Green Thoughts

Chronicling the Boston Celtics quest for banner number 17... and beyond.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Playoffs or Play Off?

From erstwhile sports guru Frank Laske:

The Celts are 4 behind Philly with 15 games to go. Chicago also has us by half a game. Not sure if we can make it, but I still want them to try. Sorry to see Al Jefferson get shut down by Doc. I guess the ankle is too questionable. And I'm happy to see GG getting some more time and points. An upside for us is that most of our rookies have made impressive leaps over the year. Gomes, West, Jefferson, Perkins, Greene...have all improved dramatically. I'm a little less impressed with OG and Tony Allen (although TA did have a breakout game the other night). Jones got in last night as Candy went on DL. Doc doesn't seem interested in developing those two at all, so the quest for the big man continues I guess.

Would it be better to make or miss the playoffs? That's about the only thing left to debate this season.

I'm on board with the Globe's Peter May that it's probably better for the team to make the lottery. It's not the answer, but it gives them better options in the future. And if this year isn't about the future, than it's pretty much a complete loss.

That said, the answer is not so much in who we add in the offseason, but who have now and can develop. If the kids started to play so well that the team made the playoffs. I guess that would be good news, even if the offseason options aren't as enticing. But I'm so utterly disgusted by the NBA's playoff system - designed specifically to squeeze the fan and cater to the greed of owners and players - that the entire notion of a Celtics-Pistons series makes me want to vomit.

I agree with Frank that it's been gratifying to see some of the kids develop, but I'm not so sure what we're left with here, and if we'll be all that much better next year. Delonte West is a bona fide player, although the Celts could still use a big assist guy at the point. Ryan Gomes seemed to be a star in the making for awhile there, but have you seen his numbers lately? Since the Milwaukee game, he's gotten big minutes, with little production. Between injury and legal hassles, this has been a lost year for Tony Allen. (What a shame.) And I'd hoped to see Al Jefferson's star rise quite a bit, but he's often injured and inconsistent. I still don't know what we have there, or with Kendrick Perkins. Some nice games here and there. Not much more. And Gerald Green? He can hardly get on the court.

Next year really is make or break for this team. Youth won't be an acceptable excuse anymore. No more talk about potential for Jefferson and Perkins. They need to stay healthy and produce. Rivers needs to show he can win a playoff series and get a team to perform with some consistency. Ainge has said next year, he's looking for 45-50 wins. If they get it, he, Rivers and the youth movement are vindicated and the "plan" moves on. If not, Danny will be remembered as the guy who blew up a playoff team for something a notch above the Atlanta Hawks.


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