|Posted by paul on January 17, 2012 at 1:00 AM|
As I see it, the basic problem with the Celtics this season has been that they are continuing to run an offense that was designed in 2008 for a different situation. When the Big Three came together in Boston in 2008, they were aging, but they were still three of the best jumpshooters in NBA history. An offense was designed for them that 1) slowed the ball down to make things easy on aging legs and 2) used the triple threat posed by the Big Three, along with cleverly designed plays (often involving multiple screens for Allen) and superb passing to open up good looks consistently. The result was a powerful offense that achieved extremely high shooting percentages, DESPITE NEVER HAVING A DECENT POSTUP GAME! This was quite an achievement, wasn't it? It bears thinking about and marveling at, doesn't it? Here was a team that had no post game to speak of, and no transition game to speak of, that consistently posted brilliant shooting percentages. And as Rondo developed into a better and better passer, the Celtics' offense became at times truly a wonder to behold. When Shaq joined the team, and at last provided a scoring threat in the paint, scoring almost became automatic for stretches of time.
Doc Rivers deserves a lot of credit for designing the Big Three offense, and continually upgrading it. BUT 2008 WAS FIVE YEARS AGO!! Is there no one in CelticsWorld who understands this? Half a decade has pased since 2008. The Big Three are still three wiley and skilled vets, still capable of accomplishing a lot in a basketball game, as Paul Pierce showed against the Thunder last night, but they are no longer three of the biggest scoring threats in the league. They probably aren't even the biggest scoring threats on the Celtics anymore, though Rondo's terrible shooting last night makes one wonder. Rondo may never be a great shooter, though he is getting better, but he is a great offensive player, with outstanding ability to break down a defense, both in transition and in the half-court, always looking to both score and pass.
For years now Rondo has managed to not only fit himself into a system that didn't really suit him, but to excel in that system. I'm now convinced that many of the difficulties Rondo has had over the years have at least in part been caused by the difficulties he's had with the Big Three system, despite his mostly successful efforts to fit in. Isn't it time to begin redesigning the Celtics offense so that it puts the ball in Rondo's hands and encourages him to attack and break down the defense more? I'm not saying that the Celtics should start playing a Chicago style offense overnight. I think that they should start to blend a more-or-less Chicago style offense with the offense they have now. I know it's hard to change things on the run, this should be treated as a work in progress. It would be best if Rondo and Pierce and Rivers would sit down and start working some of this out together. It's not an insoluble problem for smart guys, and few come smarter. We need to find ways to begin to morph the Celtics offensive system to suit the talents of the younger guys, especially Rondo.
It's not 2008 anymore. It just isn't. But it's not too late to make some amazing things happen in 2012. We just have to be willing to make some changes. Every season has a story. To me, this is this season's main story.