Could the Celtics Actually Improve on Defense?


How big a deal is Rasheed Wallace?
It's a pretty big deal, actually, because the Celtics now have four All-Stars on their roster this season. They were stinkin' good before that particular signing and this just adds another pretty piece to the championship puzzle. Is it enough to make them definitively better than Orlando or Cleveland?


Actually, my question is whether the Rasheed addition makes the Celtics defensively better. As we think about the answer to that question, keep in mind how good the Celtics were last year on the defensive end (below), and that's with Kevin Garnett in uniform for only 57 games. I might also quibble with the statement that the Celtics now have "four all-stars," as I would contend that Rajon Rondo is the best point guard in the East, whether he gets All-Star recognition for it or not. One reason Rondo is so good is that he is so destructive on defense. Speaking of destruction, the assists-allowed-per game is a true measure of how disruptive a defense is, preventing an offense from doing what it wants to do and what it's been used to doing.

And don't forget Kendrick Perkins. Still only 25, here is another gentlemen who generally works below radar when it comes to his all-defense-like efforts in the pivot. Rondo, Perk, and KG is pretty much like having have Gold Glovers at catcher (Johnny Bench), second and short (Joe Morgan, Dave Concepcion), and centerfield (Caesar Geronimo). Sheed now gives them a Gold Glover on the pitcher's mound (Tom Seaver).
Points Per Game Allowed

Cavs 1st 91.35
Celtics 3rd 93.4
Purple 18th 99.26

Field Goal Percentage Allowed

Celtics 1st .431
Cavs 1st .431
Purple 6th .447

Assists Per Game Allowed

Celtics 3rd 18.93
Cavs 4th 19.12
Lakers 26th 22.61

Rebound Differential

Celtics 2nd +4.53
Cavs 3rd +3.31
Purple 5th +2.47


FLCeltsFan said...

I think it is possible for them to improve from last season as they weren't as tough on defense last year as they were in their championship season. It will be tough to be better than they were in 07-08 but it's possible with a renewed committment to defense and the players they brought in that they will. I love defense!!!

Lex said...

Me too. I never watched soccer much and never played it. But as I watch my 5-year-old play, it's pretty cool to see them start to understand defense. Josh likes to play goalie.

CW said...

I agree with FLCeltsFan that it will be tough to duplicate the lock down D of 07-08, but this team does have a chance.

My just turned three year old son just had his first soccer "practice".

It was a disaster. It ended with him clinging to my leg and whining that he was hungry and wanted to go home!

We'll see what happens...am thinking he will be more comfortable next time and maybe get into it a bit more.

Lex said...

That's great, CW. My son did that from ages 3-4. It's all part of the experience!

FLCeltsFan said...

My older son played soccer in 7-12 grades and he loved it. After hearing his mother talk about how defense wins championships and defense is more important than breathing from his mother for all his life growing up, it was no surprise that he loved playing defense and was the perennial defensive player of the year (in both soccer and basketball). I remember one game they were facing the team with the highest scorer in the district and Paul held him scoreless. After the game the kid tried to pick a fight with Paul and ended up spitting on his shoe. I was very proud of my son who just turned and walked away with a grin on his face.

CW, it is hard on kids when they start young like that but after a few practices, he will start to love it.

CW said...

Thank you both for sharing! It's all good. Hopefully, he will start enjoying himself, and if he does - I will have no trouble stressing the importance of defense and hustle!

Am curious to see if he actually starts paying attention to the Celts games I watch this year! :)

Lex said...

There is something great about defense. I remember in 5th grade, we played an exhibition game against the next best team in the league. Before we played them in the regular season, my coach came up to me and showed me the "box score" from the exhibition game. Apparently, my guy was their leading scoring. Ooops. "I don't want him to score this time." Yikes!

That's when I realized how important defense is and how much fun it is to succeed at it.

CW said...

Yeah, I love D as well...which is why I loved the 07-08 team so much.

They brought an "F you" attitude on D every game, and it was a beautiful thing to watch.

I think last year's team lacked that type of sustained defensive intensity.

That is why I am very optimistic for this year's squad - bringing in guys like Sheed and the Landlord, a re-invigorated KG, and you just know Rondo and Perk will keep improving and begin making all defensive teams soon.

Epic, nasty defense this year.

FLCeltsFan said...

OHHHH! I get tingles up my spine just thinking about it!!!!!!!!!!!!

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