I mentioned the fervor over the KG trade the other day and I have to admit, I was totally gulping on the Kool-Aid. Hard, yo. The following is a pretty accurate summation of what was running though my head when I was reading all the articles in the Boston media about how to polish the trophy when Stern air-mails it to them this weekend: Wow, KG teamed up with PP and RA? Is there a better three-team core in the NBA? Nay, has there ever been such an explosive collection of complementary players assembled to play the game of basketball? Furthermore, why have I contracted the bad habit of calling all players by their initials?
The basic idea that's been floating around is that Allen working the perimeter with Garnet drawing double teams on the block and Pierce creating opportunities with consistent penetration will create an offensive behemoth the likes of which no team will be able to defend. Let me run through a few of the problems with this conclusion:
1. Everyone keeps saying, "You can't double-team anyone on this team." The premise is that leaving Pierce, Allen, or Garnet open for a second will surely result in a catastrophic defensive failure. The problem is, and I'm not the first online to note this, you still have to play five players at a time. Somehow I don't think sagging off Kendrick Perkins or Brian Scalabrine to throw an extra man at Garnet is going to yield dependable buckets. Call me crazy.
2. Here's a little criticism that's also been repeated: These three guys have to sit at some point. They've all had injury problems in their careers. At least one has been stabbed multiple times. The lineup Boston throws at you when the three amigos are sucking air is a severe disappointment. In the summer league.
3. Doc Rivers is coaching these guys. I think he should be hired out on a case-by-case basis to undermine your enemy's self-esteem. There's this 6'3", 6'4" guy who always plays pick-up in my neighborhood, and the dude owns me. He's got this floating hook from about fifteen that I am helpless to defend. I would pay Doc at least a hundred to "tutor" this guy until he hesitates before each one of those shots. My rebound numbers go through the roof! Money!
4. Garnet is going to destroy the East. I believe this to a point. I've seen Garnet a few times in person, and everyone seems to agree with me that he scares the crap out of all fans of any team trying to guard him. Remember that buzzer beater that killed Portland last season? My memory seems to run away with me at times, but I distinctly remember LMA, Roy, Jack, Sabonis, Duckworth and the ghost of young Cliff Robinson all hanging off of him when he sunk that fadeaway. That s*** was ice-cold. Still, people believe the least coast doesn't have a player who can defend him. This is not the case. I point to both of the Wallace brothers, Howard, Bosh, and Miami's team defense (if Shaq still has knees next season, stay tuned) as people/teams who can and have in the past given KG trouble. Not much, but enough to force Rondo to hit a few shots.
5. When RA got traded to Boston, I (and everyone else in the world) was thinking it was the stupidest move period. You trade away your young promising players and a lottery pick to attain an older version of the star player you already have who obviously wasn't the man? Nice work, everyone, cheers. No one thought Pierce and Allen would mesh. Now KG comes along and they're Charlie's Angels all of a sudden? An explanation is in order. I can't even count the number of questions that conclusion begs.
For a final analysis, let's take a look at Boston's five against my imagined starting Blazer five:
PG: Jack Rondo
SG: Roy Allen
SF: Outlaw Pierce
PF: Aldridge Garnet
C: Oden Perkins
I know that Boston certainly has the upper hand, but as the season wears on, I have to believe our roster will give them a run for their money. I'm not so blinded by Blazer pride as to assume that Oden and Aldridge will give KG fits with their stifling defense, but whichever of our two frontcourt guys goes up against Perkins on the other end will have one of the easiest jobs offensively of the entire season. And what about their reserves and ours? Who's going to guard Frye?
You may ask, why am I picking on Boston, haven't they had their share of problems? The reasons are twofold. One is that even writers I usually respect are chiming in with their CELTICS SUREFIRE EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPS posts. Secondly, after we won the lottery, Boston fans (in comments sections) were floating around trade packages for our pick that sounded like "Gomes, Allen, and the #5. Plus Gerald Green but only if they play hardball." What the eff? When your fan base believes that West and Scalabrine for Aldridge is an enticing trade you deserve all the bad news you get. So keep your Kool-Aid, Boston fans. I'm guessing it won't taste so sweet when your first-round playoff collapse rolls around.