It’s not all bad news in Boston

Kit Harvey Roar Guru

By Kit Harvey, Kit Harvey is a Roar Guru

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    The Boston Celtics will take on the Denver Nuggets with both teams needing the win for their own reasons. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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    The Boston Celtics are one of the NBA’s landmark teams, a cornerstone in terms of brand and performance record.

    With 17 NBA Championships – the most of any team in the league – the Celtics are a universally respected organisation.

    But the 2013/14 season is shaping as a challenging one.

    The C’s are entering the definition of a rebuilding phase. The departure of superstar duo Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets this past off-season has left a dint.

    Let’s not talk about Ray Allen taking his talents to South Beach last season. The Boston Big Three are now just a fond memory for Celtics Nation.

    Rajon Rondo remains, but there’s still no date for his return from a serious knee injury. A pass-first maverick at the point, he’ll add an instant and much needed injection of proven class and experience.

    With all of that said, I want to be very clear – this season won’t be all doom and gloom for those who bleed green.

    Despite a zip-and-four start, these young Celtics outfit are not easy beats. They’ll make opposing teams earn the ‘W’.

    The general lack of expectation surrounding the 2013/14 Celtics could be a blessing. They are young, athletic and ready to play.

    First-year head coach Brad Stevens brings ‘college style’ energy to Beantown, not unlike Seattle Seahawks evergreen Pete Carroll in the NFL.

    Stevens almost looks like he could pull on the green and white and step onto the floor himself.

    It’s not just a fresh-faced coach for C’s fans to get excited about. There’s plenty to look for on the court as the season progresses.

    Pre-season was all about first-round Gonzaga pick Kelly Olynyk, an athletic seven-foot scorer with great athleticism and length.

    The big surprise has been rookie center Vitor Faverani. The 25-year-old Brazilian was scouted from the Spanish Leagues and has played pro ball since he was 15.

    His early season performances have pundits asking how he slipped through the system until now. Blocking shots and snaring rebounds are his game, but the big man has a mean stroke from outside the perimeter.

    He ranks first among rookies for blocks (2.8 per game) and rebounds (7.3 per game) and fourth in points (9.5 per game).

    But Olynyk is there and thereabouts. He’s only 22 and is coming off the bench, unlike Faverani, who has started the first four games in the middle. Give Kelly time, sports fans.

    Second-year power forward Jared Sullinger was raw in the early days, but is quickly becoming a strong performer off the pine. His big body makes him a menace on the boards even against taller opposition.

    Of the Celtics’ established talent, this is the year for Jeff Green to prove himself as an elite player in the league.

    Having played second fiddle to the likes of Kevin Durant and Pierce in his career, it’s time for him to be number one – physically, through consistently high-level performance, and mentally.

    He’s started the year inconsistently, but he’s working into a new role as team leader. Having managed just seven points against the Pistons at the weekend, he’s learned a lesson.

    You won’t see him score less than 10 points in a game for the rest of the season. I’m calling that now.

    Avery Bradley has provided a more than acceptable option at guard in the absence of Rondo. His defensive prowess and ability to create turnovers have and will continue to be invaluable.

    Former Washington Wizard Jordan Crawford is an aggressive scoring machine. Be it a pull-up jumper from three feet outside the arc or a running three-on-one circus shot, the man can get it in the hoop and that’s cool to watch.

    My tip for unlikeliest hero through this tough season is Phil Pressey. The 5’11” guard has been backing up Bradley for a few minutes here and there, but he’ll get more time as we get deeper into the schedule.

    Pressey was solid in the pre-season, coming heartbreakingly close to single-handedly leading the Celtics to a come from behind win over the Knicks.

    Keep an eye out for the 22-year-old out of Missouri; at the very least he’s got an awesome name.

    Yes, it’s going to be a long year and yes, Celtics fans may need to prepare themselves for a smaller number in the ‘W’ column. C’s Nation may as well find some positives.

    The above are just some of the things the Celtics faithful can look forward to. Remember that farm of high draft picks you guys are sitting on?

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • Roar Guru

      November 8th 2013 @ 7:36am
      Brent Ford said | November 8th 2013 @ 7:36am | ! Report

      Stevens showed he could coach yesterday even though it was against a struggling Utah at home. Faverani missed his first 4 shots so after an underwhelming 6 and 1/2 minutes he pulled Fav for the rest of the game.

      From that moment Olynyk had his best game for the Celtics, it’s all about nurturing their young front court which will be much easier when Rondo comes back.

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2013 @ 9:30am
        Kit Harvey said | November 8th 2013 @ 9:30am | ! Report

        All good points. I wrote this before the Jazz game yesterday. So glad the Celtics got the win! Olynyk will come through more and more as the season goes on.

        • Roar Guru

          November 8th 2013 @ 9:53am
          Brent Ford said | November 8th 2013 @ 9:53am | ! Report

          Yeah my best mate is a mad celts fan so he was stoked. Olynyk will be awesome, I like how they have started Faverani so there isn’t much pressure on Olynyk, fair sure Faverani has a bigger body too?

          • Roar Guru

            November 8th 2013 @ 10:03am
            Kit Harvey said | November 8th 2013 @ 10:03am | ! Report

            Faverani has a huge frame. He’s 6’11” to Olynyk’s 7’0″, but so much thicker through the hips and upper body. He’s a great blocker.

    • November 8th 2013 @ 7:53am
      Worlds Biggest said | November 8th 2013 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      We got our first win, you beauty ! If we get 25-30 wins I will be amazed. The rebuilding project may also involve trading Rondo for a bounty of draft picks. Danny Ainge isn’t afraid to pull the trigger so wouldn’t surprise me at all.

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2013 @ 9:31am
        Kit Harvey said | November 8th 2013 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        Ainge loves a big move, you’re right. Let’s wait and see. So happy the Celtics got off the 0!

        • November 8th 2013 @ 9:47am
          Red Kev said | November 8th 2013 @ 9:47am | ! Report

          It’ll depend on Rondo returning to form I think – Ainge will want too much for him (as he should – guy is a hell of a passer) for any club to pay up without seeing him back from the ACL injury.

          • Roar Guru

            November 8th 2013 @ 10:04am
            Kit Harvey said | November 8th 2013 @ 10:04am | ! Report

            I really hope he stays and the team can be built around him. He’s such a good passer. Pass-first point guards are my favourite style of player in the NBA.

            • November 8th 2013 @ 5:43pm
              Cleveland Steamer said | November 8th 2013 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

              They ends to build the team around Rondo. He’s a franchise player (and sells a lot of jerseys)

    • November 8th 2013 @ 9:27am
      astro said | November 8th 2013 @ 9:27am | ! Report

      Ahhh…I think you’re being just slightly optimistic about the potential of a few of your Celtics. This team is completely in the tank, and the roster is assembled to stink.

      Faverani numbers are based on 3 games! Let’s just wait until at least a quarter of the season before saying he “slipped through the system”. His defense for one thing is horrendous.

      Jordan Crawford is an “aggressive scoring machine”? Personally, I’ d call him an “idiotic ball-hog”…bad shot, after bad shot, after bad shot…

      Olynyk looks like a solid back-up centre…at best. And Sullinger was injured in college, and in his first year in the NBA, so lets just wait for him to actually play out a season before getting excited about a “menace on the boards” who averages less than 6 rebounds.

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2013 @ 9:39am
        Kit Harvey said | November 8th 2013 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        “Assembled to stink” is a bit of an overstatement in my opinion. It’s an environment specifically designed to help bring on the Celtics’ younger players for the longer term – guys like Olynyk and Sullinger. Yes, there are some guys on the roster who are short term guys. Incredibly short term in some cases. The stats are based on four games and if it’s too early for me to say Vitor slipped through the system, it’s way to early to call Olynyk a solid back-up centre. Sully’s numbers are based on limited minutes (injury, being behind the big stars last year).

        • November 8th 2013 @ 9:59am
          astro said | November 8th 2013 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          The Celts are rebuilding…clearly. Why would they want to build a team that would do anything but be terrible? Why blow up your roster and then try to not get as high a draft pick as possible in the most loaded draft in decades?

          If “assembled to stick” is too harsh and this team is all about fostering young players, my question is who exactly are they fostering?

          Take a look at how many guys who are picked outside the top 10 (in Olynyk’s case), or top 20 (in Sully’s case), or are undrafted (Pressey) actually wind up being contributors over the long term in the NBA? The answer is very few…And even then, that’s a cosy 3 players (all with serious question marks) who are being “brought on for the long term” this year.

          I agree that maybe I was too harsh in saying Olynyk is a solid back-up at best (which actually isn’t an insult)…but by the same logic, you can’t pencil him in as a starting centre waiting to happen without having an eraser nearby.

          If I were a Celtics fan, I wouldn’t be looking for silver linings this year. That will come in the draft. What I would like to see is the Celts use Rondo, Green, Lee, Humpries etc as potential trade chips to find either more picks, or more young players who could actually wind up being contributors.

          The Celts are a long way behind the other ‘rebuilders/tankers’…Utah has Favors, Kanter, Burke, Haywood and Philly has MCW, Turner, Young and The Suns have Bledsoe, Len and the Morris twins. The fact is this Celts roster is very thin, and evene with a high draft pick next year, they’ll be bad for a while unless they work their trades.

          • Roar Guru

            November 8th 2013 @ 10:09am
            Kit Harvey said | November 8th 2013 @ 10:09am | ! Report

            I agree with some of your points. What I’m saying is that even in a season where the C’s won’t win many games, there’s still some cool stuff to look at for fans. It’s not the end of the world, patience is required. I don’t think there’s any doubt that Ainge and co. know what they’re doing. Sure, there’s some seriously middle of the road players, but there has to be some good basketball played for any of those bargaining chips to be worth anything (exception of Rondo, he has star value regardless).

            • November 8th 2013 @ 10:51am
              astro said | November 8th 2013 @ 10:51am | ! Report

              Well Kit, I admire your dedication.

              The Celts currently run 30th in scoring and assists per game, 28th in rebounding and give up the 2nd most amount of points. They’re shooting 28% from 3, and have 4 players above the league average PER so far.

              Bottom line, you are in for a long year if you’re watching the Celtics…Olynyk and Sully will develop, but that will happen in between a stack of Gerald Wallace air balls, Avery Bradley turnovers, Jordan Crawford pull up 3’s which will miss and Jeff Green scoring 35pts one game and 6pts the next.

              • Roar Guru

                November 8th 2013 @ 1:05pm
                Kit Harvey said | November 8th 2013 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

                I’ll be finding the positives and finding ways to enjoy watching the Celtics play. I bleed/cry green.

    • November 8th 2013 @ 10:47am
      Johnno said | November 8th 2013 @ 10:47am | ! Report

      The Celtics are not the same since Bird left.

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2013 @ 1:06pm
        Kit Harvey said | November 8th 2013 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

        Haha, enjoyed that.

    • November 8th 2013 @ 12:00pm
      Worlds Biggest said | November 8th 2013 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

      Johnno the Celtics have had a great run the last 6 years. A title in 2007/08 and should have won in 2009/10. They also came within a whisker of going to the Finals two years ago. The rebuilding project was delayed a year or two. No doubt us Celtic fans are in for a few years of pain.

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2013 @ 1:07pm
        Kit Harvey said | November 8th 2013 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

        But the Celtics will fight back, as they always do.

    • November 8th 2013 @ 6:08pm
      Plainsman said | November 8th 2013 @ 6:08pm | ! Report

      Hi Kit
      This IMHO was always going to be rebuilding year for us Celtic tragics. I am maintaining low expectations in order to be pleasantly surprised when we win.

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2013 @ 7:24pm
        Kit Harvey said | November 8th 2013 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

        Such a valid option haha, I feel you. I’m just a natural optimist. Finding the good things is pretty essential to helping me maintain my interest.

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