just grabbed pre-game from The Fours after scarfing down a Bobby Orr* and has that look on his face like "Hello? Hellooooooo?"). Then again, who knows, his wikipedia shows that he scored 80 points in a game against Golden State. You know, it's a wonder how some things slip past the mass media.

The job of getting the ball into the hands of B3 is now down to Rajon Rondo, who is entering his sophomore season. Kid's talented, but he's got a lot of work to do. Kedrick Perkins might benefit greatly from all this, now his only job will be to crash the boards like Kirstie Alley crashes buffets. Tony Allen is coming off knee surgery and will be tackled by a flying Scalabrine coming off the bench the next time he tries to go up for a dunk after the whistle has blown. Other than that, who the hell knows. I'm sorry, but I just can't trust a guy who a) is 22 and has braces, b) has the nickname Big Baby and c) lost 50+ pounds but still weighs circa 3 bills. What happens the first time he meets Scalabrine at The Fours for a quick meal? Hello Robert Traylor.

* - The Bobby Orr - steak and cheese, enough to instantly clog the arteries of a lifelong vegan.

Luckily, the allure of playing alongside 3 title-hungry superduperstars will be enough to get some savvy veterans on the squad to help them out. First up, I would hope, would be a solid pass-first option should Rondo falter. Preferably somebody with a title or two to show them how it's done. Other than that, just start plugging roster spots as best Danny Ainge can. And who could've predicted that two years after giving Veal Scalabrine $15m DA would land Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen without giving up Paul Pierce? That's a prodigious turnaround not seen since Cuba Gooding Jr. went from an Oscar to starring in Norbit and Daddy Day Camp. Only the complete opposite.

As for a Celtics prediction? 51 wins, two seed in the East, and they'll meet up with the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. I have faith they'll pick up a few quality "fillers" to actually formulate a decent rotation, not just have a team comprised of the B3 and everybody else. What a turnaround from last year, when most loyal followers were rooting for the Celtics to lose in anticipation of maybe kinda possibly netting a top lottery pick and therefore a stud for 3 years down the line. It's good to be a C's fan again.