wake up, basketball fans! the sleepy preseason finally got the hint and went home, making way for the ones that count. natrone’s livin’ and dyin’ with the men in green, and today i’ll bring you the super official 2010/11 season breakdown. last year as you all know, our beloved leprechauns lost in game 7 of the nba finals, filling the streets of boston with sorrow and defeat. we knocked on the door, only to have a cranky phil jackson slam it back in our faces. however, the c’s core is still intact, with a few saucy newcomers so it’s time to wipe the slate clean and gear up for another title run.
ray allen—-grade: b+
he may have lost a step, and the legs will be a year older, but the league’s silkiest jumpshot still remains. scoring will be down, but efficiency continues to rise as ray has grown very comfortable in the system. expect the usual; a steady diet of 3s. and when he catches fire, well, you already know.
avery bradley—-grade: c-
bradley, a guard from texas, was the c’s first round selection this summer at #19 overall. just 19, his game is still very rough around the edges. standing at 6’3, though, he’ll give some height to the pg position and will hopefully be, in time, a credible backup to rondo.
marquis daniels—-grade: d
scooped up before last season in free agency, daniels might have been the biggest disappointment on the roster. at one point a solid role player in indiana, daniels saw miniscule minutes last year and showed very little growth. things could change if daniels makes the roster, but i’m not optimistic.
glen davis—-grade: b-
how could you not like big baby? he’s frustrating to watch at times, and might be the only 6’6” black guy who has difficulty dunking a basketball. but time and time again, davis has come up big in the playoffs, and has proven to be a reliable backup big man at both the 4/5 positions.
semih erden—-grade: d+
i’m not sure if homeboy will make the roster, but he’s shown some promise in the preaseason. no part of his game really stands out, besides the fact that he’s over 7 feet tall. sometimes, that’s good enough in the nba, and i could see semih giving us some depth at the 5 in the future.
kevin garnett—-grade: a-
if the preseason is any indication, garnett is as healthy as he’s been since his arrival in boston, and that’s a great sign. when not hampered by knee problems, he is still a beast. our most steady source of low-post scoring and our defensive leader. the most vocal leader of the team, and the straw that stirs the drink.
luke harangody—-grade: c
drafted in the second round, i wasn’t too sure how he would fit into the system. after watching the preaseason, however, i’m optimistic he will find a role. unathletic as shit, but equipped with a decent jumpshot and 4 years of experience at notre dame. he’ll never be a go-to guy like he was in college, but i wouldn’t be surprised to see adequate production in 10 or so minutes a game this year.
7 or 8 years ago, i would have been psyched about picking up jermaine o’neal. now, it’s kind of cool i guess? slightly removed from his all-star self, o’neal still has the ability to be a solid low-post scorer, and adds to our ridiculous depth at the pivot. which will help in the playoffs against the miami superheat and their (one?) weakness, joel anthony.
shaquille o’neal—-grade: b
the diesel! never thought i’d see the star of kazaam! and blue chips in green and white, but nearing the end of his career, the big guy is fiending for another ring. a sure first ballot hall of famer, shaq is a shell of himself. shaq-lite is better than most options, however, and at the veteran’s minimum, why not? sure, he still can’t hit the broad side of a barn at the free-throw line, but he still draws double teams in the paint, and his presence will be felt.
kendrick perkins—-grade: b
b might be a little high for perkins, who will miss most of the first half of this year due to injury. but, as seen in last year’s playoffs, perkins has established himself as one of the premier on-ball defenders at the center position. capable of slowing down dwight howard 1 on 1, any offensive output is an added bonus. the numbers might not be gaudy, but a healthy perk is necessary for another title run.
paul pierce—-grade: b+
expect more of the same from paul this year. he’ll be our leading scorer, and our go-to option in the 4th quarter. his mid-range game rivals any, and he continues to gain all the tricks of a wily veteran. with just a couple years left on his contract, you have to respect a man that stays loyal to one team his entire career.
nate robinson—-grade: c+
before his explosion against orlando in last year’s playoffs, robinson had very little impact, but his role expands this year. it’s a love/hate relationship with the lil’ guy, because when he’s good, he’s really good. when the shot’s not falling and he’s turning the ball over, however, he’ll see the bench for large stretches at a time. streaky like eddie house in 2008, robinson will have his moments.
rajon rondo—-grade: a-
in a league chocked full of good point guards, i challenge you to place rajon rondo anywhere outside the top 3. a proven winner and floor general in just his 5th season, the lack of consistent jump shot is the only reason this grade isn’t an a. superior creativity and playmaking skills on offense, combined with first team all-nba defense, rondo will again finish among the leaders in steals and assists. on a team full of future hall of famers, rondo is well on his way.
delonte west—-grade: b-
he’s back! without tony allen, delonte fills our need for combo-guard depth, and will be a solid role-player off the bench. while listening to his interviews might be painful, west is a top notch ball handler and offers impressive athleticism at 6’3”.
overall—-grade: a- prediction: 52-30 (3rd seed)
a year older and a year slower, but still full of veteran stars and team chemistry continues to grow. doc will limit minutes during the regular season as always, but barring injuries i still see the c’s as a powerhouse in the east. perk’s injury hurts, but barring anymore setbacks, the added depth is impressive. if the o’neals play at a high level, things could be scary.