As the NBA trade deadline approached in the middle of March, the Boston Celtics refused to accept any offer that wasn’t clearly in their favor. General Managers around the league commented that Celtic’s President of Basketball Operations, Danny Ainge, was asking for way too much in return for his any of his players.
As the Celtics hovered around seventh place in the Eastern Conference, it seemed as if the C’s needed to make a move in order to guarantee themselves a playoff spot. Yet, even with all the doubt surrounding the fate of the team, the Celtics management decided to have a go with the roster they had.
Given the Celtics recent surge, the lack of a move at the trade deadline seemed like the best option for the team.
Throughout the course of the season, head coach Doc Rivers has commented on the team chemistry the Celtics have in the locker room. All of the players on the team seem to know exactly what their roles are and have been able to develop into those roles as the season has progressed.
Yet, what may have sparked their surge was an injury which sidelined Ray Allen. As Allen began his recovery, Mickael Pietrus filled the void in the starting role until he too went down with an injury.
Given the injuries to Allen and Pietrus, the Celtics were basically forced to start Avery Bradley, who has quickly developed into one the Celtic’s best players.
Prior to his promotion, Bradley had been developing into a premier on-ball defender off the bench. Basically, he would come in to try and shut down one of the opposing team’s guards.
However, in eight of the last nine games Bradley has scored nine or more points in addition to playing outstanding defense. His impressive play has given him a lasting spot in the starting line up, even as Ray Allen has returned from injury.
Although Allen was admittedly not thrilled about being removed from the starting lineup, he handled the decision as the true professional.
“I can’t say that it was my idea. I don’t ever want to come off the bench. But if it can help the team, and that’s what they needed me to do, then I would be up for it,” said Allen. “At the end of the day, your minutes don’t change, and that’s one thing I’m very cognizant about when I’m out there in the flow. It’s an ego thing to start, and my ego is not that big where I feel I have to be in the starting lineup.”
Doc River’s plan has paid off so far as the Celtics have won nine of their last twelve games and have moved into first place in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.
The Celtic’s playoff chances seem to be improving drastically even without making a trade at the trade deadline. If they are able to stay in first place in the Atlantic Division, the Celtics will be guaranteed home court advantage during the first round of the playoffs.
With the team firing on all cylinders, the Celtics could do some damage in the playoffs. However, the team will need to be able to find ways to get rebounds against physical teams such as the Chicago Bulls if they plan on making a legitimate championship run.