The season is still two months away, but most of the rosters are set, barring the requisite Michael Jordan comeback rumor (just kidding, but only a little). We have an idea where our team stands, but we can't really know unless we discuss everyone else. In that spirit, I'm going to throw up a "competition discussion" thread for each of the other 29 teams over the next month or so. We'll go in alphabetical order from A to Z. Today's team: Boston.
Last Year's Record: 24-58
In: Kevin Garnett (trade), Ray Allen (trade), Eddie House (free agent), Scott Pollard (free agent), Reggie Miller (just kidding), Gabe Pruitt (draft), Glen Davis (draft)
Out: Al Jefferson (trade), Wally Sczcerbiak (trade), Delonte West (trade), Ryan Gomes (trade), Gerald Green (trade), Sebastian Telfair (trade), Allan Ray (free agent), Theo Ratliff's contract (trade)
Projected Starting Lineup: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins
Bench (in no particular order): Nobody. Just kidding. In actuality: Gabe Pruitt, Eddie House, Tony Allen, Brian Scalabrine, Leon Powe, Jackie Manual, Brandon Wallace, Scott Pollard, Glen Davis.
So what do we think their record will be? Can the Big 3 coexist? Can they carry a putrid bench? Will it matter that Rajon Rondo is a mostly untested starting point guard? What happens when people get hurt? Can Doc Rivers manage three players as poorly as he manages 12?
For obvious reasons, I think we're talking about this team too much, but they will be very good. I know, I know, no depth, oldish starters, but Garnett, Pierce, and Allen still have something left. All three were hurt last year, but Garnett and Pierce's injuries don't count; their teams were tanking. Allen's the only one I'm a bit worried about, but with Pierce and Garnett there, he won't have to do as much. There won't be any chemistry issues here. Garnett has consistently deferred to teammates in the fourth quarter, and Allen and Pierce have starred with two of the league's biggest chuckers as teammates (Antoine Walker and Glenn Robinson). Hate to say it, but they're better than the Wizards.
But I don't think they're much better, because they absolutely have nothing behind the Big 3. Rondo's pretty good, but I'm not sure he'll be able to function off the ball all that well. I imagine we'll see more of Eddie House in there with Pierce as a point forward than anyone imagines. Also, as much as LOY'S Place still believes, Kendrick Perkins isn't going to work in the middle. Two years ago, he was a promising big man with a nice contract, but his numbers were way down across the board last year, and his propensity for fouling (5.4 fouls/40 last year) is really going to hurt. That's why I can't believe they let Ryan Gomes leave. They could start Perkins and play Gomes down the stretch in a small lineup with Pierce and Garnett, and it would work out well because of Garnett's length. Finally, as good as Garnett is, he's become mostly a perimeter player at this point, leaving them without a back-to-the-basket scorer, which will be essential if they are to use Ray Allen effectively.
All in all, I say 50-32 and a second-round playoff exit. What say you?
[Image via Sportslogos.net]
Update [2007-8-25 17:30:44 by Pradamaster]: Add James Posey to that bench. The veteran forward has reportedly signed with the Celtics for the remainder of their MLE (2 years/7.5 million). I like the move, although I wonder where he'll get his minutes with Pierce and Ray Ray occupying the wings.