Celtics Report Cards: The Starters
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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics 2010-11 season came to end against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It was a disappointing end to a season that began with championship hopes, but there were a few bright spots along the way.
Here are the report cards for each of the Celtics, starting with the Starting Five.
Season Stats: 68 Games, 10.6 PPG, 11.2 APG, 4.4 RPG, 37.2 MPG
Rondo had an up and down year, but a very solid one at that. He continued to prove he is one of the best and most innovative passers in the game, and they came in bunches. He notched double-digit assists 42 times with the Celtics going 36-6 in those games. It was often said during the season “How Rondo goes, we go.”
His major flaw remains the lack of a jump shot. Teams leave him open, chosing to double team Pierce or Allen, begging Rondo to take the shot. He was extremely streaky and had his worst shooting season (46-percent) since his rookie year. Although he was more aggressive at attacking the basket, he often passed the ball when he should have just finished for an easy two.
Rondo showed he can take over a game, or a series, but questions remain about his leadership. He has spent the last four seasons with three Hall of Famers by his side, and the time will come where it is Rondo’s turn to take over. He can quarterback a team as well as anyone, but is he mentally ready for the task? The 25-year-old went into a severe mid-season slump, many believe because of the trade of his best friend on the team, Kendrick Perkins. He did show tremendous poise in the postseason when he played the end of Game 3 and all of Games 4 and 5 against the Heat after dislocating his left elbow.
In all it was a pretty good year for the Celtics point guard. He showed some improvements but also some immaturity. This could soon be his team, next year he will have to elevate his game even more.
Season Stats: 16.5 PPG, 49% FG, 44% 3-pters
At the age of 35, Ray remains one of the most athletic players in the league. He showed little signs of slowing down, shooting career bests from the floor and beyond the arc. He became the All-Time NBA leader in 3-pointers on February 10th against the Lakers, a special moment for one of the greatest shooters the game has seen. He was also clutch from downtown, hitting seven go-ahead 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime. He was 7-for-13 in that situation this season.
Photo Gallery: Ray Allen Becomes NBA 3-Point King
Ray was pretty consistent throughout the season but did show some fatigue late in the year. He had a few stretches during the playoffs where he went cold, but still can hit shots from anywhere on the floor. Doc has shown that no matter how Ray has shot during a game, he will always look to his veteran sharpshooter for a big shot.
Allen has already said he has all the intentions to return to the Celtics next season (he has a player option) and will be interesting to see what he can do when he hits 36.
Season Stats: 18.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.3 APG, 50% FG
Pierce is still the leader and backbone of the Boston Celtics. He plays hurt, wants to take the last shot, and loves guarding the opposing team’s best player. Like Ray, Pierce had a career shooting season as well hitting 50-percent of his shots from the floor.
The Truth had a great series against the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference Quarters, capped off with a 38-point performance in Game 3 at Madison Square Garden. He did however get tossed out of Game 1 against the Heat in the East Semis after picking up two technical in the second half. As a leader, Pierce has to keep his cool (although when was the last time you saw an NBA player get ejected for a “verbal taunt” in a close game).
This is Pierce’s team for as long as he wants it. He leads by example and showed he can still play at a high level.
Season Stats: 71 GP, 14.9 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 53% FG
The biggest thing for Garnett in 2010-11 was that he stayed relatively healthy. He had a very good regular season, but a very poor postseason. He played well against the Knicks but struggled mightily against the young trio in Miami. He was picked on constantly and did not really fight back against Chris Bosh and Lebron James. He can still play defense but it seems to come in spurts. It also depends who is on the court next to him, helping to clog the paint.
Photo Gallery: Celtics Free Agents
Garnett is definitely on the back-nine of his career, but still has the fire to compete at the highest level every night. He has lost a few steps, and will probably decline more in his 16th NBA season. Still, having Garnett in the locker room is important. When KG talks, people listen. He can really help a young player like Jeff Green develop defensively, which could be priceless for Boston’s future.
Season Stats: 24 GP, 18 MPG, 5.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG
I guess you could call Jermaine the starting center since the job was his in the postseason. O’Neal was a bit of a disappointment to start his Celtic career because he did not look ready when the season began. He was a bit out of shape and got hurt early on. Instead of getting arthroscopic knee surgery in January, he tried to rehab it with rest. That did not work and he needed surgery anyways.
Jermaine played well when he returned in April though, and took over the starting center position. He played very well defensively and did not try to do too much on offense. His main focus was to protect the basket and he did just that. He will be back next season so it will be nice to see what JO can do if he comes into camp in shape and is able to put together a fairly complete season.
Stayed tuned all weekend for the report cards for all the Celtics.
Coming Saturday: The Bench.