The new Celtics rookies who I think could have an impact this season.
The Celtics are going to start their season on Christmas Day against the revamped New York Knicks. The last time these two teams met was in the first round of the playoffs last season when the Celtics swept the Knicks in four games. The Celtics have to get off to a good start this season if they want to be contenders. The compressed season will be hard on the Celtics aging legs, and will have to treat the season as a marathon, rather than a sprint. There will be a lot of focus on the big three this season because they are getting to the end of the days as NBA players. Ray Allen is 36, Kevin Garnett is 35, and Paul Pierce is 34. They could still make a title run this season, but afterword it may be rebuilding time because Allen’s and Garnett’s contracts will expire and may be looking retire. If they don’t, great, but if they do it could open up so options for the Celtics because there will be much more cap room.
Another thing to focus on are the new, young players. The Celtics pursued Chris Paul and David West this off season, but failed to get either of them. They acquired Magic big man Brandon Bass in a trade with Big Baby Davis and Von Wafer. They also signed former Pistons forward Chris Wilcox, who could help add depth to our list of big men. These guys could play a big part this season because the big three might need more rest in the compressed schedule.
Celtics rookies don’t tend to make a big impact in their first season, but this year I think one could. Second round draft pick E’Twaun Moore is a guard from Purdue. He and Purdue teammate JaJuan Johnson joined the Celtics this season. He played exceptionally well in the preseason, scoring 15 points in 22 minutes. He seemed very confident. Some of the advantages of Moore are that he played at Purdue for four years, so he has more experience, and he also played basketball in Italy during the lockout. He came to the Celtics confident that he would be able to contend with the other NBA players and he has done a good job of that. JaJuan Johnson will help add more depth to the forwards. He is an excellent defensive player and should fit in well with the Celtics.
The Celtics had an iffy off season, but lets hope the Celtics will come through and make another title run this year with the big three.
*picture from http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-yN2D73TiP_s/TbhGltaNHuI/AAAAAAAAAmE/OibcgXJAPas/s1600/Purdue%2BEtwaun.jpg*
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The New England Patriots won the AFC East division with a win over the Denver Broncos today, 41 to 23, in Denver. The Patriots could have clinched with a win or a Jets loss, and they got both. It was a good effort on both sides of the ball and the defense showed some improvement, especially in the pass rush. Although, the defense was very shaky in the first quarter, allowing an extensive amount of long plays. They had a better second third and fourth quarter though. The Patriots sacked Denver Quarterback four times, even though there could have been more if Tebow wasn’t so quick and evasive. Also, the Patriots figured out how to prevent Tebow Time in the fourth quarter; score lots of points. New England’s offense showed on array of ways to score, with a passing touchdown each to Ochocinco and Hernandez, a rush by Brady, with an excellent spike afterwards, and a rush by Green-Ellis and Woodhead. There was great production by a Tight End, but not the one we have been accustomed to seeing play outstandingly most of this year. Aaron Hernandez stepped in to fill the roll of Rob Gronkowski, given that Rob was double covered most of the day. Hernandez had 9 receptions for 129 yards and one touchdown. He showed of his speed and outstanding jukes throughout the afternoon. The Patriots showed the high quality of the offense against a great Broncos defense who had led the Broncos to six straight victories, previous to this loss.
*picture from http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2010/0917/bos_a_hernandez_300.jpg*
The New England Patriots have resigned Pro-Bowl Line Backer Jerod Mayo for a five year contract extension. Jerod Mayo was drafted by the Patriots 10th overall in 2008 and has been excellent since then. He was voted AP Rookie Defensive Player of the Year and played in the Pro-Bowl last year for the first time after collecting a league high 175 total tackles. Last Sunday, Mayo snatched an interception from Washington Quarterback Rex Grossman with under a minute left and the Patriots up by seven. Mayo has proved that he is one of the best tacklers and defensive talents in the league and this is an excellent decision by the Patriots.
*Picture from http://www.blogcdn.com/www.aolnews.com/media/2009/01/jerodmayo.jpg*
Yesterday the Celtics made a couple of big moves, trading forward Big Baby Davis to the Orlando Magic, in exchange for Magic forward Brandon Bass. The Celtics have also been talking about signing Hornets forward David West. West just had ACL surgery, but would have been one of the top free agents if not for that. These two players will add more size to the Celtics, who are in desperate need of some guys who are tough in the paint. Bass and West would also help Kevin Garnett by giving him more time to rest during the compressed 66 game season. I think these were both good moves by the Celtics, who are trying to make at least one more title run with the Big Three.
*picture from http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Brandon+Bass/David+West/Dallas+Mavericks+v+New+Orleans+Hornets+Game/G1CI5f-lC-D*
Although the chances are very slim, I think the Celtics should make this trade if they are willing to give up Rondo. The only real problem with this is that Chris Paul is in the last year of his contract, so if he didn’t sign with the Celtics for longer, we would have wasted Rondo. Even that might not be a huge problem though, given that Garnett and Allen will probably retire next year and if we lost Paul, the Celtics would have a ton of cap room to sign other stars. Rondo still has four years left on his contract and the Celtics could build a new core around him, but he does not have a good jump shot and it is unknown if he will be as good without the big three. Chris Paul on the other hand does have a good shot and has proven that he can succeed with a less talent around him. Rondo is a fantastic player and I really like him, but he is also very sensitive. If word goes out the he is on the trading block and a trade doesn’t go through, he may react poorly and have bad season. It is unlikely, but if it is possible I think the Celtics should Trade for Chris Paul. I would also be perfectly happy sticking with Rajon Rondo.
*photo from http://www.unathleticmag.com/wp-content/uploads/b2a088c086_rajon_11042009.jpg*