With the somewhat startling news coming out today that Doc Rivers may leave Boston come the summer, a question is once again brought forth that everybody’s been trying to answer yet can’t seem to substantiate.
What caused the unexpected unraveling of the 2010 Boston Celtics?
There are several, widely speculated views and opinions out there. Age has been the most popular answer, but being the optimist that I am, I never bought into that as an excuse. Rasheed Wallace’s play and influence are another answer, but one player who’s on the court 22 minutes a night can’t have that terrible an impact, can they?
On paper I still consider our starting five to be the most talented in the league and our bench (once again on paper) is as capable as any. But once you get to the professional level of any sport, talent alone never does the trick. It all comes down to the five guys on the court working together as a singular unit.
Back in February, Rajon Rondo commented on possible chemistry issues regarding players on the roster having their own agendas and not buying into the ever holy all for one, one for all mentality. Despite the fact these Celtics are actually averaging more assists per game (16.6 to 15.8) and less turnovers (25.3 to 25.8) than they did during the 2007-08 title run, a certain camaraderie seems to be lacking, and it’s one that’s preventing the Celtics from winning basketball games against teams of lesser talent.
Recently on ESPN’s TrueHoop Blog, Kevin Arnovitz posted an interesting piece on the lack of team basketball that occurs when pending free agency comes into play.
He highlights the most obvious points which coincide with players wanting to further their careers by looking for their own statistical bumping opportunities. But does this apply to Boston? A veteran savvy roster with legitimate aspirations at a title? It’s unlikely, but as hopelessly frustrated as I am on the issue, it’s worth a thought.
Marquis Daniels, Tony Allen, Nate Robinson and Ray Allen are all the meaningful players on Boston’s roster who are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents next season, while Paul Pierce has a $21.5 million dollar player option.
The only possible culprits on that short list are Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels: two players who in the eyes of decision makers around the league could have actual value this summer. Coincidently, the two have recently wandered into Doc Rivers’ dog house at the most inopportune part of the season. Right before the playoffs. Should the Celtics manage an unlikely title run and raise two banners in three years, don’t be surprised to see Marquis Daniels and Nate Robinson’s imprint all over it.
Then again, if Rasheed Wallace keeps throwing the ball into the wrong basket, we can kiss this season goodbye.