Wednesday, August 10, 2005

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.

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