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Re: Bulpett's Celtics outlook on ESPN.com
Dan Forant Sr wrote:
> So Pitino painted himself in a corner, what was he supposed to do, say
> we'll come in last place for 3 years before growth comes along. Ooooppps,
> forgot we have to sell tickets and tv. I don't hold Pitino to that original
> remark and also think it will take another year or two make the playoffs, I
> certainly hope we do. If we stay healthy and already we're not, there may
> be a chance for post season play. The East is too competitive. We were
> dumb and unlucky at the same time for too many years....
I agree that that's what Pitino's supposed to do, but for more than just
marketing reasons. He's setting expectations high, so that the players
will live up to the expectations, but he's not setting them
unreasonably high. That's the mark of any great teacher, coach or manager.
I disagree that the East is too competitive. Everyone's talking about
how there are a lot of good teams but no team stands out from the crowd.
Last year's top teams were old and getting older, and the new rules will
favor younger, faster teams (like the Celtics). Everything from Pitino's
track record with rebuilding teams quickly to the more balanced Celtics
roster to the vast improvements in Kenny Anderson's defense and running
of the offense to the removal of the disadvantage in free throws and
(with Fortson) rebounds to Pierce's continuing improvement will make the
Celtics a vastly better team this year than the last 2 years. Barring
injuries, the Celtics should have no problem getting into the playoffs.
Whether they finish 8th or 5th or somewhere in between is up to them
and their development. That's how I view it.
Some of the wild cards are Pervis Ellison, how quickly Fortson recovers,
how much time Antoine gets at the 3 (he seems so much better at passing
and scoring when he's moving than when he's posting up), and how much
consistency Battie has gained, as well as how quickly the new players
fit in to the system. All that can affect how high the C's finish, but
I think even without any of the wild cards going well the C's are a 7th
or 8th place team. Just my humble opinion.