It’s a good thing we have the Celtics Town Mailbag so I can set everybody’s mind straight.
I think your disgust with the play of Tony Allen is a bit misguided. I recall a very productive bench player/starter on some occasions prior to his most recent knee injury (a bone-headed play that doesn't support my argument by the way) several years ago. There were a couple games that season where Tony led the team in scoring and played a very well rounded floor game. His aggression and defense kept him in the rotation night after night. He had definitely turned the corner of mediocrity and was heading toward being a key part of the organization moving forward. I think that stats will also show that it takes at least two years to come back from a serious knee injury; if at all. Tony is about a 1 1/2 years into his return and I've noticed increased confidence, lateral movement, and athleticism. If he can return to the form of two years ago, coupled with the return of Big Baby, we have a very formidable bench. Getting any contribution from Bill and JR would surely go a very long way. So, before we completely write-off Tony, let's give him until December to see what he can provide. I think he'll surprise us all. – Sean King (Sacramento, CA)
I hope he does, Sean, but I think you’re wrong. And here’s why.
Tony was pretty productive a couple years ago, when the Celtics were mired in one of their worst seasons ever. During that season, he averaged 11.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. But - when Pierce was out with an injury - he was often the focal point of the offense, with the ball in his hands a whole lot. Tony needs the ball in his hands to thrive and, with so many stars on the Celtics’ roster, he will never – nor should he ever – have the ball that much. If Tony ever played for a down-and-out team, I am certain he could put up pretty big numbers. But for the Celtics? He hasn’t been a great fit.
You want to know another guy who averaged almost the same stats as Tony in ’06-’07? Gerald Green, with 10.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game in slightly less minutes than Tony. And nobody would ever want him back on the C’s. A lot of guys in the NBA can thrive when they get more shots and opportunities.
But other guys can fit in with a contending team and really push them over the top. That’s what makes players like James Posey so valuable to contending teams. They know their role, take good shots, and play D. And knowing his role was something Tony Allen has never figured out, and I don’t think he ever will. Which makes him, in my eyes, completely expendable.
Do you think that the Celtics acquiring Rasheed will make them once again the most dominating team in the NBA? – Pete (MA)
In a word, yes.
A lot of the NBA’s top teams have gotten better this offseason. Cleveland with Shaq, Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon. Orlando with Vince Carter, Brandon Bass and Matt Barnes. The Lakers with Artest.
But the Celtics picked up exactly what they needed. Remember, this was a 62-win team last year even without KG for a big chunk of the season. Now, KG will be back, hopefully healthy, Rondo and Perk are a year older, Rasheed provides a backup center the C’s sorely lacked, and Marquis Daniels gives Paul Pierce and Ray Allen a dependable backup they desperately needed last year. Plus, the KG and Rasheed combination will shatter all previous records for most intensity during a sporting event. The Celtics are as good or better than they were last year at every position, with backup PG their only potential weak link.
Which takes us to…
What do you think about all these Starbury rumors? After 3.8 points and 3.3 assists per game, he’s not worth bringing back. – Bob (Lynn, MA)
Okay. I admit it. Marbury had a bad year last year - I could have shot a better percentage from the field, and I haven’t worked out once since I quit my college basketball team. Marbury was tentative, hesitant, and timid on the court – and I just used three words that mean the exact same thing to describe it because he played THAT cautious last year (and that’s a fourth).
What you can’t forget about Marbury is that he was out of basketball for an entire year before he joined the Celtics. He hadn’t played a game in that long. So for him to struggle last year should have been expected. With a full training camp to become acquainted with the offense and shake the rest of the rust off, Steph should be back to his normal self – even last year, when he struggled so mightily, he still had his trademark explosiveness and quickness.
Just a quick note about Steph – I was at Knicks training camp last year, and I got to see Steph play right before the Knicks told him to eat shit and wouldn’t let him play. At their training camp, he completely surprised me. I was expecting to see the guy who had been labeled a problem child but, instead, Marbury was the hardest worker at the camp and was the best player there for the Knicks. When they wouldn’t let him play, after I had just seen him murder Chris Duhon and Nate Robinson throughout training camp, I was shocked.
Another note about Steph from the Knicks’ training camp, and this is a true story. During one practice the sole of his Starbury shoe became completely detached from the rest of his shoe and flew across the court. The Knicks’ equipment manager went to find Starbury his backup pair of shoes, but the pair didn’t fit – how? I don’t know. So Steph asked me – yes, your's truly, a lowly ballboy at the camp – if he could wear my shoes for the rest of practice. I wear a size 13, though, and Steph is only a size 11.5, so he couldn't use mine, and Steph spent the rest of practice sitting on the bench, wearing his broken Starbury’s and watching his teammates play. Moral of the story? Don’t trust a ten dollar pair of shoes.
Anyways, back to Stephon’s situation with the Celtics, recent rumors have stated that Marbury is close to resigning with the C’s. However, Marbury has denied the rumors, and claims to have no idea where he will end up. Right now, it seems like it’s either Boston or Europe, and hopefully Boston will work out. Otherwise, the Celts’ backup point guard position will still be in limbo.
How do you think that the signing of Ron Artest will affect the Lakers and Artest himself? – Arnie (MA)
To be honest, I’m not sold on the Artest signing for the Lakers. Ariza fit in perfectly with the Lakers – he is an athletic defensive stopper who was opportunistic on offense and didn’t command a lot of touches. Artest, while an upgrade defensively and the first truly tough player the Lakers have added in a long time, isn’t nearly as good a fit on offense. He is more talented than Ariza, yeah, but I don’t know how Kobe will feel when Artest is firing fadeaway jumpers from all over the court.
I don’t see Artest as being willing to change to more team-centered play, but I could be wrong.
If the Lakers can resign Odom, and word is that they have resigned him for four years and $40 million, then I see them as taking a big step sideways this offseason. And, the way everyone else is improving, that may not cut it for next year.
Just wanted to ask one thing: Does Rasheed Wallace’s bald spot in his hair amount to the worst hair in NBA history? – Andrew (Cross, South Carolina)
Not even close. I can definitively say that Rasheed, though his hair may not be perfect, is certainly surpassed in the hair category by a former Celtic great, Dwayne Shintzius. Shintzius, who played 16 games for the C’s in the 1998-1999 season, has – far and away – the worst hair in NBA history. With that mullet, Shintzius looks more like Stifler in Old School than he does an NBA basketball player (look right).
If anyone is asking, honorable mention for the worst NBA hair ever goes to Chris Mullin, Chris Kaman, a younger Rony Turiaf, and Joakim Noah, and Rasheed isn't even close.