Thursday, October 14, 2010

NBA Odds: Boston Celtics 2010-11 Preview

 How much does Shaq have left in the tank? (AP Images)     
The Celtics won 50 games last season, but it was an ugly 50 games. Still, Boston pulled it together when it counted and came within one win of another title. This year, Boston has 11/1 odds to win the NBA Championship. This is your Boston Celtics 2010-11 preview.

Make no bones about it: this is an old, injury-prone team. Kevin Garnett was hobbled all last season. He’s looked much more explosive during camp and the preseason, but expecting him to stay that way for 82-plus games is like expecting Lindsay Lohan to pass on a free vodka soda.

The rest of the “Big Three” remains intact (though the name has been stolen by a new trio down in South Beach). Both Ray Allen and Paul Pierce have suffered declines, however, and they’re each prone to long, bad stretches of play.

Their regression highlighted the importance of Rajon Rondo. He’s unquestionably one of the league’s best point guards now, a triple-double threat in the league of Jason Kidd but with better defense (not that that’s saying much).

Boston didn’t stand pat in the offseason; management clearly knows the roster is quickly aging, so it dumped some washed up veterans and brought in new blood. Unfortunately, the “new” blood is just as old as the last batch.

Rasheed Wallace is out — that’s a good thing. Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal are in, and that’s, well, possibly not a great thing. Shaq may be the league’s pre-eminent quote machine and pre-game dance choreographer, but it’s been a long time since he ranked among the NBA’s best in anything else.
At least the Celtics won’t be leaning too heavily on either O’Neal, though. As a tandem, they should form a nice little rotation with Glen Davis on the frontcourt.

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