1986 Lite?

Today is Wednesday, July 29, 2009. Saturday will be August 1. By then, Danny will have made a decision on Gabe Pruitt. I’m hopeful that this deadline will trigger decisions on Big Baby, Marquis Daniels, Bruce Bowen, Stephon Marbury and the flotsam and jetsam that represent much of our holdover reserve unit from last year. Who knows, by then maybe the Lakers will have signed Lamar Odom, only to trade him to Miami for Udonis Haslem.

While we are waiting out this lull, it might be worth remembering that this is not 2007-08. Yes, the Celtics still have one of the most talented rosters in the NBA. But unlike 2007-08 when it was immediately clear to most Celtics’ fans, if not to anyone else, Danny Ainge had built the best team in the NBA. Sure, questions had to be answered. But there was a reason I started out my blog comparing 2007-08 to 1985-86: a championship was coming to Beantown come hell or high water.

This year, I blog with no such bravado. Ray Allen is old, Rasheed Wallace is older, and KG’s knees are THE BIG QUESTION MARK. Paul Pierce insists he did not finish last season injured, but news reports tell us differently.

On a different note, Eddie House is returning, but the Celtics may add Marquis Daniels, Bruce Bowen, and Stephon Marbury. No one really doubts the value of Eddie House. But exactly how much time will he spend on the floor if the Celtics only add two of those three blokes? Where Glen Davis would fit into the puzzle also remains a mystery, as he earned at least a 20-minute-per-game role last year, and now doesn’t figure to play that much very often.

How often Glen Davis and Eddie House or any of the bench players play will be influenced, of course, by how much Doc Rivers decides to play his bench. The longer Doc coaches championship-level basketball teams the more closely he resembles KC Jones, who ran his starters into the ground for the purpose of squeezing out every regular season win possible.

You’d like to think that won’t happen this year with a refortified bench. But, as someone else asked recently, when was the last time Boston won in Cleveland? How important are the Lakers’ games this year after we got swept last year? In other words, Doc will start 2009-10 the same way he did 2007-08, by preaching the mantra that the only purpose served by the regular season is to win home-court advantage in the playoffs. This doesn’t sound like a recipe for too many nights off, except for a few fourth quarters where we’ve built up a 20 point lead.

So even after Danny finalizes our roster, the fun will just begin. I don’t think this will be 1986 all over again. But it might be 1986 lite.

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