All good things must come to an end, right? As Celtics fans we need to come to grips with the fact that we may have seen the last of the Big Three, or at least an acceptable version of the Big Three. Time is a far greater opponent than the new Big Two in Miami or any opponent from the soon to be powerhouse Turkish basketball league.
Whether it’s a season missed or a condensed version, the Celtics cannot afford to alter the existing schedule if they hope to get back into basketball relevance. I have this horrible feeling that the late 90’s/early 2000’s Celtics teams are about to reemerge onto the Boston sports scene. In fairness though, I did appreciate going to NBA games for just $10 a ticket.
Moving along, the average age of the Boston Celtics is slightly over 34 years. Of course, the Celtics will sign a host of support players, however, the core of their team is well over 30 years old. Kevin Garnett will be 35, Ray Allen will be 36 and captain Paul Pierce will be 34.
In fairness, when talking about age, the 1997-1998 Bulls won an NBA title with an average age in the 34 range. Whilst it’s fun to think “Anything is possible”, the Bulls were a far better team led by an unstoppable Michael Jordan.
The NFL was able to come to terms, at the eleventh hour, without causing too much of a disruption. With no real movement and a with a league in far worse financial shape, the NBA will be hard pressed to duplicate the NFL’s success in saving the season.
Recent rumors have the season starting in January, if at all. Things tend to intensify when players start losing game checks. The lockout shortened 1999 season helps shed some light on what a possible reduced season could look like for the Celtics. The 1999 season featured 11 sets of back-to-back games and two sets of back-to-back-to-back games for a Celtics team led by a then rookie Paul Pierce.
In 2011, the Celtics were 4-11 in the back end of a back-to-back stretch. As a Celtics fan, playing a shortened/condensed season is the absolute worst case scenario for this aging bunch of hall of famers. I’d rather see the entire season be lost, than see the Celtics limp their way through a schedule better suited for a team 10 years younger.
Depth will once again be an issue for the Celtics. Finding suitable role players, especially in the front court, has to be a priority for Danny Ainge. Any time lost due to injury will be multiplied times 10 when you consider the amount of games that could be played over any 2-week stretch.
On the flip side, the Celtics are historically fast starters and could steal a bunch of games early setting themselves up nicely for a stretch run. In the era of the new Big Three, the Celtics average record over their first 50 games is 38-12.
The Houdini says: Please get this deal done ASAP. I know David Stern reads this site often, let’s capitalize on the momentum of the 2010-2011 season and keep this great game going for years to come. And remember, the quicker we get back to playing games, the quicker we get to witness LeBron and D-Wade not winning another title. Bam