Posted by Neil Paine on October 26, 2010
Welcome to our 2010-11 NBA Blogosphere Previews, in which we contact the finest team bloggers on the web and ask them to contribute their thoughts on the squad they cover. What follows is their take, along with the team's depth chart (courtesy of ESPN.com), projected 2011 stats via our Simple Projection System, and polls where you get to have your say. Enjoy!
Coach: Doc Rivers
Record: 50-32, Finished 1st in NBA Atlantic Division
SRS: 3.37 (10th of 30) ▪ Pace: 91.6 (22nd of 30)
Off Rtg: 107.7 (15th of 30) ▪ Def Rtg: 103.8 (5th of 30)
Expected W-L: 52-30 (9th of 30)
2011 Depth Chart (with 2010-11 projected per-36 minute stats ... yellow = newcomer)
2010-11 Blogger Outlook by Neil Paine, Basketball-Reference.com
For those not paying attention last year, here's a brief recap of the Celtics' schizophrenic 2009-10 season: Boston started the campaign with a scorching 23-5 record, tying Los Angeles for the NBA's best record on Christmas Day. They followed that with a creaky 27-27 finish to the regular season that left many observers questioning whether they could get past Miami in the 1st round of the playoffs, much less battle with Cleveland, Orlando, & the Lakers. And then they flipped the switch like few teams have ever done before, blasting through the Heat, Cavs, and Magic before finally succumbing to L.A. in the 7th game of a dramatic Finals series.
So what can Boston do for an encore after maybe the most up-and-down-and-up-again season in NBA history? Well, if all goes according to plan, more of the same. Not yet ready to close the book on this chapter in Celtics history, Danny Ainge did the only sensible thing this summer, reloading his aging roster by bringing back Ray Allen & Paul Pierce and acquiring veterans like Delonte West & the "O'Neal Brothers", Jermaine and Shaquille. Of course, this only added to Boston's problem with Father Time -- aside from Rondo, their starting five are all very much on the wrong side of 30 -- but windows like the Celtics have don't come around often, and when you get one, you do whatever it takes to keep it open.
Then again, we probably won't know for a while whether that window is actually open anymore, or if it slammed shut after Game 7. Because of their age, the Celtics will likely lie in the regular-season weeds again and pace themselves for the playoffs before striking with one of the NBA's best defenses. The big question, though, is whether an improved Eastern Conference will still be ripe for the taking when Boston does finally decide to shift into a higher gear. The Celtics believe they have another huge playoff run left in their old legs, and after last year it would be foolish to count them out. But even they know the high-wire act they played last year will be even tougher to pull off this season.