State of the Rebuilt

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State of the Rebuilt

Post by Matty on Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:09 pm

In the Summer of 2013 Danny Ainge traded away Celtics legends Kevin Garnet and Paul Peirce (and pieces) to the Brooklyn Nets. This was following a 41-40 regular season that ended in the post season with a 4-2 decision in favor the of Knickerbockers. Since then the team has been in "rebuilding mode"

I'm not in favor the term rebuilding "rebuilding" any longer.  This season will mark our third trip to the playoffs since the departure of Peirce and Garnett which officially began the "rebuild". During "the process" (sorry I couldn't help myself) Boston missed the playoffs only once. The following season we went 40-42 and were taken out in the first round by those jerkwads from Ohio. Last season we went 48-34 but we again taken out of the first round, this time by the Hawks. Today at the time of this writing The Celtics sit atop the Eastern Conference by 1/2 a game over the Jerkwads from Ohio. We have won one more game than we did last season and have 6 games left in the season.

The road to 18, like any other teams path has its roadblocks. We lack a primary secondary scorer. We need help rebounding and better protection around the rim. Its what we have been hearing since last season. However despite the issue's we face #18 is within our grasp. Our record against the leagues other superpowers isn't what we would like to see. We're 2-7 against the jerkwads from Ohio, Warriors Spurs and Clippers. We spilt the series with Golden State and are 1-2 vs the Jerkwads from Ohio with a possibly deciding game at home against them on April 5th that could tie up the series and might even factor into who wins home court advantage in a matchup in the ECF's.

Danny has done a remarkable job remaking this team, to have changed gears back in '13 to where we stand now is Auerbachian. Considering where the team is at- at this moment  and the tools we have at our disposal to fine tune the team as needed is in my mind an even more impressive feat that what he accomplished in 2007. Of course at this point we've not won a title like the '07/08 team did, but we're legit contenders to do so this season, and unlike back then, Danny has the options to improve this summer using almost any strategy he wants. Additionally there is the championship window of opportunity to consider. Back in '07 there was talk about how the "window" was small. I recall one articale saying it would take a season or two for the team to build the chemistry (if they even could) and then another season or two to really challenge (they were really giving us a three year window).  While that window for title(s) was open a bit longer than that the idea still remains, age would catch up with those guys and the window Danny had opened would not remain opened.

That Window is now open. and what's amazing is that it could remain so for a very long time. Here's  why:

The draft: I'm including the draft and stash players from last season in this as well.
2016's Draft and Stashies: Nader, Zizic  and Yabby:
Barring trades all three of these guys will be on next years roster and in the case of Zizic we're perhaps looking at a much cheaper upgrade over Zeller (more on him later). Yabby could also replace Amir Johnson much cheaper  as well- though we'd miss Johnson's veteran  presence greatly. Nader? A third option at the three behind Crowder and Brown who can be allowed to grow into a bigger role as needed. With Zizic and Yabby we could possibly already have our next generation of starting bigs.

2017: Brooklyn's first, Minnys 2nd, clippers 2nd, cavs 2nd:
Yes the draft is a crap shoot,  but with crap like Ball and Markelle I'm ok with that. We're drafting a future All star.  Also Danny has the options of more stashes or trade options with 3 second round picks, the one from Minny being the most valuable.

2018: Brooklyn's first, our own first.  Our first is gonna be close to number 30, Brooklyn's might well be a top 5 pick. Again. Danny and Wyc problably just bust out laughing every time they even see each other.

2019: our own first, the clippers first, the grizzlies first, detroits second.  like in 2018 our first will be near the last of the first rounders, the Clippers and Grizzlies though are of unknown quality at this point. Detroits second could end up anywhere in that round (except for last, that will be ours lol)

2020: our first and second rounders, Miami's second rounder.
This is a huge haul, at least 2 lotto picks, depending on how things go for other teams, two other picks (clippers and grizzlies) that have potential and 3 other first rounders as well as 7 second round picks over the next four seasons. This gives us many options, we can continue to develop for the long term through the draft AND use picks as bait in trades at the same time.  Most teams its an either/or (think Brooklyn going all in for KG and Peirce) or (philly trying to build through the draft). We can use some picks as leverage in trades and work at obtaining quality players through the draft who will be cheap and can help the team out down the road.

Cap Space: The cap is projected to be about 108 million.
We have $63,745,022 in guaranteed contracts for 9 players with a player option for 8 million on Zeller. Kelly Olynyk will be a restricted free agent and supposedly the market is suggesting a deal worth up to 15 million yearly.  

Our options here are limitless it seems. We could go for a Max player, perhaps even shuffle around a few contracts and add two more. One option might be to trade our three seconds this season or stash them overseas again, let Green and Young go, opening up two spots, then trade Jordan and Jackson allowing space for our lotto pick, Nader, Zizic and Yabby pick up the option on Zeller and resign K.O. then bring back Johnson and Jerebko at their previous salaries which would put us right about at the 108 million mark for the year.  

Our Youth:
This is a very young team, take Horford and Johnson out of the equation and we probably have a team right now of guys in their prime (Zeller/Jerebko) or guys not even in their prime yet (literally everyone else) though we could argue Crowder and Thomas are just entering- still that's a amazing place to be. We've opened the window into being contenders and have the personal now in place for that window to remain open for the next decade- and upcoming draft picks to help usher in the next generation at the same time

The Franchise:
 We have three things working for us in this department, first the legacy. Its the Boston Celtics, we aint talking about Pelicans, or the Kings we're talking about the most storied franchise in Basketball history. That carries weight. It means something. Secondly, the fan base. We're the best. Third, there's the front office, the organization is a first class operation. From ownership all the way down, free agents realize Boston is a unique situation- winning is what matters here. Danny is one of the most respected GM's in the business and Brad is only a few years away from being a legend. POPOVICH STUDIES HIM.. that's saying something.  

Our future is bright, I'm not talking about it being so bright we gotta wear shades bright, I'm talking its so bright we're wearing welders masks bright.

 While the 2016-2017 edition of the Celtics is not as good as say the 2007-2008 edition, we still have a very good shot at a title this season. Those shots will be there every season for the next decade or so thanks to what Danny has done over the last four seasons. Of course this team will change greatly over the next decade, players will come and go as the team is tweaked bit by bit. Danny will find ways to screw the living crap out of other teams. Brad will eventually look old enough that he wont be carded when buying beer... well ok that's a mebbe, but you get the point.    

But for now, April 2017 this team has definelty been rebuilt, we're better than the 2013 Celtics, we're better than the 2012 Celtics who took the Cavs to 7 games in the ECF's. The rebuild is done. We've been rebuilt and are contenders again. All that is left is to win titles and make personal adjustments to improve when and where possible.
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Re: State of the Rebuilt

Post by steve3344 on Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:59 pm

Matty wrote:In the Summer of 2013 Danny Ainge traded away Celtics legends Kevin Garnet and Paul Peirce (and pieces) to the Brooklyn Nets. This was following a 41-40 regular season that ended in the post season with a 4-2 decision in favor the of Knickerbockers. Since then the team has been in "rebuilding mode"

I'm not in favor the term rebuilding "rebuilding" any longer.  This season will mark our third trip to the playoffs since the departure of Peirce and Garnett which officially began the "rebuild". During "the process" (sorry I couldn't help myself) Boston missed the playoffs only once. The following season we went 40-42 and were taken out in the first round by those jerkwads from Ohio. Last season we went 48-34 but we again taken out of the first round, this time by the Hawks. Today at the time of this writing The Celtics sit atop the Eastern Conference by 1/2 a game over the Jerkwads from Ohio. We have won one more game than we did last season and have 6 games left in the season.

The road to 18, like any other teams path has its roadblocks. We lack a primary secondary scorer. We need help rebounding and better protection around the rim. Its what we have been hearing since last season. However despite the issue's we face #18 is within our grasp. Our record against the leagues other superpowers isn't what we would like to see. We're 2-7 against the jerkwads from Ohio, Warriors Spurs and Clippers. We spilt the series with Golden State and are 1-2 vs the Jerkwads from Ohio with a possibly deciding game at home against them on April 5th that could tie up the series and might even factor into who wins home court advantage in a matchup in the ECF's.

Danny has done a remarkable job remaking this team, to have changed gears back in '13 to where we stand now is Auerbachian. Considering where the team is at- at this moment  and the tools we have at our disposal to fine tune the team as needed is in my mind an even more impressive feat that what he accomplished in 2007. Of course at this point we've not won a title like the '07/08 team did, but we're legit contenders to do so this season, and unlike back then, Danny has the options to improve this summer using almost any strategy he wants. Additionally there is the championship window of opportunity to consider. Back in '07 there was talk about how the "window" was small. I recall one articale saying it would take a season or two for the team to build the chemistry (if they even could) and then another season or two to really challenge (they were really giving us a three year window).  While that window for title(s) was open a bit longer than that the idea still remains, age would catch up with those guys and the window Danny had opened would not remain opened.

That Window is now open. and what's amazing is that it could remain so for a very long time. Here's  why:

The draft: I'm including the draft and stash players from last season in this as well.
2016's Draft and Stashies: Nader, Zizic  and Yabby:
Barring trades all three of these guys will be on next years roster and in the case of Zizic we're perhaps looking at a much cheaper upgrade over Zeller (more on him later). Yabby could also replace Amir Johnson much cheaper  as well- though we'd miss Johnson's veteran  presence greatly. Nader? A third option at the three behind Crowder and Brown who can be allowed to grow into a bigger role as needed. With Zizic and Yabby we could possibly already have our next generation of starting bigs.

2017: Brooklyn's first, Minnys 2nd, clippers 2nd, cavs 2nd:
Yes the draft is a crap shoot,  but with crap like Ball and Markelle I'm ok with that. We're drafting a future All star.  Also Danny has the options of more stashes or trade options with 3 second round picks, the one from Minny being the most valuable.

2018: Brooklyn's first, our own first.  Our first is gonna be close to number 30, Brooklyn's might well be a top 5 pick. Again. Danny and Wyc problably just bust out laughing every time they even see each other.

2019: our own first, the clippers first, the grizzlies first, detroits second.  like in 2018 our first will be near the last of the first rounders, the Clippers and Grizzlies though are of unknown quality at this point. Detroits second could end up anywhere in that round (except for last, that will be ours lol)

2020: our first and second rounders, Miami's second rounder.
This is a huge haul, at least 2 lotto picks, depending on how things go for other teams, two other picks (clippers and grizzlies) that have potential and 3 other first rounders as well as 7 second round picks over the next four seasons. This gives us many options, we can continue to develop for the long term through the draft AND use picks as bait in trades at the same time.  Most teams its an either/or (think Brooklyn going all in for KG and Peirce) or (philly trying to build through the draft). We can use some picks as leverage in trades and work at obtaining quality players through the draft who will be cheap and can help the team out down the road.

Cap Space: The cap is projected to be about 108 million.
We have $63,745,022 in guaranteed contracts for 9 players with a player option for 8 million on Zeller. Kelly Olynyk will be a restricted free agent and supposedly the market is suggesting a deal worth up to 15 million yearly.  

Our options here are limitless it seems. We could go for a Max player, perhaps even shuffle around a few contracts and add two more. One option might be to trade our three seconds this season or stash them overseas again, let Green and Young go, opening up two spots, then trade Jordan and Jackson allowing space for our lotto pick, Nader, Zizic and Yabby pick up the option on Zeller and resign K.O. then bring back Johnson and Jerebko at their previous salaries which would put us right about at the 108 million mark for the year.  

Our Youth:
This is a very young team, take Horford and Johnson out of the equation and we probably have a team right now of guys in their prime (Zeller/Jerebko) or guys not even in their prime yet (literally everyone else) though we could argue Crowder and Thomas are just entering- still that's a amazing place to be. We've opened the window into being contenders and have the personal now in place for that window to remain open for the next decade- and upcoming draft picks to help usher in the next generation at the same time

The Franchise:
 We have three things working for us in this department, first the legacy. Its the Boston Celtics, we aint talking about Pelicans, or the Kings we're talking about the most storied franchise in Basketball history. That carries weight. It means something. Secondly, the fan base. We're the best. Third, there's the front office, the organization is a first class operation. From ownership all the way down, free agents realize Boston is a unique situation- winning is what matters here. Danny is one of the most respected GM's in the business and Brad is only a few years away from being a legend. POPOVICH STUDIES HIM.. that's saying something.  

Our future is bright, I'm not talking about it being so bright we gotta wear shades bright, I'm talking its so bright we're wearing welders masks bright.

 While the 2016-2017 edition of the Celtics is not as good as say the 2007-2008 edition, we still have a very good shot at a title this season. Those shots will be there every season for the next decade or so thanks to what Danny has done over the last four seasons. Of course this team will change greatly over the next decade, players will come and go as the team is tweaked bit by bit. Danny will find ways to screw the living crap out of other teams. Brad will eventually look old enough that he wont be carded when buying beer... well ok that's a mebbe, but you get the point.    

But for now, April 2017 this team has definelty been rebuilt, we're better than the 2013 Celtics, we're better than the 2012 Celtics who took the Cavs to 7 games in the ECF's. The rebuild is done. We've been rebuilt and are contenders again. All that is left is to win titles and make personal adjustments to improve when and where possible.
"but we're legit contenders to do so this season"  With all due respect, we are not "legit contenders" to win a title this season.  We are a definite cut below SA, GS and a motivated, healthy Cavs. It would also be a huge challenge to beat Toronto (we were manhandled by them in all three games this year) and Washington in a 7 game series.  Milwaukee and Miami would also be VERY tough series for us. No gimmees there. Houston and the Clippers would also be favored significantly to beat us in a series.

"we still have a very good shot at a title this season."

Um, no.

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Re: State of the Rebuilt

Post by swish on Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:31 pm

And we won't be a realistic contender until we land an elite all nba player.


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Re: State of the Rebuilt

Post by steve3344 on Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:33 pm

swish wrote:And we won't be a realistic contender until we land an elite all nba player.


swish
Plus a major second scoring option.

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Re: State of the Rebuilt

Post by worcester on Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:21 am

We have a realistic shot at winning the Atlantic Division title this season. That's our ceiling.
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Re: State of the Rebuilt

Post by steve3344 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:27 am

worcester wrote:We have a realistic shot at winning the Atlantic Division title this season. That's our ceiling.
With a three game lead over Toronto and only five games to go we have more than "a realistic shot" at winning the Atlantic Division. That much - barring a complete collapse - we've accomplished. Oddsmakers place it at 95.8%. And that's before today's win over the Knicks:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/friv/playoff_prob.html


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Re: State of the Rebuilt

Post by cowens/oldschool on Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:08 am

we are so overachieving this year, playoffs will be who knows? like to see us get out of first round,

butt again I think next year and year after we will be much better....
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Re: State of the Rebuilt

Post by dboss on Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:58 am

Matty

I like your glass is half full take on things.

The 2-7 record is not correct though.  We split with the clippers and G state and we have a legit shot at splitting with Cleveland.  Plus we split with Houston and they are better than the Clippers. Anyways I do think that those teams have been better than the Celtics this year.

I do agree that the team is rebuilt to the point where they should go deep in the playoffs.  But there are still some warts.  I think we are still 2 years away from winning #18 or maybe one depending on the draft, free agency and the trading option.

Given the abundance of assets, we should be able to close the gap by then.  DA  still has an eye toward the future.  If he hits a home run in the 2017 draft he may go to bat again in 2018.  I think that if fans are patient they will be rewarded.

I like where we are.

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Re: State of the Rebuilt

Post by steve3344 on Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:34 am

steve3344 wrote:
worcester wrote:We have a realistic shot at winning the Atlantic Division title this season. That's our ceiling.
With a three game lead over Toronto and only five games to go we have more than "a realistic shot" at winning the Atlantic Division. That much - barring a complete collapse - we've accomplished. Oddsmakers place it at 95.8%. And that's before today's win over the Knicks:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/friv/playoff_prob.html
With the win over the Knicks, oddsmakers now give us a 98% probability of winning the Atlantic.


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Re: State of the Rebuilt

Post by bobheckler on Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:02 am

A fantastic summation by Matty, in my opinion.  Really pulled it all together.

Look, are we missing some pieces?  Yeah, but so is almost everybody except for GSW and maybe the Spurs and they are in the WC.

Then there's injuries.  Last year we lost Bradley and Kelly and that changed our fortunes significantly.  What if Wall sprains an ankle?  Lowry broke his wrist.  He's expected back, but who knows how he'll respond after an extended lay-off?  Love has missed games.  LeBron is 32 with a ton of miles on his body.  I'm not wishing injuries on players but injuries are part of the game, just as they were in 2010 when Perk blew his knee out in game 6.  He had NO history of problems with his legs before that.  Shit happens and it could just as easily happen to them as it has to us.

Also, some players up their games in the playoffs, and some fade away.  One of the things I said in last year's playoffs is that I was looking to see who were playoff players and who were regular season players.  One player who revealed himself to be a big-moment player was Marcus Smart.  He shot 34.8% and 25.3% from 3 during the season but shot 36.7% and 34.4% from 3 in the playoffs.  Jonas was made a starter and played much heavier minutes than during the season.  His rebounds/minute in the playoffs were 50% better than during the season and his scoring/minute was 20% better.  These were two players who stepped up in the playoffs.  Another who really popped eyes open in the playoffs last year was Terry Rozier.  He shot 27.4% during the season and 22.2% from 3, but in the playoffs he shot 39.1% and 36.4% from 3.  Does anybody remember Mr. October, Reggie Jackson?  He had a career batting average of .262.  That is NOT a good batting average for someone whose forte was supposed to be at the plate.  HOWEVER, his post-season batting average was .278.  His slugging % went from his career .490 to a post-season average of 527.  He averaged .023 rbis/ab over his career, 2.3 rbi for every 100 at bats.  He averaged 17 rbis/100 ab post-season.  He averaged 5.7 homeruns for every 100 ab, 1 homer every 5 games, to 6.4 homers every 100 ab and 1 HR every 4 post-season games.  He went from being a big whiffer to a batter NO pitcher wanted to face in the post-season.  Some players are just like that.  We saw Smart, Jerebko and Rozier step up last season, and we saw Sully disappear (as much as human being with his own gravitational field can disappear).  Who will do that this year?  Will this year's rookie, Jaylen Brown, take that step up like last year's rookie Terry Rozier did?

As far as elite players go, assuming no injuries to them (see 2015 Cavaliers, Cleveland) even that's no lock.  The 2003-2004 Los Angeles Lakers had, arguably, one of the elitest teams in NBA history.  They started HOFer Shaquille O'Neal, HOFer Kobe Bryant, HOFer Gary Payton, HOFer Karl Malone and 3x Champion Rick Fox.  They had 4x Champion Horace Grant coming off the bench (he was 38, but he only played 20mpg).  If we just look at the talent on that team they were a lock for a ring, right?  Wrong.  They lost to Detroit Pistons team with a 6'9" center, Rasheed, Billups, Rip and Tayshaun Prince.  Was the smart money on the Lakers?  Yeah, but this is why we play the games anyway.

Probabilities are just that, probables, but there are SO many factors that change in the playoffs.  The refs swallow their whistles, teams are better prepared because they are playing the same team 4x in a row minimum, nagging injuries, the play becomes more physical and players' legs start to go because this all happens after a grueling 82 game season.  Teams are more than just a summation of its individual parts.  This Celtic team has earned, after nearly an entire season, the right to be given the benefit of the doubt.  NOBODY thought we'd be on top of the Eastern Conference in April.  Nobody.  Ball Don't Lie.  Maybe we should start believing it.


bob


.


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Re: State of the Rebuilt

Post by cowens/oldschool on Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:15 am

Good point bob, we may not have one 2 way superstar, but we have a lot of physical pitbulls on defense on the perimeter, so what we don't have 3 all stars like Cavs? we have a well coached young up and coming team, we can defend, get hot sometimes and play for each other with good/great chemistry....gonna be a fun playoff ride, to see who steps up. Crowder also was injured last year, hes another pitbull, whenever hes on from the 3 we seem to win and IT is IT, can he be that dynamic player in playoffs? if so we could be very dangerous. Who wants to go against AB and Smart on defense?
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Re: State of the Rebuilt

Post by worcester on Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:25 pm

Remember in the dark days before 2007-8 how Sam created the Glimmer threads? I see Glimmers now. Marcus was passing the ball to Jalen yesterday. Jalen responded with dunks and 3 pointers. Avery was out, again, and he has only played 50 games so far this year, but we are winning. A lot. I used to think our playoff fortunes were tied to AB finally showing up in the  playoffs. Now we may be able to win without him, and  if he does play and respond like a champ, we could become champs.

So, yes, we do have a VERY realistic chance of being Atlantic division winners - 98%+ - and probably a 50-50 chance of winning the EC pole position, and then maybe a 37% chance of making it to the NBA finals ...where, if we did play GSW (65% chance they'll make it to the Finals again) and if all our guys were healthy (especially Avery since he brings hellfire down on the Warriors), I think we could beat them. I really do. 40% chance of that.

I so wish Sam were still with us. Sure miss him. He'd do a statistical analysis of all my hypotheticals and say, based on those numbers, "the Celts have an X chance of winning it all this year." Altogether I'd say we have a 24.05% chance of meeting up with GSW in the Finals and a 14.8% chance of winning #18 in June (given our 65% chance of meeting GSW and 40% chance of beating them). Our chances are worse if we go up against the Spurs.
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Re: State of the Rebuilt

Post by NYCelt on Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:18 pm

Great effort on that post Matty! Lots of thought obviously went into it.
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Re: State of the Rebuilt

Post by swish on Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:00 pm

bobheckler wrote:A fantastic summation by Matty, in my opinion.  Really pulled it all together.

Look, are we missing some pieces?  Yeah, but so is almost everybody except for GSW and maybe the Spurs and they are in the WC.

Then there's injuries.  Last year we lost Bradley and Kelly and that changed our fortunes significantly.  What if Wall sprains an ankle?  Lowry broke his wrist.  He's expected back, but who knows how he'll respond after an extended lay-off?  Love has missed games.  LeBron is 32 with a ton of miles on his body.  I'm not wishing injuries on players but injuries are part of the game, just as they were in 2010 when Perk blew his knee out in game 6.  He had NO history of problems with his legs before that.  Shit happens and it could just as easily happen to them as it has to us.

Also, some players up their games in the playoffs, and some fade away.  One of the things I said in last year's playoffs is that I was looking to see who were playoff players and who were regular season players.  One player who revealed himself to be a big-moment player was Marcus Smart.  He shot 34.8% and 25.3% from 3 during the season but shot 36.7% and 34.4% from 3 in the playoffs.  Jonas was made a starter and played much heavier minutes than during the season.  His rebounds/minute in the playoffs were 50% better than during the season and his scoring/minute was 20% better.  These were two players who stepped up in the playoffs.  Another who really popped eyes open in the playoffs last year was Terry Rozier.  He shot 27.4% during the season and 22.2% from 3, but in the playoffs he shot 39.1% and 36.4% from 3.  Does anybody remember Mr. October, Reggie Jackson?  He had a career batting average of .262.  That is NOT a good batting average for someone whose forte was supposed to be at the plate.  HOWEVER, his post-season batting average was .278.  His slugging % went from his career .490 to a post-season average of 527.  He averaged .023 rbis/ab over his career, 2.3 rbi for every 100 at bats.  He averaged 17 rbis/100 ab post-season.  He averaged 5.7 homeruns for every 100 ab, 1 homer every 5 games, to 6.4 homers every 100 ab and 1 HR every 4 post-season games.  He went from being a big whiffer to a batter NO pitcher wanted to face in the post-season.  Some players are just like that.  We saw Smart, Jerebko and Rozier step up last season, and we saw Sully disappear (as much as human being with his own gravitational field can disappear).  Who will do that this year?  Will this year's rookie, Jaylen Brown, take that step up like last year's rookie Terry Rozier did?

As far as elite players go, assuming no injuries to them (see 2015 Cavaliers, Cleveland) even that's no lock.  The 2003-2004 Los Angeles Lakers had, arguably, one of the elitest teams in NBA history.  They started HOFer Shaquille O'Neal, HOFer Kobe Bryant, HOFer Gary Payton, HOFer Karl Malone and 3x Champion Rick Fox.  They had 4x Champion Horace Grant coming off the bench (he was 38, but he only played 20mpg).  If we just look at the talent on that team they were a lock for a ring, right?  Wrong.  They lost to Detroit Pistons team with a 6'9" center, Rasheed, Billups, Rip and Tayshaun Prince.  Was the smart money on the Lakers?  Yeah, but this is why we play the games anyway.

Probabilities are just that, probables, but there are SO many factors that change in the playoffs.  The refs swallow their whistles, teams are better prepared because they are playing the same team 4x in a row minimum, nagging injuries, the play becomes more physical and players' legs start to go because this all happens after a grueling 82 game season.  Teams are more than just a summation of its individual parts.  This Celtic team has earned, after nearly an entire season, the right to be given the benefit of the doubt.  NOBODY thought we'd be on top of the Eastern Conference in April.  Nobody.  Ball Don't Lie.  Maybe we should start believing it.


bob


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That was the "over the hill gang" that simply ran out of gas against Detroit. Elite players Payton -ages 35 and Malone -40 along with fox- 34 and Grant - 38 went down 4 games to 1 to the young defensive minded Pistons who were led by the Elite Ben Wallace at Center. Age can be the great equalizer - either too young - or too old.

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