1991-1992 Boston Celtics Preview This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   As we reach the end of October, things are starting to change: the weather is getting cooler; the leaves are starting to fall; and the World Series has come to an end. These changes signify only one thing: the NBA basketball season is soon to begin.

The Boston Celtics are now five years removed from their last NBA Finals appearance. Many names and faces have played for the Celts in this time period, but management gave up on them for their lack of team chemistry among the big three of Bird, Parish and McHale. Dave Gavitt, the head of basketball operations for the green and white, hopes this problem has been solved with this year's twelve players.

Injuries have played a key role in this year's opening night roster. Names like Pritchard and Robinson, two players (who weren't even in training camp) who will don the green and white on November first. Dee Brown (arthropscopic knee surgery), Kevin McHale (ankle), and Brian Shaw (groin) will start the season in street clothes, with only Brown out for an extended period. The injuries to Dee and Brian have opened the point guard position to John Bagley, who missed the entire 90-91 season with tendonitis in both knees. He will share the point with a number of people for the first few weeks, including the recently signed Kevin Gamble.

Gamble, coming off his finest season as a pro, signed a three-year contract just two days before the start of the season. This prolonged holdout will diminish his playing time until he gets into playing shape.

Brian Shaw enters this season as the starting point guard (as soon as he is healthy). Shaw, in his fourth season, has emerged as one of the better point guards in the Eastern Conference. Averaging close to 14 points and 8 assists a game, Shaw's quickness on both ends of the floor has been an asset.

Dee Brown, when healthy, is one of the fastest players in the NBA.

Let's hope Dee will come back from his torn cartilage injury with the same quickness and leaping ability that gave them a steal with the 18th pick in the 1990 draft.

Reggie Lewis is becoming one of the best off-guards in the league. He has great quickness to the hoop, with the ability to pull up for an 18-footer or penetrate all the way to the hoop.

Kevin Pritchard was signed by the Celts as an insurance policy until Shaw comes back. He was signed after Brown went down with his injury and will be spending a lot of time at the end of the bench.

Robert Parish is back again for his sixteenth season in the NBA. Despite being 38 years old, the "chief" is running the floor with the legs of a 23-year-old.

One of the biggest surprises in the training camp has been the emergence of Stojko Vrankovic. The Yugoslavian-native, in his second year, is emerging as an intimidating shot-blocker on defense and a good rebounder offensively. He should give Parish the much needed rest he deserves during a game.

When you talk about the greatest forwards of all time, the Celtics have two of them in Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. Larry is coming off back surgery and says that he is feeling the best he has felt in years. Last season, Larry played with an assortment of injuries, which accounted for his worst shooting percentage (45%) of his career. Bird is so confident about his post-surgery play, that he has signed a two-year contract extension. Look for Larry to put up stats which signify a return to his old form.

Kevin is also coming off surgery during the off-season. He proved that he still comes to play day-in and day-out. At the age of 33, Kevin appeared in 68 of 82 games, most of which were played on an injured left ankle. He is still one of the best low-post players in the league.

Ed Pinckney is one of the hardest working players on the court. He has a great leaping ability, which allows him to grab rebounds over taller players and someone who scores a majority of his points on the fast break. Eddie didn't receive the playing time he deserved until the play-offs last year, so if the Celtics were smart, they will find a way to get him into the game more often this year. Larry Robinson was another player signed late in training camp due to injuries. Robinson, the cousin of Parish, will be hard pressed to find playing time this year among the great trio of forwards.

The Celtics had only one pick last season in the draft, but used it very well selecting Rick Fox. Rick gives the C's another good athlete who can shoot the ball from the outside, run the floor, and play good defense. His play in the pre-season has been rewarded with a spot in the starting line-up.

The Celtics are coming off a disappointing A91 season after beginning by winning 29 of its first 34. This year's team should do much better if it stays healthy. Shaw and McHale will be back within the first two weeks of the season with Dee Brown out indefinitely. Dee's absence could be a critical one, with John Bagley filling big shoes. The Celtics should win the Atlantic Division and possibly make it to the NBA finals. Their only obstacle will be the Chicago Bulls, the team they will probably meet in the Eastern Conference Finals. n

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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