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Wednesday, July 6, 2011
5-on-5: Surprise, surprise

By Chris Forsberg | @ESPNForsberg | Email

As part of ESPN.com's ongoing 5-on-5 series, five writers tackled five questions on players and teams poised to surprise us next season. During one question on a team that might shock us -- good or bad -- one writer opined on the future of the Celtics:

5. Surprise, surprise: Which team will shock us next season?

 

Zach Harper, Daily Dime Live: The Celtics might shock us in a very bad way. We don't know how they'll address their roster deficiencies this offseason, but their age has to catch up with them at some point, right? They keep defying Father Time and it keeps baffling quite a few of us. Actually, maybe they will continue to defy old age. That would be pretty shocking, too.

* Forsberg's thoughts: Now, it's hard to argue with Harper's logic. It seems like we've been slamming the window on the Celtics ever since that 2008 title and yet this team has averaged 56 wins the past three seasons, came within a quarter of raising Banner 18 in 2010, and might have made another championship charge this past spring if not for injuries. It's quite possible that, like Shaquille O'Neal last season, Father Time will catch up with these Celtics next season as a whole. Alas, the 2011-12 season -- if we're lucky enough to have one -- might be the final real hurrah for Boston's aging veterans as the focal point of the team, so maybe the Celtics will ultimately survive a five-year run in which age couldn't detour the likes of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. But here's the part of Harper's analysis that rings true: We really have no idea what to expect from the Celtics when basketball resumes. You'd get the same amount of eyebrows raised if you predict this team will win 60 games as you would if you said 41 (assuming a full 82-game slate). Fans will seemingly be just as surprised if the Celtics continue to outrace Father Time as they will if he tramples them like a bowling ball. Recent seasons suggest no reason to expect a dropoff, but it doesn't surprise us when someone predicts it might occur.

What's your take? Will age catch up with the Celtics? If someone told you back in 2007 that this team could potentially put together five consecutive championship-caliber seasons would you have believed it possible? Sounds off in the comments.