The Boston Celtics made a monumental blunder at the trade deadline: They traded two of their most valuable assets, Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In one regretful swoop, the Celtics have relinquished their supremacy in the Eastern Conference and made the Oklahoma City Thunder a title contender in the West.
You may think that Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson don’t have that type of impact, but I assure they do. Perkins’ rebounding and interior presence was essential to the Celtics; they are one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA and depended on his toughness inside against the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic. Coming back from injuries and playing about 25 minutes a night, Perkins still averaged over eight rebounds per game, which makes him one of the top per minute rebounders in the NBA. Above all, Perkins created havoc on the offensive boards against the Miami Heat. He gave an extremely efficient Celtic team extra shots against the Heat that they have now lost.
The addition of Nenad Krstic just contributes to their rebounding deficiency. He only averages about four rebounds per game at a spot where the Celtics are accustomed to receiving the most help on the boards. Essentially, the Celtics are gambling that Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal will be healthy for the playoffs. They might reason that the Celtics played extremely well with Shaq while Perkins was injured, and that is true, but it also assumes that Shaq will be available for the entire playoffs, which is completely unrealistic at this point.
The Miami Heat are actually one of the biggest winners in this deal. All year, the Heat’s roster has been dissected and exposed for its lack of talent and depth at the center and point guard spots. Why would the Boston Celtics trade their best player at the center position and their second best at point guard, essentially creating the same issues for themselves that plague the Miami Heat?
I’ll tell you why: I think the Celtics looked at their roster and said we can’t beat the Miami Heat in a seven-game series. I know that regular season results suggest otherwise, but let me tell you: Those regular season games mean close to nothing. Back when the Miami Heat won the title in 2006, they were projected to lose to the Vince Carter-Jason Kidd-Richard Jefferson New Jersey Nets because they were swept by them during the regular season.
The Heat disposed of the Nets in five games.
During the playoffs, you analyze the other team’s weaknesses on tape and attack them ruthlessly. And even though the Celtics had advantages over the Heat at the one and five spots, the Celtics only had Von Wafer to relieve Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Danny Ainge must have envisioned a series where the Heat forced the Celtics to sprint on every possession or the Celtics were in foul trouble due to Wade and LeBron’s incessant driving, and in those situations a long series would’ve been almost impossible for the Celtics to endure.
The trade was essentially for Jeff Green.
They wanted someone who could run with LeBron and Wade and give Paul Pierce and Ray Allen some respite. But you know what? It’s still wrong. In an effort to contain the Heat’s strengths (which is nearly impossible anyway), the Celtics lost their advantage over Miami. Their balanced attack kept Miami off-balance. It was easy for them to post up Perkins against Joel Anthony. Now, they have become a worse rebounding team, a less dynamic team that doesn’t have as many posting options, and an inferior defensive team. To top it off, it seems Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtic executives have upset Doc Rivers and the Celtic stars, who all appeared heartbroken during their game against Denver. Garnett said that the Celtics just lost a family member and that he was uncertain if the trade would work.
Simply put, this deal is a disaster.
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