Boston Celtics ’09-10 NBA season preview

By: 10.27.09
Ray Allen

Ray Allen

Last year we debuted the “Highs and Lows” system — previewing the NBA season by predicting the respective ceiling and basement for each team. Same theme, different season…

Added: Rasheed Wallace, Marquis Daniels, Shelden Williams, Lester Hudson

Lost: Leon Powe, Stephon Marbury, Mikki Moore, Gabe Pruitt

Ceiling: NBA championship
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be medicated if you think this year’s version of the Celtics is better than the team that won the championship in 2008. Yes, the marquee three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen are older, and there’s still no James Posey-caliber “Kobe Stopper” on the roster, but consider this much: Rajon Rondo officially went from fourth-wheel to a legit star in the ’09 playoffs; Big Baby Davis and Kendrick Perkins are also much better than they were during the original title run; Rasheed Wallace brings his post defense, outside shooting and postseason experience to the table; Marquis Daniels gives Boston another scorer off the bench whose defense is also solid; and going into his third year with this core group, Doc Rivers knows how to get the most out of their talents … As much as people act like Pierce was a bystander in last year’s playoffs while Ray and Rondo stole the show, realize PP was still Boston’s leading scorer in the postseason and hasn’t lost a step yet. He’s arguably the best clutch player in the game and one of the League’s elite players, period … Ray will win a handful of games by himself … Coming off another knee injury, Garnett likely won’t be as dominant as in years past. But he doesn’t have to be. His defense, leadership, energy and threat of a 20-point scorer at the four is enough to push the Celtics over the top and into another title.

Basement: Conference semifinals
If the Magic and Cavs weren’t as good as they are, anything less than a conference finals berth for Boston would be considered a failure … Of course you have to start with the team’s overall health. KG’s knees will be on everyone’s radar, Allen’s ankles are also a constant worry, and while Pierce has been good for 80-plus games each of the last two years, at 32 years old he’s not indestructible. And don’t forget Rasheed and his penchant for getting hurt at the most inopportune times … On that note, is Wallace really going to be that much of a difference-maker? I’ve been as big a critic of ‘Sheed as anybody; I don’t see what so many people see in him. He’s been in decline for years, and by the end of last season looked completely washed up. At this point, his reputation and his bark are overshadowing his dull bite … Not saying Boston should’ve re-signed Marbury, but there’s still not one quality backup PG behind Rondo, and in general the team isn’t as deep as you’d think. Shelden Williams, Bill Walker, Brian Scalabrine, Tony Allen and J.R. Giddens are barely NBA players.

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10/27 — Los Angeles Clippers
10/26 — Indiana Pacers
10/26 — Philadelphia 76ers
10/23 — Dallas Mavericks
10/23 — Washington Wizards
10/23 — Minnesota Timberwolves
10/22 — Utah Jazz
10/22 — Orlando Magic
10/22 — Phoenix Suns
10/21 — Charlotte Bobcats
10/21 — San Antonio Spurs
10/21 — Miami Heat
10/19 — Oklahoma City Thunder
10/19 — Milwaukee Bucks
10/15 — Portland Trail Blazers
10/14 — Chicago Bulls
10/13 — Golden State Warriors
10/12 — Toronto Raptors
10/9 — Houston Rockets
10/8 — Detroit Pistons
10/7 — Memphis Grizzlies
10/6 — New York Knicks
10/5 — New Orleans Hornets
10/2 — Atlanta Hawks
9/30 — Sacramento Kings
9/29 — New Jersey Nets
9/28 — Denver Nuggets

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