Welcome to this week's Celtics chat. I'm interested to see what you guys think about Doc Rivers' suggestion that change could be imminent and what you might do if you were in charge. We'll tackle that and anything else on your mind. Let's dive in...
What do you think the changes Doc has suggested he might make will be? I think he ends up starting Sheed, which would actually make us a worse rebounding team, thus making the Celtics worse. Also the second unit wouldn't have Sheed to go to and would have trouble scoring.
Let's start with 'Sheed and, I agree, I don't think it's the answer. Sure, Kendrick Perkins is struggling and it's tough to watch his offensive numbers slip a bit after such a fantastic start to the season, but I'm wondering if the Celtics plan to have ANYONE under the basket if they had a starting lineup with Wallace in it. Plus, I just don't like the idea of Perkins with the second unit. I think the team is well-served to avoid that swap.
As for what I do think the team will do...
While I wrote in yesterday's column that a Marquis Daniels-Ray Allen starting lineup swap made a lot of sense -- and I truly believe that -- I think there's a danger in any large change made to a team with 19 games remaining. I think maybe we'll see Doc loosen up his rotation and maybe try to mix in different bench players earlier if the starters struggle. That said, another week of struggles and maybe the Daniels-Allen flip-flop gets more consideration (even with less time to play in the season, something would have to be done to turn this ship around).
Doc has got to be on the hot seat, right?
I think management understands this one's on the players right now. I don't see anything that Doc's doing that's hurting this team. Now, you can certainly argue that a coach has to be the one to take the fall when his players don't play to their potential, but I can't see him getting blame for injuries that have caused this team to sorta never find a rhythm. Now, if this team crashes and burns over the next 19 games and suffers a first-round playoff exit, someone's going to take the heat. But even then it might be the roster simply gets overhauled.
Is there anything a "stake" with Doc Rivers starting Perkins - 5, KG - 4, Finley - 3, Daniels - 2, and Rondo at the - 1?
Under my little proposal, I'd actually like to see Pierce stay in there and what I'd do is actually have him play the 2 -- keeping opposing guards honest with a backcourt of Rondo/Pierce -- and let Daniels try to create a little havoc at the 3 by both slashing and posting. I know people are frustrated by Pierce's struggles at both ends of the court, but I'll agree with Doc here, I don't think pulling him off the court is the answer. He needs to work through this and you simply have to hope he figures it out over the next six weeks, even if it means taking some bumps along the way.
What's frustrating to fans is that, even if Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are having off nights, this team should still win games. And they're not right now.
Why in the world is Pierce being so non aggressive? Why doesn't Doc. Force him to take over a game? I want to see him do something more then pass, Look at Lebron, and Kobe they are aggresive when they need to be, but Pierce is less then trying to be aggresive can you explain this to me?
Pierce noted the other night that it's not about him getting shots and that the Boston offense is predicated on making the extra pass. That's true and it's good to see a player that's unselfish, but I think even Doc would like to see Pierce be a little bit of a hog over the next 19 games. The Celtics need to get him going offensively and the only way that happens is to put up more than the 8 shots he took vs. Memphis.
We need to see the old-school Pierce, bouncing hard to the rim and, even if he's not making shots, get to the line and grow some confidence at the stripe.
How do you think Doc would react if Perk or Big Baby started chucking up 3's at the rate Rasheed does? He'd bench them in a second. Why does he allow Rasheed to get away it?
I think Doc might have a heart attack if Perk starting chucking 3's, but I understand your point. Listen, it's a part of Wallace's game and, early in the season when he was making 3's consistently, it truly did spread the floor for Boston. Now teams know he's shooting 29 percent out there, so they're going to give him that shot. Only way to loosen that up is for 'Sheed to get inside and establish himself near the basket. He's done a better job lately, but there's work to be done.
Why has TA disappeared again, after playing better for a long stretch? Another injury or an example of Doc's skillful rotations?
The guess here is that Allen's not 100 percent with his hip. I think Doc tried to get him some court time last week when he appeared for two minutes against Washington, and must not have liked what he saw. While Finley is sure to bite into TA's minutes if he shows he can consistently hit perimeter jumpers -- it would seem TA still has a role on this team with his defense. If not, and Doc's lost faith, it could be TA that ends up inactive instead of Scalabrine or Shelden (though I doubt that will happen).
Chris, I don't have a question. I just want to say that anyone who genuinely thinks this team has a chance to win four playoff series and take home a title is deluding themselves and living in the past. This team sucks. It's not happening, give up, start paying attention to spring training. Casey Kelly could probably give this team more of a boost than Michael Finley. Honestly.
I understand this team hasn't given anyone reason to be confident over the last 35 games, especially not with performances like the one against the Grizzlies. But there's something that, every time I'm ready to give up on them, they show a glimmer of that championship-caliber squad. It will be very, very interesting to see how they respond when the playoffs start.
Any plans for Shelden Williams to get more involved in the game?
I'm not certain it's a good thing if, like vs. Memphis, Shelden is in the game in the second quarter. Boston was clearly getting killed on the glass and needed a rebounder in there, but Williams limits you offensively. I guess if the Celtics could ever get a lead, I'd be OK with more Shelden time because he can help on the boards, but, as I've said all along, it's not a good sign if he's in there otherwise.
I notice that on offense the Celtics usually only have one offensive player crashing the offensive boards. Do you think this is scheme (KG and Sheed are supposed to be far from th basket for a lot of plays Doc runs) or do you think it's a lack of effort. The only player on the team who even attempts getting offensive boards is big baby.
Little bit of both. Doc talked about this a while back, that Boston's game plan is for the guys to drop back on release in order to prevent the other team from getting in transition. But I'll admit I'm sometimes baffled by a lack of desire of the bigs to go after offensive boards in their neighborhood.
From watching the last few games it really seems like the Celtics get really lazy on defense. They are either missing a rotation, or they aren't stepping up to contest a shot. It got to the point the other night that Marcus Williams could walk down the court and take a shot. It just seems like they really lack the will to win like they had 2 years ago. How exactly can they get the fire back?
It's particularly concerning that this team's trouble is on defense. I keep going back to the fact that we were talking about this team being the greatest defensive team in NBA history when the season stared. To have slipped so mightily is almost unfathomable. I think it comes down to getting back to basics and not allowing struggles at one end of the court to affect the other. Now, guys like Pierce and KG might be a step slow from injuries, but there's still no reason for Boston to be getting torched as badly as they have at times over the last 35 games.
Chris, What IS the problem with this team? Seems hard to believe they got old this quickly. I'll give you injuries as a small part of the problem but they should still beat teams like the Nets. I watch them night in and night out and I can't really point to one thing that is wrong. Is it a bunch of the little things? Uninterested? I just don't know.
That's the most frustrating part, there is no single answer. The team is so inconsistent that it's a different issue each night -- though we've certainly seen patterns develop at times. I think part of it was injuries early on and they leaned on that as a crutch, but now it's just sloppy basketball. Teams are coming in geared up to play the Celtics and Boston simply isn't matching that intensity, particularly at home. At this point, I think it's clear the postseason is the only thing that will make this team re-focus, but they've still got to beat the teams like the Nets. Losses like that are inexcusable.
BEt ya they get wailed in Cleveland on Sunday, they are done!
I'm very interested to see the energy level for that game. The Celtics made a lot about how they "get up" for big games after losing to Memphis, but if you look at their record against the best teams, that hardly seems the case. They might get up for them, but they're certainly not winning them. Another loss to Cleveland would drop them to 2-9 against the Cavs, Magic, and Hawks this season. Not exactly confidence inspiring with the playoffs around the bend. But maybe a win brings some folks back to the bandwagon.
Just read what you wrote about a Marquis Daniels for Allen swap and you are not alone on this one, I have heard this same idea from a lot of people. Wouldn't it make more sense to replace Pierce than Allen? Possibly use Finley or Quis? Allen has been our best scorer since the break, he is a volume shooter that struggles when he puts up less shots (see first half of the season), a move to the bench would kill his stroke. Pierce right now is the problem, let's sit him until he looks right, and then slowly ease him back. How about starting Sheed and Perk? KG would be fresher playing less minutes and his energy would be better utilized off the bench.
But wouldn't Allen stand to see more shots with the second team since he'd be counted on more to generate scoring than he would be with the first team? Look at the stats for when Ray plays with the second unit, it's quite favorable. I've long said the C's need someone like a Jamal Crawford and, while guys like Nate Robinson and Rasheed should be giving you second-unit punch, it's not translating -- at least not consistently. Feels like Glen Davis is averaging more shots than Ray Allen lately, that's a clear sign a pure shooter could be used on the second unit.
Did they take your profile picture at halftime of the C's-Grizz game?
Chris, quick question why did Boston ever sign Rasheed Wallace? His play is absolutely awful.
He's certainly underachieved, but you can't predict that. They overpaid for him in terms of contract length hoping he'd push them over the top this season and now they're probably kicking themselves as Leon Powe is set to join the starting lineup in Cleveland (with Jamison out tonight). Like the struggling starters, you just hope Rasheed finds another gear in the postseason.
If Celtics are in the 4th or 5th seed, do you think resting the starting 5 for the last 5 games would help?
No, if they ever slip that low they need to start winning games to get out of those seeds. As I detailed after the Milwaukee game, a playoff path that goes something like Bucks-Cavs-Magic/Hawks is probably the worst thing that can happen for this team and would likely occur if they're a 4th seed. The third seed is a much more optimistic route with something like Raptors-Magic-Cavs. But we're putting the cart way before the horse here.
I can't wait for my contract to expire because I am so bad. I know I don't deserve to be in the NBA but do you think any team will pick me up this off-season?
Scal, sorry you've been relegated to inactive the last two games. Tough break. Hey, maybe if Finley works out you'll get some burn ahead of Shelden or TA if the matchups work out. You could use some floor time as you prepare to become a free agent. Let's be honest, you're 31 and it'd be nice if you could get a couple years on that next deal. I'm not sure the C's are going to pay you $3.4 million for future seasons to "be a good teammate."
I wish you all could see the questions as they come in. Someone sent along a string of cheesy one-liners. Fantastic stuff, like...
Chris, are you sure you are ok? Heaven is a long fall from here...
Chris, when I first saw your picture, I thought you had something in your eye, but when I looked again, I realized it was just your sparkle!!
Here should be the starting lineup...This should shake things up: Finley, Scalenbrine, Robinson, Williams, Wallace!!
Let's sub TA for Wallace and you have the Gino time lineup. Well, if we see Gino again this season.
Chris, do you think all the Celtics are really playing with heart?
If they are and this is the result, that doesn't bode well. I think there's definitely something to be said for coasting towards the playoffs, but this is the point you start to ramp up for the postseason and somehow the C's are still going backwards.
Starting Sheed is not the answer and I hope Doc wasn't alluding to that. Nevermind the 3's that everyone harps on, Sheed is LAZY. His idea of defense is letting his guy go by him and swiping at the ball from behind, not to mention his total aversion to banging on the blocks. Nothing he can do offensively would outweigh what he takes away on the defensive end.
No, I'm a little surprised anyone interpreted Doc's comments about change as a suggestion of Perk-for-'Sheed flop in the starting lineup. Just doesn't make sense. Perkins may be struggling offensively, but his defense remains steady. It's not his fault guards are getting blown past and the help defense is scrambling to cover.
What's the deal with the C's winning more on the road (22-11 vs. 18-12 @ home)? Anomaly? Related to timing of injuries? Or is it simply they play more or less the same, regardless of where?
The road certainly forces you to focus more. There's not the distractions of home. Everything there revolves around basketball from meetings and shootarounds and games. Plus, there's something to be said for increased attention when you walk into someone else's building. It's clearly working against the C's at home. Teams are coming in and excited to play the Celtics beneath all those banners, but that energy isn't being matched. Teams should be excited to play here, but also a bit intimidated. That's not happening this season.
With Ray Allen's contract expiring this season, why can't the Celts use that $19M? and sign someone like Chris Bosh?
I'm creating a Celtics FAQ. No offense there, Fred, just one of the more common queries. Long story short, C's can resign Ray and overpay based on Larry Bird Rights that will prevent him from being a nuisance to the cap, but if they allow him to walk, it's not like they can re-purpose his money towards another player without dealing with the cap issues.
Let's tackle a few more, then it's off to the Garden for tonight's game against Indiana...
You can only tackle one problem at a time. A glaring problem is lack of offense. I'd actually like to see what Finley has in the tank. I think a starting line-up with Finley and Daniels should be implimented. It might be the shakeup Paul needs to be more agressive and productive. What's to lose at this point?
Let's give Finley a week to show he's got something left in the tank before we put him in the starting lineup. He can help this team, but he's not going to be the difference in a playoff run.
Chris: If you were the Celtics GM, what would be your top 3 moves next year? Please list them 1-3.
I love the question. You won't love my answer as it's nothing flashy... 1. Re-sign Paul Pierce at team friendly deal that ensures he retires as a Celtic; 2. Re-sign Kendrick Perkins to ensure base of him and Rondo exists moving forward (and don't let him get to free agency after 2010-11; 3. Re-sign Ray Allen at team friendly deal, but stress that he's likely moving to 6th man role for future seasons.
4. Would be examining the market and hope to lure more Marquis Daniels/James Posey-type players at reasonable contracts. But that's going to be tough because teams are going to be overpaying for marginal talent when the LeBrons and Wades of the world re-sign with their teams.
Crap, great informative answer RE: Home-Away record. I'd like to hear more. How about 750 words on that for Monday?
Shhhh, don't give my bosses any ideas.
Is there a chance that the Celtics let Allen go as a FA and trade away Pierce?
If this season completely self destructs like a message to Inspector Gadget, then I can potentially see that. But I'd say it's far more likely we see a very similar roster next season and roll the dice on Father Time yet again.
And that's going to do it. Thanks for the great questions and the great pick-up lines. If you didn't get your favorites answered in this chat, send them along for Wednesday's mailbag, or drop back next week for another chat.
I'll leave you with one last line and only because the user name is fantasticly done...
Hey Chris, If I were to rearrange the alphabet, I would put U and I together!
Thanks again for hanging out everyone. Enjoy tonight's game.