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Sunday, July 7, 2013

SDH Presents the 2013 End of Season NBA's Worst to First: 11. Boston Celtics

Overall Win/Loss Record (At Season’s End):  41-40,  third place Atlantic Division

At Season’s End:

Team Statistics and League Rank (At Season’s End)

  • Points Scored: 96.5 (18th)
  • Points Allowed: 96.7 (12th)
  • Team FG%: .465 (6th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .441 (7th)
  • Team FT%: .776 (5th)
  • Team Three Point FG%: .358 (15th)
  • Rebounds per game: 39.3 (29th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 43.6 (23rd)
  • Turnovers per game: 13.9 (13th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 14.4 (11th)

Individual Statistical Leaders (At Season’s End)

  • Scoring (ppg): Paul Pierce (18.6)
  • Rebounds per gameKevin Garnett (7.8)
  • Minutes per game:  Rajon Rondo (37.8)
  • Assists per game:  Rajon Rondo (11.1)
  • Field Goal Percentage:  Kevin Garnett (.496)
  • Free Throw Percentage:   Jason Terry (.870)
  • Three Point FG Percentage: Jeff Green (.385)
  • Steals per game:  Rajon Rondo (1.8)
  • Blocked Shots per game:  Kevin Garnett (0.9)

Taking a Look Back at the Season that Once Was . . .

SDH Worst to First Recap
Time Period
Change (+/-)
At Season’s End
SDH Player of the Year:
Jeff Green

By the end of the season, Jeff Green went from being an unassuming bench player to become a potential All Star and a future cornerstone of this Celtics franchise.  At first, many raised quite a few eyebrows when he was offered a four year extension worth 36$ million by Celtics GM Danny Ainge; now Green's contract look now like a smart and savvy investment as he has certainly exceeded even a hoops fans mildest expectations.  Green made his presence felt in the second half of the season as he average close to 18 points per game from February to April.  He took his game to another notch in the playoffs where he scored move than 20 per game while shooting an unconscious .455 from the arc.  Certainly Green has in-graced himself to the Celtics faithful as they have now welcomed him with open arm instead of the rumbles of skepticism when he first donned on the green and white.

After scratching and clawing to claim the second to last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics still showed that they had a little fight left in them stretching their first round series against the New York Knicks to six games before being eliminated.  Down three game to none, many expect the aging and battle fatigued Celtics to simply cave in and allow the Knicks to simply walk over them to the next round; however, that would be farther from the truth as Boston put forward one of the most heroic performances ever seen in the 2013.  With the odds squarely against them, Boston dug in their heels, grit their teeth, and managed to win the next two games earning an overtime win at home, and held the Knicks back on their own home court.  They would then head back home to Boston to face a baffled and bewildered Knicks team for a crucial game six; however, Boston's luck would finally run out as New York managed to grind past them in an 88-80 grudge match.  Such a noble performance was deserved of ranking the Celtics among the league's elite despite their rather less than stellar regular season finish; however, to the chagrin of their fans, that will be their last appearance in the post season for quite some time.

After wringing out every last drop of blood, sweat and tears, the Celtics have shown to have nothing left and it looks as if the good times have finally come to an end.  It was bound to happen--the Celtics had a rather decent five year run as they were led by who many consider as the "Original Big Three," of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen.  Unfortunately with each passing season, Father Time had silently been stripping away at those three mighty warriors and their skills and abilities diminished with each passing game.  At the end of the 2012 season, Ray Allen, a key piece in the Celtics' rebirth as a contender, saw that the writing was already on the wall and that Boston's time had run out and thus chose to part ways with the team signing instead with the Miami Heat.  Unfortunately, Instead of accepting their fate and preparing to pave the way for a rebuild some in the organization chose to tempt fate and extend the life span of this one mighty titan which had now become decrepit to the point of collapse.

Led by the shortsighted incompetence of GM Danny Ainge, the Celtics chose to resign a 38 year old man at the end of his career to a three year contract extension worth 36$ million attached with a no trade clause which essentially handcuffed him to the team.  When Kevin Garnett's monstrous contract of more than 180$ million has finally expired, the Celtics had the salary cap space that had been unseen for more than five years--so what did Danny Ainge do with it?  He wasted more than half of it resigning Garnett to a contract extension worth twice of what his value would have been on the open market shackling the team to a player whose best basketball was behind him for the next three years.  Fortunately for Ainge's sake, Allen had done him a favor by signing with Miami as it stopped him from bringing the aging sharp shooting veteran back which could have further crippled the Celtics even further for years to come.  Now the Celtics went from a team with plenty of cap space and hope for the future, to become a broken down mess of a franchise that was forced to drag close to 30$ million in dead weight--and it certainly showed on the court.

Upon the opening tip off, one can see how slow confused and tired the Celtics looked on the court--they were barely able to outscore their opponents; they also could not even rebound to save their lives and turned over the ball as much as their opponents.  Paul Pierce was a shadow of his former greatness while Kevin Garnett, despite putting admirable number for a man pushing forty, saw his production along with his minutes drop due to the wear and tear over the years.  Jason Terry, a player that the Celtics signed to offset the loss of Ray Allen, did not perform as well as hoped as he too showed signs of decline as well while Courtney Lee, another free agent in which the Celtics signed, did not show the same promise as he did the previous season playing with the Houston Rockets.  The Celtics expected Lee to pick up where he left of at Houston when he averaged close to 15 per game in the last month of the 2012 season; unfortunately, he failed to live up to expectations as he was nearly invisible on the offensive end.  Boston sole bright spot was Jeff Green, a player who many did not know what to expect after missing the previous season due to a heart ailment, as he emerged as the Celtics go to guy in the last stretch of the season.

Now the question on everyone's mind is what is next for the Boston Celtics--their poor off season moves left them shackled to two bad contracts for the next couple of years.  They cannot do anything with Kevin Garnett as he adamantly stated that he will not allow himself to be traded unless Paul Pirce, who has one year left on his contract at close to 17$ million and what about Doc River, who had signed a contract extension for the next three years?  There is certainly no way that he will want to stay on a sinking ship that is way beyond repair and unless he finds a sucker to take on the deals of both KG and Pierce worth an estimated 30$ million, he will be stuck with both of them for quite some time.  If he does manage to alleviate himself of
those deals, he will be lucky to find a partner willing enough to offer equal value and may be forced to take a bad contract or two in return.  Regardless, with or without Garnett and Pierce, the Boston Celtics are destined to head in one direction--straight down--and there is virtually nothing that Ainge, the man who put the team in this mess by signing Garnett to that ridiculous contract extension, can do about it.