Ok, so yesterday the Celtics traded away Kendric Perkins, Semih Erden, Nate Robinson, Marquis Daniels, and Luke Harangody and received the following:
- 2013 Second Round Draft Pick (Original Owner: Minnesota, should be a high pick)
- Jeff Green
- Nenad Krstic
- 2012 First Round Draft Pick (Original Owner: Clippers, Lottery Protected)
I have been listening to sports talk radio and I am becoming enraged by people’s inability to look at the big picture and how they focus on the past rather than the future.
Right now, the Celtics are in a position to secure a top 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. This would mean that they potentially face teams like New York, Philadelphia, Indiana, or Charlotte (based on current standings). None of those teams have a dominant center.
The Knicks have Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire; a solid 3-4 punch. Stoudemire has sick hops and is lethal on the pick-and-roll. He is a serviceable post defender who can get up and block shots (2.2 per game), but he is not great on the weak side. He goes from right to left quite well, but really only dribbles when he intends to score. The guy also snags plenty of boards but he doesn’t distribute the ball well (2.7 Assists per game). He is a finisher, not a facilitator.
Carmelo Anthony is a monster, but not without flaws. He plays a physical game and scores in bunches. He is not afraid to mix it up on the blocks and he has a quick first step to complement his creativity getting to the basket. He is an average shooter and defender, but a solid rebounder. He is also a finisher, just like Amare and they are both lethal.
The Celtics can handle this matchup without much concern. The Knicks are a front-loaded team without much depth. Garnett and Davis can mix it up with Amare while Pierce, Green and probably even Allen disrupt Melo. The Knicks might win 1 game from a series like this.
The Philadelphia matchup is not much to worry about. They are a sub-.500 team with some depth, but no true elite players.
Philadelphia is a joke. They have a .491 winning percentage and a team-high scorer of 15.2 points per game. Brand really isn’t a first scoring option anymore, but the Sixers only other option is Iguodala who is mediocre outside and has a weak post game. No one on this team should give the Celtics fits on the defensive end.
The Pacers actually worry me a bit. They have come alive under a new head coach and Danny Granger can drop the long ball off a catch and shoot. He has great hands and actually blocks shots. The most dangerous thing about him is he scores without disrupting the flow of the team. He gets his shots without handicapping the rest of the team and scores 21+ per game.
Indiana also rebounds exceptionally well in comparison to the Celtics. If you look back at the finals games against LA, getting the most rebounds generally meant the difference between winning and losing.
Charlotte is yet another team with a winning percentage under 50. They are 28th in the league in points per game (the Celtics are first in points allowed) and the middle of the pack everywhere else. They are currently on the outside looking in, but only by a game so they are at least in the conversation. Their top offensive weapon is Stephen Jackson who can score and defend, but doesn’t get his team involved offensively. At least they rebound better than the Celtics…
Ultimately, these trades show me that Ainge sees all of this as well. With a top 3 seed there is a chance you don’t even play the Magic in the playoffs and they are not the same team they were last year. Howard is still a monster, but he doesn’t have Gortat backing him up anymore. Its not good when your center is your top steals guy either.
The real threats in the east are Miami and Chicago. Derrick Rose is playing out of his mind and should be the MVP. Miami has adjusted so that Lebron is leading the charge and Wade is complementary. One knock against them is their ball distribution, they are at the bottom of the league in assists per game and the Celtics have had their number this year (0-3 vs Boston and Perk only played in 1 of those games).
Chicago is a scary matchup for the Celtics. They are #2 in rebounding as a team and #3 in points allowed. Tom Thibodeau brought his defensive genius to the Bulls and its a complete team. When Rose isn’t on the floor, there is no one on the team who can come close to replicating his impact (which is why he is the MVP), but they have 3 players averaging over 15 points per game and their role players are great. Their big men, aside from Asik, are undersized so Perk doesn’t really make the difference there.
With the trades they are better equipped to defend Chicago and Miami, but I don’t think the Celtics are done yet. They cleared up roster a few roster spots and players like Troy Murphy, Leon Powe, Derrick Brown, Jason Kapono, or even Samuel Dalembert rumored to be available or currently available, the Celtics can really bolster that lineup.
I was never a fan of Powe, but I suspect he will be here within a week. The real gem would be landing Troy Murphy who can spread the floor and rebound very well. His defense is suspect, but his value on the boards can’t be ignored. Derrick Brown would be a nice pickup. He has a future ahead of him as a rotation player and if he can add some bulk/strength he could be in the mix for a few years to come.
But back to Perkins. He has been in the league for 7 years and there was a chance that he would walk away at the end of the season and the Celtics would get nothing for him. He rejected the max extension the Celtics could offer under the current CBA and his health is a big question mark at this point. I think the Celtics are at a point that they needed to evolve or get left behind by Chicago and Miami and Ainge identified that and got what he could for him. If the Celtics sign Green to an extension, they get the better end of this trade in my opinion. Especially with the Clippers getting better so the first round pick could be decent in 2012.
Trading away Erden is the mystery to me. He played physically and was serviceable. Krstic is better offensively, but aside from being bigger, doesn’t bring much on the defensive end.
I think its too soon to get up in arms about these deals, wait and see how the roster fills out and asses things then. Its ok to be a fan, but look at the big picture once in a while. Don’t forge the Celtics are 33-10 without Perkins this year and only 4-3 with him.