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So Who Won? Boston or Minnesota?

Now that KG is in Boston, the question being tossed around is who got the better end of the deal. To recap:
*Boston got a Hall of Fame power forward in his prime to pair with their two perimeter stars.

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*Minnesota got a potential All-Star in PF Al Jefferson, a consumate pro in PF Ryan Gomes, an incomparably athletic but way overrated prospect in SF Gerald Green, an $11M expiring contract in C Theo Ratliff, a bust of a PG in Sebastian Telfair (who still has a lot of talent) and two middle-to-late first-round picks.

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Boston gets talent that can help them compete now. Minnesota gets some young talent and future salary cap relief. Which team won?
I can’t argue with the win-win response, but that’s kind of weak. Pick a side. There are no ties in basketball. I was thinking Minny, because they got the young talent and cap flexibility, which is exactly what they wanted. But the more I think about it, the more I lean toward the Celtics. They are in position to win now. They put their best foot forward for this season. And they have three bonafide All-NBA caliber players. Not very many teams can say that. San Antonio (Duncan, Ginobili, Parker), Phoenix (Nash, Amare, Marion), Detroit maybe (Chauncey, Tayshaun, R-Wallace when they’re at their best), Denver (Carmelo, A.I. Camby) … now I’m stretching it. Notice the trend there? Three of the four teams I mentioned are in the West.
I say Boston got the better of the deal because they are now one of the top four teams in the East before the season even starts. That’s not debatable (Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago). But I say they are better than Chicago and Cleveland now, which means they are at least even with Detroit.
Some people ask how will they divide the shots. But I say KG doesn’t require a lot of touches, and Paul Pierce can use a break on the gunning. Rivers is a respected enough figure to where he can cut back on their touches without much resistance. Plus, all three have been the man for so long now. If taking a back seat means winning, I think they are all mature enough and hungry enough to swallow it.
Seriously, how are you going to guard this team?
Rajon Rondo is quick as ever and can get to the basket at will. He’s at his best as a distributor, now he has three all stars to set up.
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Ray Allen has made a career as a frontline scorer without ever having a legitimate big man to take away the pressure. How good will he be in a two-man game with KG?
The last time Paul Pierce faced single coverage was when Antoine Walker was good. Teams can’t afford to double-team him with Allen and KG on the floor, and he’ll be fresher down the stretch because of the help.
The Cs do need some bench help, and Kendrick Perkins is a stiff , so they need a center. Preferrably a rebounder/defender type. But I do like Tony Allen, though between injuries and legal issues he can’t stay on the court. You may even see Leon Powe get some of Gomes minutes because they’ll just need a rebounder and physical presence, which is his strength. Don’t forget, Boston also has two pretty highly regarded rookies in Big Baby and Gabe Pruitt out of USC. They still have some young players who can grow around the Big Three.
I like Jefferson playing with Randy Foye and Corey Brewer and Craig Smith.
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They also have Rashad McCants (talented but a head case), Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, rookie Chris Richard out of Florida and even Sebastian. That’s a lot of young, promising pieces to either develop or move. They have Ricky Davis, Juwan Howard and Trenton Hassel for some semblance of a veteran presence. They aren’t going to win the Northwest Division, but their future looks promising.
Still, Boston got the better end of the deal. They’re going to win right away, where as Minnesota just has potential at this point. Disagree?

Marcus Thompson

  • T-Bone

    I think both teams won but I give the edge to the Celtics. Who would’ve believed you if you said the Celtics would get KG and Ray Allen without having to part with Paul Pierce? You’d be called a drunk. Bean town is no longer a one sport team. Now they need to bring Larry Bird and Robert Parish back to the locker room and remind the team of what they can become….Eastern Conference Champions. Come on now, The Warriors are bringing the pain!

  • JustPuked

    Boston absolutely won.

    Is there any goal more important that winning and NBA championship? Sure, maybe the owners will go with making money hand-over-fist, but we’re not in that club, we’re just fans here. For us, the goal is to win it all.

    Boston now has as good a chance as any team in the Eastern Conference to win an NBA championship in the next three years and possibly, with some luck, even longer.

    Minnesota…not so much. The promise of rebuilding is acknowledgement from the current management that they were unable to put together a winning team and have opted to “invest” in younger and future (draft picks) stocks. Would you bet the farm that Taylor and McHale are going to get it right over the next few years? Me neither.

    Jefferson is a stud low post scorer in the making, but he’s a Zach Randolph type. A definite plus, but not a defensive presence nor an all star. Close…but not quite. Veterans Davis, Howard and Trenton Hassel aren’t exactly that high on the intimidation ladder either. They’ll work for now, but you aren’t building a power house using them as the foundation.

    Foye and Brewer have more of the winner’s attitude and eventually should make the Timberwolves a tough opponent. Eventually as in maybe. In a well rounded team, Green is the perfect sixth man at the wing. Athletic enough to dominate the opposing teams bench, but he doesn’t have the basketball IQ to be a long term starter. Gnomes and Smith should be solid contributors off the bench eventually as well. Overall the T-wolves are a team that MIGHT be tough, but I just don’t see them challenging for a playoff spot anytime soon.

    So the real hope is the high draft picks they picked up and that they’ll inevitably “fail” into. Just ask a fan in Boston what is was like hoping for a big splash in the draft over the last twelve years. The odds don’t favor draft picks as a sure thing. Not to mention, all of this doesn’t exactly sell out arenas. The big time loser is Taylor and the Timberwolves fans.

    Boston on the other hand is sitting pretty. Like you mentioned, Rondo is an underrated talent that will blossom with the three headed all-star roster. Perkins, while a stiff, will be more than enough at center in the Leastern Conference. Besides, with his girth, all he has to do is put a body on guys. He’ll now have KG coming over on the weak side. His job just got a lot easier.

    All Ainge has to do now is built a bench to add to the young guys he already has. Despite the weather and legendary frosty “racial” attitude of the city, Boston just became a top choice for the remaining free agents. Ainge should be able to pick up a PF like PJ Brown or Chris Webber, a back up point like Brevin Knight, Charlie Bell or Hudson and possibly a wing like Eddie Jones, Posey or Pietrus and viola, instant Championship Contender. Guys like PJ are going to jump at the chance to be on a winner with a slugger’s chance at a championship.

    As an added bonus, the Celtics just became relevant again. Count of seeing hoards of old dusty Celtics gear getting put back into rotation. Old guys everywhere will be flaunting their Celtic pride and talking trash about their prospects for championship # 17. Even worse will be the inexplicable explosion of new school Celtics fans sporting newly minted Garnett and Allen jerseys like black republicans at a rally for Bush. Further rubbing it in, the Celtics just became instant sell outs every time they go on the road. Despite the luxury tax hit, Owner Wycliffe Grousbeck will be swimming in the green.

    Finally, I do acknowledge that championship basketball teams usually need at least a year to get their act together. I don’t think Boston is the exception, but they’re already at minimum the fourth best team in the East and they haven’t even filled out their bench yet. I guess we’ll have to see if they can pull off the ultimate confirmation by winning an NBA title (god, I hope not, I still HATE Boston). The only way the Timberwolves “win” this trade is if some time over the next ten years they go farther in the playoff toward a championship than Boston does with the talent and/or picks they both got from this trade. Anyone care to bet a month’s paycheck on that bet? I didn’t think so.

    Boston wins this one by a landslide.

  • commish

    It is hard to argue with or add to the very eloquent arguments presented by “justpuked”. However, one additional factor in Boston’s favor is this trade instantaneously erases so many past errors and mistakes. It is amazing to see how all of a sudden Boston moves from the worst team to the best team in the Atlantic Division and perhaps the Easter Conference. It is almost that the Bean Town Celtics can go forth and sin no more, barring major injuries and such.

  • dareedle

    I don’t see value in a potential all-star that will want a monster contract (Al Jefferson) and a bunch of spare change for one of the top 5 bigs in the league. Mostly importantly the NBA won, because our premier franchises are getting better, and from a marketing demographic perspective it kills the league to have a bad Boston, Knick, Bulls and Faker franchise … while franchise bigs squander careers in the oblivion of San Antonio and Minny. Notice how no one is talking about the crooked refs now. The NBA next big move is moving Yi to Sacramento or some other major Asian market. Whether we like it or not, Stern has degraded the league from X’s and O’s to its all about the marketing.

  • EJ

    Celtics win. Jefferson, Green, and Telfair will jet from T’Wolves at the end of their contracts.

  • EJ

    BLOG QUESTION:

    Marcus, I can’t help but wonder what would’ve been if we had kept the nucleus of the 01-02 Warriors squad intact. Arenas, Hughes, Jamison, Richardson. Granted, NBA history would have to be altered severely, but can you imagine those four playing under Nellie??

  • JustPuked

    Thanks for the kind words commish. You’re right, it’s like a complete do over. No more talk about Bias or Lewis. No more whiffs in the draft, no more Mudville for Bean Town. Pitino never happened. Duncan & Oden who? Garnett, Pierce, Allen. It’s party time in Celtic land. Stern must be breathing a sigh of relief that refgate has already been pushed to the back pages…

  • Anonymous

    EJ
    That core would’ve gotten killed on the boards and allowed 120 points a game and shot 32 percent from 3-point range. Nellie would quit in a heartbeat if those were his four best players

  • EJ

    Not so sure about that, Anonymous. We get killed on the boards anyway and still shoot in the low 30′s for three (they’re volume shooters) and still allow about 120 per (ok 105, but i’m exaggerating). I think that would’ve been some exciting BASKETBALL. Not necessarily winning basketball, but sure as hell exciting.

  • TPG

    The Winner – Timberwolves!

    Boston is an ACL, a broken ankle, or a sore foot away from this becoming the worst trade in Celtic history. The NBA season is so long, that players get tired; and tired players get injured. Just think about how many key NBA players went down with injuries last year alone. And with so much of the salary cap invested in Boston’s Big 3, a major injury to any one of these players ruins Boston’s chances for the better part of a decade. In addition, unlike the other NBA teams with 3 all-stars, the Celtics are missing an all-star who happens to be a point guard. Rajon Rondo? He will easily find himself sitting on the bench with foul trouble when he matches up against the likes of Jason Kidd, Chauncey Billups, or Gilbert Arenas etc. The Celtics now, are essentially the Suns without Nash, the Spurs without Parker, and the Warriors without Baron – except they can’t even afford competent bench players. The game essentially becomes 5 on 3. And the last time KG was a member of a ‘Big 3’ was the 03-04 season with the T’Wolves: Sam Cassell 16.6 PPG, Latrell Sprewell 19.9 PPG, and Kevin Garnett 24.3 PPG. That team was bounced out of the playoffs by the Lakers; they had a competent backup point guard in Troy Hudson and were far deeper as a team than the Celtics are now.

    And now, Minnesota. The Western Conference is so deep that the T’Wolves will fortunately/unfortunately pile up the losses and be back in the lottery for the next few years. From there, they can easily build around their core with their own picks and the 1st round picks they received from Boston. They will also be far below the salary cap and can later add the veteran experience their young core will be lacking. You can’t say that about Boston; no 1st round picks, no salary cap space to afford 1st round picks, much less a veteran free agent. The T’Wolves in 2 years could look like PG – Foye, Telfair; SG – 1st Rnd Pick, Green, McCants; SF – Brewer, Gomes; PF – Jefferson, 1st Rnd Pick, C – 1st Rnd Pick, Blount; another 1st Rnd Pick, at least two 2nd Rnd Picks, and plenty of cap space.

    If I were the owner of the T’Wolves, my next moves would be: 1. Trade Kevin McHale to the Celtics for some more future draft picks and 2. Bring in Don Nelson as GM and give him free reign. They’ll have a championship in 3-4 years and who knows how many after that.