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Ray’s in shape, Rasheed fitting in, Northwest Previews

A couple of noteworthy pieces from around the net to start off the workweek.

First we have Dan Duggan’s piece from The Herald talking about exactly how in shape Ray Allen is entering this season. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Wait you have? Damn. Still, it’s fun to hear Ray talk about it:

“I’m never out of shape, so I don’t really have to get back in shape,” Allen said. “But even getting quicker ahead of the game so when I came in here it was like I could just start getting stronger now and just focus on the small little things I needed to do to get back into basketball shape.”

Ray once again, deflected any scapegoating on his health for contributing to his poor performance and the C’s exit against the Magic last May:

“I wasn’t beat up,” Allen said. “I was ready to go another (playoff) series. I think people wanted to assume that we were beat up. They wanted to assume that me and Paul (Pierce) were beat up because we played so many minutes throughout the year, but he and I, we felt great.”

It’s articles like these that strengthen my stand in wanting to bring back the 34 year old Allen for another year or two, despite his contract expiring after this season. The guy is a workout machine and is coming off one of the best shooting seasons of his career in 10 plus years. This all coming without Kevin Garnett and a host of other injuries for 1/3 of the season that increased the pressure on him to produce offensively.

Sure he may (ok probably will) take a couple steps back in the upcoming seasons but he is not going to fall off a cliff. With no cap room in sight for the next two years, the Celtics are better off re-signing him at reasonable money than trying to find some one at mid level to replace his production. That person won’t be out there at mid level money. I’ll take my chances with Ray and try to use that money to improve the team elsewhere.

Rasheed Wallace unsurprisingly is saying all the right things so far in Steve Bulpett’s piece about fitting in with the team and regaining focus for the game in a new environment:

“I think with a player like that, they need energy around them,” coach Doc Rivers said. “They need a reason to really play, and I think our group gives him that.

“He picked the right place for him – and obviously for us. I do think it’s a terrific fit.”

Wallace concurs.

“At this point in my career, yeah,” he said. “I want to win, and this is a great place for that. We’ve got a lot of young, hungry guys and great veterans, and this group has already won a championship. They know what it takes, and they want to go back.”

On paper, Wallace in Boston should be a match made in heaven. The revitalization has not exactly started yet, given Wallace’s shoddy preseason stats. Then again I deserve to be yelled at for even seriously considering a guy’s preseason performance, when he wasn’t even motivated enough during regular season games last year in Detroit. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to seeing a regular season game for Rasheed more than anyone else in green to see exactly how much Wallace’s game has declined.

Finally we have a fresh batch of NBA previews from around the blogsphere, courtesy of Jeff Clark over at CelticsBlog. Be sure to check these out.

Denver Nuggets  – Denver Stiffs | The Nugg Doctor

Minnesota TimberwolvesCanis Hoopus | Empty the Bench | TWolvesBlog

Oklahoma City ThunderBlue Blitz | Daily Thunder

Portland Trail Blazers Blazersedge | A Stern Warning | The Rip City Project | Blaze of Love | BustaBucket | Trail Post

Utah JazzSLC Dunk | True Blue Jazz