Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Dan Dickau

The Celtics have yet another PG on the team and one who has a three year contract to boot, meaning he's not going to face a cut or trade when the roster needs to be paired down. We also don't know who the Celtics are sending back to New Orleans in exchange for Dickau.

Dickau seems to have a good basketball IQ and the ability to work in half court sets. He finally got his chance to play significant minutes in the NBA this year and he showed that he can produce. New Orleans was an awful team and he still had a little over 5 assists and notched a shade over 12 ppg. Both passable numbers. He was a great college player and played with a winning program. He strikes me as a guy like Luke Ridnour. Solid team guys who can run the ball and defer to their teammates without a problem and who only needed playing time to blossom their NBA games. I think he'll make a nice contribution to the Celtics and with a great player like Pierce and a good one like Ricky, he's probably an ideal fit as a starting/back up point guard. That's the good.

What Dickau can't bring to the table is much defense, a lot of which is due to his dimunitive stature.. This can be forgiven on a team with help on your hip. The Celtics though lack the kind of paint cloggers that even a team like New Orleans had. Dickau could perhaps hide his weaknesses by gambling a bit in New Orleans knowing that Magloire and PJ Brown were in the wings waiting to intimidate penetrators. On the Celtics the biggest clogger is Raef, and he's lost a lot with his injuries. Blount seems to play uninspired basketball these days and Jefferson has shown a soft touch and good feet on the offensive end, but little inclination for defense. Perkins hasn't figured out how to stay out of foul trouble limiting his effectiveness as defensive help. He is also an offensive liability and thus cannot remain on the floor for extended periods. So this is going to be a big problem when Dickau is going against opposing points.

Will his contributions on the offensive end offset his defensive shortcomings? I'm not sure yet. And it's going to be hard to predict if he'll get the 31 mpg that he saw in New Orleans last year. In short, I like Dickau a lot, but I'm not sure if the Celtics are quite the right fit for him. I would have loved to see him on an up and coming team like Cleveland. He's intriguing, but not a guy that's going to lift the Celtics much higher than they currently are and not much of an upgrade over the platoon they might plan on running if he did sign on with Boston.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Amnesty Day comes and goes

So Vin Baker's contract comes off the luxury tax books but the Celtics still have to pay his sorry ass. This was probably the Cetlics best available move, though I would have loved to see Mark Blount ridden out of town. That probably didn't make much sense though because they would still be paying Blount and he would be contributing somewhere else while drawing even more salary. It would have been like a reward. Raef has a bad contract too, but there's just no way to cut him like that if the savings aren't there. I see both of these guys becoming expiring contract trades later in their carriers, but they're Celtic green for a while. I only hope Perkins keeps getting better and can become the tough interior presence the Celtics so desperately need.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

We are not a Second Tier team

Last winter I was out in Seattle and went to a Seahawks game. Later in the pro-shop I had to laugh that the Seahawks had NFC west division winner T-shirts for sale. Nothing smacks of inadequacy like celebrating pointless milestones. In baseball it's fine to celebrate a pennant win. It's a long season and if you're in a competitive division it represents an accomplishment by your ball club. But most other sports division crowns are meaningless because everybody wins those and a larger number of teams make the playoffs. I had a good laugh at Seattle and my friends who support all their loser teams (except the Storm. WNBA champs!)

Last night I was in Dick's sporting goods and what did I see? Celtics merchandise emblazzened with the 2004-2005 Atlantic Division Champs all over it. I had to do a double take. I mean, this isn't Seattle, Phoenix, Atlanta or some other second rate sports city. This is Boston. This is the 16 time world champs. The team that made basketball what it is today. The marquee franchise. And now we're celebrating Atlantic Division Crowns? Thankfully all this stuff was on dramatic sale indicating that nobody was really buying any of it, so at least the fans know what still counts. But at the same time, I just can't get over seeing that stuff.

The Promise of the New

I've griped about the Antoine Trade, but really he had to go and I'm glad they got something for him and perhaps more importantly for future free agent luring and retention the Celtics showed that even though they didn't feel that Antoine matched their plans, they took care of him financially when they really didn't have to. You don't want Antoine walking around talking about how they screwed him out of money or wouldn't work with him. Walker has come out and talked about how he doesn't understand the teams plans, but he hasn't trashed Ainge or management like he did the first time when they shipped him to Dallas. All around a positive thing.

More importantly this means that Al Jefferson gets to play on the courst a lot this coming season. Ainge and Co. think they've got a gamer in this kid and I agree. His post moves and touch around the basket are very good, his rebounding is adequate, and his outlet passing is superb. So he's a legit scoring threat and he definitely helps start fast breaks off the defensive glass by quickly outletting the ball. I'm hoping with more time we'll see his defense improve. This is his biggest deficiency right now. He needs to learn positioning and better body control. The strength I'm assuming is coming around just by benefit of having trainers and programs that he wouldn't come close to in high school. I'm not expecting huge things out of Al this season. Just progress. In his fourth year he should be a top caliber PF. In his second year he just needs to improve on things and use his increased playing time to learn. I'm excited to watch him play more.

The other area that I'm concerned about his PG. Delonte never got the chance to play real minutes there and I wasn't totally convinced the the summer league run he did. Summer league is never a good indication of anything though. Delonte is a smart player though and I think he'll manage well. I would still like to see more of Marcus Banks. They've never given Marcus a fair shake in my opinion. He's very athletic, plays intense defense, and can definitely push the ball. PG is such a hard position to play and the Celtics haven't given him enough court time to make his mistakes and learn. I hope he gets more burn this year too.

It's weird to be excited about a team that can't really compete, but Danny seems to be changing the composition of the team and the style of play and I'm interested to see how it pans out. It's nice to see a full commitment to changing after last years return of Antoine and use of the Glove for one meaningless division crown and playoff appearance.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Pierce and the rebuilding

This from today's Sunday Globe:

He plans to continue his preparation this week in workouts with Antoine Walker in Chicago and hopes to be back in the Boston area soon after Labor Day to work out with his less-familiar teammates.

Then Antoine's post-Boston talk:

''When you win the division, you try to move up and keep battling and try to get to that next level," said Walker. ''But they chose to go the other route and go young and start from the ground up again. It's an odd situation. I don't really understand it. Maybe, in a couple years from now, we'll understand the madness to it."

Walker predicts that Pierce will have just as much trouble figuring out the situation. ''I feel for Paul for the situation he's in," said Walker. ''He's in the prime of his career. And it's very difficult to go back to that situation. Nobody wants to do that, to go to the playoffs then go back to possibly not making them. But you never know what can happen. Now, he has to go back to a situation where he has to be a complete leader. He has to lead on and off the court. It becomes very difficult at times."


So Pierce is working out with Antoine and Antoine is talking about how the Celtics plans are misguided and probably wasting Pierce's talents at the prime of his career. Clearly Pierce still respects Antoine a lot and has a good friendship with him if they're working out together in Chitown so imagine what Pierce is thinking with Antoine talking in his ear about how the Celtics plans make no sense. I can see Pierce listening a lot more to Antoine than Celtics Management and Coaches. If the C's lose a lot it could be a tough year with Pierce. I've advocated for a trade before, and I still feel that's probably in Pierce's and the teams best interest given the direction the team has taken.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Largest Trade in NBA history?

Really? Qyntel Woods, 2 second round draft picks, and Curtis
Borschsoup? Wasn't Qyntel the guy who got convicted of running dog
fights in Portland? Can the Celtics Roster possibly absorb all these
players? Danny Ainge is concocting a witches brew up in Beantown that
is for sure. I like that he got something for Antoine departing and
that the Celtics helped Antoine get more money than he deserved. But
still, it seems like more moves have to happen here. If nothing else
though, the Celtics are newsmakers and intriguing and when you
consider that unless you have Tim Duncan you aren't winning
championships, that's not a bad place to be.

And from the Heat's perspective? I just don't know. Antoine, Jason
Williams, and James Posey don't exactly smack of poise under pressure.
What do I know though. Crazy trade all around.