After a tough loss in Cleveland to start the season, the Wizards head back home to host the Boston Celtics in their home opener. It's been an interesting few months for the Celtics, with Ray Allen heading to Miami and the acquisitions of Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Jeff Green. To get a better idea of the team the Wizards will be facing for the next two games (after tonight's game in D.C., they will play each other again on Wednesday in Boston) we turned to Jeff Clark of CelticsBlog to get a few thoughts on the Celtics' new acquisitions, Rondo's place with the team, and how the Wizards can build around Wall like they've done with Rondo.
There were lots of skeptics after Jeff Green signed a 4 year, $36 million deal with Boston, but there are still plenty who think he can live up to the deal (especially here in the D.C. area). How has he looked so far?
Jeff Clark: Well, he looked like a new man in the preseason. Aggressive to the basket, versatile, effective. All you'd want out of one of your top subs. Then he played the Heat and all his bad tentative habits seemed to creep in and he looked horrible. That's just one game and we're all pulling for him to be more like the preseason player we saw, but it is concerning. The whole idea behind bringing him back was to give us more options and looks to throw at teams like the Heat (OK, everything this summer as been about the Heat). I just hope that Doc finds some clear roles for him to fill so he feels more comfortable the next time we play Miami as well as in the playoffs.
If you had to build a starting lineup to complement Rajon Rondo but couldn't use anyone who has been to an All-Star Game, who would you pick and why? Asking for a friend who roots for a team with a great all-around point guard who struggles with outside shooting that doesn't have any All-Stars around him.
Jeff Clark: Well, I'm a firm believer in the star system in the NBA so if your friend can't surround his point guard (let's call him Brick) with All Stars, then he'll want to find guys that will be All Stars or greater soon. There's the Presti model of tear down and build through the draft and then there's the Ainge model of tear down and trade for all stars. I don't think tearing down and trading for role players is a good option but hopefully your friend's team has a few young chips they can package for an All Star or two.
But that isn't really what you asked, so ...um, how about James Harden? Oh wait, never mind. I don't know, I think you'll want good shooters (like say Beal) and guys that can run the break. Defense is important, which is why we see Okafor and Ariza in D.C. But at the end of the day you need stars to win Championships and Nene has to be on the court to even be discussed in that vein.
Speaking of Rondo, how does he stand with Celtics fans right now? On one hand, he has arguably the best contract in the NBA right now, but also may have shut the door on Boston's title hopes by goading Ray Allen into signing with the Heat.
Jeff Clark: Celtics fans are pretty unified behind Rondo at this point. The way Ray left town, for less money, to the Heat, talking non-stop about his role and feeling disrespected, and all that business has really soured our taste on him. Rondo's been wise to keep his mouth shut and stay out of it and he's gone out of his way to be a strong, vocal leader in the locker room this year. Basically he's our future right now, and we're very comfortable with that.