Chat with ESPNBoston's Chris Forsberg
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPNBoston.com blogger Chris Forsberg stops by to chat about the NBA and the Boston Celtics.
Forsberg has been reporting on the Boston sports scene since 1999. With his video camera in tow, Forsberg covered everything from Massachusetts high school sports to Boston's pro sports teams. Follow him at his Celtics blog.
Send your questions now and join Forsberg Monday at noon ET!
Chris Forsberg (12:01 PM)
Good afternoon everyone. Thanks for dropping by. Let's dive right into your questions...
Justin (Queens, New York)
If Shaq can't get healthy for the playoffs, will the C's still be a contending team?
Chris Forsberg (12:03 PM)
Absolutely. Listen, at this point I'm not sure how much you sit here and expect out of either O'Neal. Just consider it a nice little bonus if they're able to get (and stay) healthy. Nenad Krstic has been great in a starting role and should only get more comfortable on the defensive end. Depth surely helps in the postseason, so C's just have to hope those two can get right.
Did we ever find out any answers on the reasoning behind the Perkins trade?
Chris Forsberg (12:05 PM)
It's pretty cut and dry now, no? The Celtics didn't think they could re-sign Kendrick Perkins in the offseason and, combined with a need for another swingman, found a deal they thought made them better immediately (while also preventing them from being left empty handed when Perkins explored free agency in the offseason). It's a bold move, one I don't think a lot of general managers would have been brazen enough to make, but anything short of Banner 18 will always leave people questioning the move.
Corwyn Canedy (New London, Ct)
Chances they leave nenad as the starter even when shaq returns healthy? It seems that nenad is a better fit since he balances rondo deficiencies, namely poor outside shooting, better than shaq does
Chris Forsberg (12:07 PM)
No, I think Shaq's the starter if/when healthy. It comes down to the fact that it's easier to get Shaq going at the start of games and it just maximizes his efficiency (particularly being alongside the best possible defensive lineup). An added advantage: Doc can decide whether he wants to go with Baby or Jeff Green as first off the bench, both of who have shown ability to thrive with the four core starters.
Carlos Romo (San Juan)
Who do you think will be the likely playoff 12 man roster?
Chris Forsberg (12:10 PM)
Let's go with Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Garnett, Shaq, Delonte, Baby, Green, Krstic, J.O'Neal, Wafer, and Murphy. (Arroyo, Sasha, and Bradley inactive)... If Rondo
Justin W (New Jersey)
Can the Knicks challenge the C's in a 7 game series?
Chris Forsberg (12:13 PM)
No. But as we've mentioned in this space in previous weeks, it's certainly not an ideal matchup for any of the East's top seeds to drawn New York.
If playoffs started today and top seeds won out, C's playoff path would be: Indiana, Orlando, Chicago. Now, drop Boston to the third spot and the path becomes: New York, Miami, Chicago. That's why every game matters from here on out.
Chris Forsberg (12:14 PM)
New York would seemingly be a more grueling series, then you'd have the other beasts of the East waiting in the latter rounds. Just not ideal.
Based on the last couple of games do you think that the trade of Perkins was the right decision?
Chris Forsberg (12:17 PM)
I wish there was a way to simulate life based on decisions one way vs. another. So if we could simulate the rest of the 2010-11 season had the Celtics simply made one minor deadline move like trading Marquis Daniels and adding Sasha Pavlovic off the scrap heap. Alas, we'll just never know.
So fair or not, this trade will be judged solely by whether the Celtics win a world title. I see potential for this trade to make them better, but the rebounding does concern me right now (not that Perkins was quite the force he can be there in the early stages of his return). That might be eased by the return of the O'Neals, but I really really like the versatility Jeff Green provides. It's still going to take some time to figure out how this all works and I wonder if the Celtics will still be putting it together on the fly in the postseason due to injuries.
Bottom line after all that hedging, I understand the trade and I like it. C's knew they needed another wing to have any chance of winning and they did that. Hopefully the size thing doesn't catch up with them in the end.
I know you liked the sad perkins website, but have you seen Semih Erden's facebook page? Before the trade he had a profile picture with a huge smile on his face. His new one has him in a Cav's uni looking so sad.http://www.facebook.com/SemihErden86
Chris Forsberg (12:20 PM)
This is phenomenal. Someone start a Sad Semih tumblr, stat!
Of all the moves, the Cleveland deal was the most confounding to me. The fact that the Celtics replaced Harangody and Erden with the likes of Murphy, Arroyo, and Pavlovic is definitely an advantage now, but Erden had a lot of potential and it's too bad they sort of sacrificed that for the now. But as I wrote before the trade deadline, that's what you have to do sometimes. There's very few times you can look at your team and say, "We're championship material." You have to go for it in those situations and that's what Ainge did.
ODT (New York)
If the season were to end today, what team do you think would represent the easiest first round match up for Boston?
Chris Forsberg (12:23 PM)
I'd say Indiana. The Celtics have had two double-digit wins over the Pacers this season and given their coaching change and all that, it's just not a team that's trending upwards (at least this year). Even a team like Philly would be a bit of a pest given their athleticism. Milwaukee is scary if they get healthy and sneak into the postseason, particularly in a 1 vs. 8 matchup.
Joe L (Maine)
How can Doc use jeff green most effectively?
Chris Forsberg (12:25 PM)
Well, if Doc can't figure it out quite yet, I'm not sure I'm qualified to be offering any advice. But I do like the lineup with the Big 4 and Green. Lot of offensive potential there and a lot of opportunity to get Green running with Rondo (especially considering that unit will get a lot of stops). That said, they need to get Green acclimated to the defense with that unit and it hasn't quite clicked yet.
I think the Celtics just need to use his versatility. When teams go small, let him go to the post. When opponents go big, pull the cord and let him run. I don't see him being locked into one sort of role, his versatility is his biggest strength.
Do you see the heat being a threat to the celtics in the playoffs if they happened to face each other?
Chris Forsberg (12:27 PM)
Of course. That team is WAY too talented to just dismiss because of struggles (including three losses to Boston this season). The Celtics would be just fine only seeing Chicago or Miami in the Conference finals. If they have to go through both, that's going to be very tough. Miami is just too good not to figure this all out before the postseason.
CJQ (north dakota )
what do you think J.O can do in the playoffs or will he be a total bust
Chris Forsberg (12:29 PM)
During those 10 games he came back for starting on Christmas Day, he was actually a very nice defensive-minded presence with the second unit. I see potential for him to provide -- dare I say -- Perk-like defense at times off the bench. He's still among the best at helping on the weakside, he'll block shots, grab rebounds. Any offense you get will be a bonus, but he can be a factor in limited minutes.
Christopher Pellegrini (Chicago)
This is the first time in a long while the C's have had a center (Krstic) who is an actual back to the basket with post moves Center, not to mention someone who actually can grab a offensive board. When all is said and done, will we potentially look back at Krstic as the most important, under the radar, acquisition in this flurry of moves?
Chris Forsberg (12:32 PM)
It's funny, I made the joke the other night to a friend that it was nice of Oklahoma City to throw in Jeff Green as part of that Perk-for-Krstic trade. No, I think we've seen that the Big 4 have a way of making that fifth starter look very good. I'm sure Perk benefited from it to a degree, and so now is Krstic. I do like that he doesn't hesitate with the ball. If Rondo can squeeze it in there, he's very good about finding space to go up in and make a basket in traffic.
His defense isn't on a Perk level, but he's already becoming more vocal out there. Remember, this guy was a starter on a very good team for a reason. And the Celtics have only scratched the surface on his ability to be effective from the perimeter.
I know the celtics were very short handed last night. But I don't like what I am hearing about ray allens sore knee. Should the celtics find some time to get allen some days off?
Chris Forsberg (12:34 PM)
Absolutely. As good as Ray was Friday night playing through the pain, it looked like he probably should have considered a night off on Sunday. Alas, when you're dressing nine guys, you're not going to get the Ray Allens of the world to take a night off.
What the Celtics could really use is a couple of lopsided games in which their second unit is comfortable enough that it doesn't let the cushion dwindle to an uncomfortable level. Then Doc can give Ray a couple 25 minute nights and that will go a long way towards getting him fresh for the postseason. Allen, Pierce, and Rondo could all use a reduction in minutes moving forward.
Bob (Des Moines)
Garnett was icing his right knee late in the 3rd-early 4th quarter. Is that normal routine for him or that something new?
Chris Forsberg (12:36 PM)
No, that's routine. Whenever Garnett comes to the bench late in the first & third quarters, he throws on his warm-ups and ices during the game (usually both knees I believe).
The Celts aren't getting any younger clearly. Is this one of the last few chances in the 4 years to win another championship? One has to assume KG and Allen will call it quits sometime soon right?
Chris Forsberg (12:37 PM)
Absolutely. Then again, we've been saying that for two season. But it just goes back to what I said earlier: When you've got a chance to win it all, you go for it. I don't care if the window has another year or two, you can never predict what's going to happen between now and then, so you load up for the now and chase that title.
Cesar (London, Canada)
This may not be a hot topic in the future come playoff time, but do you expect Arroyo to be a good contribution to the Celtics? specially since Miami let him go. Can he bring that sense of urgency he's lacked with the big 3 in Miami. This is his truly last chance to prove he can be an asset
Chris Forsberg (12:39 PM)
The expectations with Arroyo should be this: A guy who can play 10 minutes per night and not turn the ball over while Rondo's off the court. If he turns out to be anything more -- whether it's on the court, or sharing some of the Heat's playbook off of it -- it was a worthwhile addition.
The bummer is that it came at the expense of Chris Johnson, a center that, from all accounts, this team really really likes and would love to hook back after the season. He's got some nice potential, just needs to add some meat to those bones.
Chris: I know we're nowhere near there yet, but if the C's face the Lakers in the Finals ... who, exactly, will guard Bynum? Who guards Gasol (KG got dominated by him last year)? Odom? Can our improved athleticism really compensate for their huge height advantage?
Chris Forsberg (12:40 PM)
You cross that bridge when you get there. Surely, the Celtics have weakened themselves for that potential matchup. But they feel like they bettered their chances against the Chicagos and Miamis of the world, which you need to get by to get to the Lakers (who finally look like a team that wants to play in June after Sunday's Spurs thrashing).
Do you see KG as a mentor like figure for Jeff Green?
Chris Forsberg (12:42 PM)
It's no surprise that Green's locker got shifted to the open stall next to KG when Pavlovic got added to the roster. The two are friendly as it is, but I think the Celtics really hope that KG can rub off on Green and push him to that next level.
I believe that Shaq is ready to go and the C's are holding him back waiting to get closer to the playoffs the reason why I feel this way Shaq has not taken to his twitter acct since he has been out I realize yesterday was his Shaqday but he was twiiting that gives me reason to believe he is feeling pretty good
Chris Forsberg (12:44 PM)
I wish this was smoke and mirrors, but I honestly believe Shaq's right foot is a mess (and not just the Achilles). I was told more than once at the All-Star game that he was still a month away at that point, so the rumors that he was trying to come back as early as last night's game were a bit stunning.
The Celtics don't just want Shaq to get his foot right, they want him to get in the sort of shape that will allow him to play from mid-April until mid-June (same goes for Jermaine O'Neal).
The team can only take 12 players into the playoffs. Per your projection, they are not going to use Pavlovic or Arroyo in the playoffs. Basically, they jettisoned Harangody and Erden, who could help the team in future seasons, for six weeks of Pavlovic and Arroyo as regular-season third-stringers. Do you think this was wise?
Chris Forsberg (12:45 PM)
Well, considering Boston's injuries, any depth is a quality move because you just can't assume this team will be healthy from 1 to 15 in April. But, yes, if that happens, they sacrificed a bit of the future to get the sort of depth they needed to simply get through the regular season.
But I'll go back to my main argument: It's about now. And if the Celtics didn't add these healthy bodies now, they probably don't stay in contention for a top seed, which hurts their chances to win a world title.
Do you know if Shaq is rehabbing in Boston or Orlando?
Chris Forsberg (12:47 PM)
Shaq was in Orlando area during the All-Star break, but returned to Boston when the team came home after the post-All-Star west coast swing. He's been working out in Waltham for the past week. I did catch a glimpse of him walking through the facilities the other day. He's lost some weight and they're definitely working to get him into position to be a consistent contributor.
Lamar Odom (Los Angeles, CA)
Thanks for trading Kendrick Perkins.
Chris Forsberg (12:48 PM)
I think Pau or Andrew could send this, but the Celtics probably like the idea of matching Jeff Green up on you at times, Lamar.
matt (hanover, Ma)
Do you see the Celts making a D-league call up this year?
Chris Forsberg (12:49 PM)
No, they're back at the 15-man max. Barring the unforeseen, this is the 15 they'll roll with from here on out. There's no one in the D-League that can help them in the postseason, though certainly Johnson is the type of player they'd love to get back in the future.
To Satch in Boston: It's a valid question, I admit, but I'd also add "who does LA have to cover Krstic?". Bynum was allowed to take a breather on D with Perkins having presenting no concerns on the offensive end. Now Nenad can pull Bynum away from the basket (helping us on the Offensive Boards, potentially)
Chris Forsberg (12:49 PM)
T, you want to take over the chat from here? I'm starved and looking to get some lunch.
But to be fair, I'm not sure any team is worried about guarding Krstic. But he'll certainly have an impact.
Was signing Carlos arroyo necessary?, he isn't that good.
Chris Forsberg (12:50 PM)
You've seen Rondo the past couple games, no? The Celtics are desperate to get him some rest and Avery Bradley's just not ready to play point guard. So you bring in a veteran who, if nothing else, can direct an offense without turning the ball over.
Jim S. (Auburn, MA)
Chris, when will Doc start to sit the starters, or start to give them considerable rest as he did last year?
Chris Forsberg (12:53 PM)
I'm clearly picking this question based on location. As I've told you chatters before, the key to me picking your question is to put my hometown in the location field.
Let's just say the schedule is less-than-daunting over the next couple weeks. I think this would be as good a time as any for Doc to try to give Rondo, Allen, and Pierce some breathers. If Delonte West can get back on the court soon, that will make that task easier. But the addition of Arroyo and Pavlovic should help as well.
Kim K (Eugene, OR)
I know Doc raved about Pavlovic's D last night. How would you grade the other new guys at picking up the Celtics D?
Chris Forsberg (12:54 PM)
It's going OK. I like that they're getting more vocal. I really like that they're aggressively hedging on pick and roll and scrambling to recover. There's still strides to be made, but they're slowly getting it. Just keep in mind that none of the players brought in are exactly elite defenders (heck, most wouldn't eve be regarded as above average), but Boston's defense-first core will do their best to instill that in the newbies.
Steve (Bismarck, ND)
Do you ever get the same feeling I do when watching the Celtics, the feeling that they might never score again? Some of their offensive droughts, especially in the second halves of games, are downright chilling.
Chris Forsberg (12:56 PM)
Just remember that Boston is a better offensive team with all these moves. Hasn't played out at times so far, but the Celtics are hoping it will down the road. For every drought, they've had a 20-point-in-four-minute explosion. They just need consistency.
Chris Forsberg (12:57 PM)
Alright, that's going to do it for now. We're going to cobble together the best of the leftover questions (and there's hundreds to choose from) and put together a Celtics Mailbag later. So keep the questions coming if we didn't tackle your query here.
Chris Forsberg (12:58 PM)
Thanks to everyone for all the questions. I think the plan is to do this every Monday that we can moving forward, so come spend your lunch break with me again next week.