Rivalry Check is an ongoing series in which we preview 10 of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Harris DeckerNew Faces: Realizing you are beginning a rebuilding cycle is one of the toughest pills for a fan base to swallow. On June 27, 2013, that reality began to sink in for the city of Boston. Arriving in the trade with division rivals the Brooklyn Nets were a number of high profile, veteran NBA players. The arrival of MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace and Keith Bogans changes the landscape for a Celtics team that had become very comfortable with their yearly playoff birth.
The other big addition is their new coach. A member of the Butler coaching staff since 2001, he spent the last seven years as the teams head coach. A very calm and collected leader, he shows very little fire on the sidelines but could be a good fit for the Celtics as they rebuild from the ground up.
Departures: This starts and ends in Brooklyn, NY. Kevin Garnett and lifelong Celtic Paul Pierce have departed, leaving many Celtics fans questioning who will make up the front court for the 2013-14 team.
Season Outlook: This will be a very, very interesting season for the Boston Celtics. Despite losing two future Hall of Famers to a division rival, the team has a number of talented players. Rajon Rondo will return from injury, teaming with Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Keith Bogans, Jordan Crawford and the newly acquired MarShon Brooks to create one of the most versatile back courts in the division. It will be interesting to see what type of impact Brooks can have if he becomes the starting shooting guard for the Celtics.
It’s easy to forget that Kris Humphries and Gerald Wallace are not bad players. They are overpaid, but they are not bad. Finally, Jeff Green showed that he has incredible upside. In the 2013 Playoffs, he averaged over 20 points per game and shot 45% from downtown. This team is projected to take a huge step back. While there’s no doubt they won’t match last years win total, they won’t be nearly as bad as everyone is predicting them to be.
Biggest Challenge for the Knicks: This will be a very interesting matchup for the Knicks this year. We know that the Knicks have trouble guarding quick point guards like Rondo so that presents an obvious challenge. The fire of the Celtics vs. Knicks rivalry will likely change as well. In years past, Pierce and Garnett provided the fire so someone will have to step up and lead this very fresh looking team.