Should The Celtics Have Blown Up Their Core?
The Celtics' big three, consisting of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, were all top three on the team in scoring. However, they're getting way up there in age, being 34, 36, and 36 years old, respectively. There's a strong chance Allen doesn't even return to the team next season.
After failing to defeat the Heat in the conference finals last year, should the Celtics just give up on their aging core and start from scratch again?
No way. I remember when the Celtics traded for Garnett and Allen, and I was furious. However, my fellow Knicks fans and I figured that there was no way they would stay competitive for more than a few years. That thought was what got me to sleep at night. Next thing I know it's five years later and I'm watching them in Game 7 of the conference finals against the Miami Heat. How could you blow up a team that was a single win away from a finals appearance?
A big thing people like to bring up is the "luck" the Celtics had in the playoffs. "Yeah but Rose was hurt and Bosh got hurt and blah blah blah." Don't bring that garbage round here. Everyone faces injuries, it's part of the game. The Celtics were missing their best perimeter defender in Avery Bradley, and one of their best bench players in Jeff Green. Plus, Ray Allen missed a couple games and obviously wasn't at full form in the playoffs, shooting less than 40% from the field and only 30.4% from three. Sure, they don't make up for the absence of a guy like Rose or Bosh, but injuries are a part of the game. The Celtics made it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and that's that. No excuses.
Another reason people cite for blowing up the team is that they're only getting older, which many interpret as "they're only getting worse." Not so fast. In case you were unaware, Pierce and Garnett not only maintained their play of the past few years, but they improved.
Pierce averaged his best point total since '08, his best assist total since '07, and averaged the same amount of rebounds he had over the previous four years. It would be unfair of me not to point out that his shooting percentage was down about 5%, but regardless, this guy can obviously still ball.
Garnett also averaged his highest points total since '08 and highest assist total since '07, while also averaging his highest block total since '08 and continuing to shoot over 50% from the field. His rebounds were down from last year, but still were higher than his average in '09.