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Boston Celtics: 1990-91 Preview MAG
Being a Celtic maniac, I enter each new NBA season with optimism, saying to myself, "The Celtics are going to win; the Celtics are going to win; the Celtics are going to . . .," but this year feels different, and the season has just started.
The off season is usually a time of excitement, a time when "Red" Auerbach pulls a rabbit out of his magic hat and drafts a lucky college grad to wear Celtic green. But ever since the Celtics won the championship in 1986, Celtic fans have had little to smile about.
1986-87 off season: Celtics' first-round draft choice, Len Bias, dies of cocaine.
1986-87 season: Celtics make it to the finals, but are crushed by the Lakers.
1987-1988 off season: Celtics draft Reggie Lewis out of Northeastern; Lewis was the Huskies all-time leading scorer.
1987-1988 season: Celtics are upset in the semi-finals, losing to Detroit, who are beaten by the Lakers in the finals.
1988-1989 off season: Celtics draft Brian Shaw out of University of California in Santa Barbara.
1988-1989 season: Boston is Bird-less due to Achilles operation. Celtics go 42-40 with new head coach Jimmy Rodgers. The Celtics get swept in the first round by Detroit who take revenge on the Lakers and win the Finals.
1989-1990 season: Celtics, with Bird, win 50+ games but are beaten by the New York Knicks in five games, in the first round! Jimmy Rodgers is fired and Chris Ford is named new head coach.
My list isn't over yet, folks! This past off season, the Celtics take Brian Shaw to court because he played for Italy after signing a million-dollar, multi-year contract with Boston. The Celtics win, but that's not it. Reggie Lewis hires Shaw's agent, Jerome Stanley, who threatened the Celtics saying that if Reggie doesn't get a new contract, he will not play with the Celtics after this season. Is that it, you ask? Nope. Dino Radja, a Yugoslavian basketball player, is signed by the Celtics for a multi-million dollar deal, then Dino signs with Shaw's old Italian team. That's it, right? For the moment.
The Celtics draft Dee Brown out of Jacksonville University as their first round draft selection this year. Brown is very small and slight, only 6'2", 165 pounds.
This is definitely a team of the future. With young future stars like Lewis, Shaw, Smith, Brown, and all their young free agents (like 1989 Big East player of the year Charles Smith), the C's are definitely ready to run. That won't be easy, though. Even though Larry Bird is, if not the greatest forward to ever play the game, possibly the greatest shooter to ever step on an NBA court, this doesn't cancel the fact that he is one of the slowest players today. Don't get me wrong, he is going to pull this team together, but don't expect any banner-raising this year. Larry, Robert Parish, and Kevin McHale's jobs this year (whether they know it or not) is to teach. They have to show the young kids how to win under pressure--Larry; how to block and rebound--Parish; and how to use your defender like a puppet--McHale.
Recently the Celtics released guard and 14-year veteran Dennis Johnson. D.J. was named to the All-Defensive team nine times, and don't tell me that he couldn't have taught the young guards a thing or two. The move was obvious (no surprise to this fan), but still not a very smart one, not this year anyhow. With Shaw and Brown, the two future starters, they could definitely have used a role-model this year.
How will the Celtics do?
They will probably win 50 games and head into the quarter finals, maybe even the semi-finals.
You mean there is no chance for for a championship?
No, I mean there is very little chance. For the Celtics to win a championship they would need more offense than just giving it to Larry. If they can get 30 to 35 points out of Brian Shaw and Reggie Lewis combined, 40 points out of Larry and Kevin McHale together, good bench support - in other words 20-25 points in bench production and a defense that can hold the opponents to under 105 points average - then maybe, just maybe we can see Number 17.
A little sidenote: Chris Ford, as a player for the Boston Celtics, hit the NBA's very first three pointer. Maybe his luck will ride well with us again. n