Saturday , Oct , 03 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Can Garnett’s Celtics win the east and beat Bryant’s Lakers in the NBA Finals?

Under coach Doc River, Boston is at their best playing air-tight defense and shutting down opposing offenses. The green-and-white’s ability to ‘get-stops’ gives them a chance to win every game and makes them a formidable foe on the road. Clearly, ‘The Big Ticket’ is the straw that stirs the Celtics’ defensive drink. He anchors Rivers’ schemes, fosters a mentality of weakside help, and, through his legendary intensity, makes others accountable …


Can Garnett's Celtics win the east and beat Bryant's Lakers in the NBA Finals?Every day until the regular season begins, HoopsVibe the Blog will ask and answer an important question facing each of the NBA’s thirty teams. Weigh-in with thoughts on our Key Questions feature in the comment box below.

Today’s team:
Boston Celtics.

Key Question: If Kevin Garnett stays healthy, can the Boston Celtics win the Eastern Conference and beat Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals?

(Author’s note: with respect to the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs, the defending champion Lakers also had a strong off-season. For now, they have to be early favorites to win the Western Conference and repeat in 2010).

The Quick Answer: If Garnett makes a full recovery from last year’s knee troubles, then yes, the Celtics are very much in the running for the 2010 NBA Title.

Under coach Doc River, Boston is at their best playing air-tight defense and shutting down opposing offenses. The green-and-white’s ability to ‘get-stops’ gives them a chance to win every game and makes them a formidable foe on the road.

Clearly, ‘The Big Ticket’ is the straw that stirs the Celtics’ defensive drink. He anchors Rivers’ schemes, fosters a mentality of weakside help, and holds others accountable.  Last year, when Garnett was out, Boston’s defense suffered and they lost their identity as a defensive power. The main priority in 2010 is keeping the former MVP off injured reserve and on-court.

Over the summer, the club upgraded their post spots in case Garnett can’t stay healthy. Glen Davis, fresh off inking his new contract, and young Kendrick Perkins will continue to progress, while former lottery Shelden Williams was brought in to add depth.

The big move was signing versatile Rasheed Wallace during free agency. With a strong skill-set and basketball I.Q., he could start and, for stretches of games, serve as the first option on offense. However, with Wallace’s unselfish attitude, he’d also be open to coming off-the-bench as a change-of-pace scorer.

The perimeter positions are certainly covered. Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo form one of the NBA’s best backcourts; Paul Pierce, a Hall of Fame three-man, leads with his tremendous scoring and great confidence.

Much will be expected of reserves Marquis Daniels and Eddie House. Daniels, a free agent pick-up, must use his athleticism to provide energy. House, a shooting guard in a point guard’s body, has to excel as Rondo’s primary back-up.

Prediction: 1st or 2nd in the Eastern Conference and challenging for a championship.

Sound off: where do you see the Celtics finishing in 2010? Let us know in the comment box below. Want more of this ‘Key Questions’ feature? Then check out Oly’s HoopsVibe The Blog archive and follow him on Twitter. Photo courtesy of Bold Willie.