Post-game Reactions

On the morning after A. Sherrod Blakely broke the news that Shaquille O’Neal signed with the Celtics, I was listening to 98.5 The Sports Hub morning show, Toucher and Rich, on my way to work.  While sifting through Fred Toucher’s endless complaints about taxes and government and Bret Favre and whatever else is sticking in his craw at that moment, I caught an interesting rhetorical question: Can you imagine if this was 2001?

If you’re a “what if” guy and a Celtics fan like I am, then you love this question.  What if this were 2001 and the same cast of characters were on this Celtics squad.  Fred Toucher posed this question to no one in particular so I pretended it was posed to me and decided to find out what this Celtics team would look like if the year was 2001.

I initially wanted to use the same extrapolative math John Hollinger used to estimate how many games this new-look Miami Heat team would win this season but unfortunately he didn’t explicitly state how he arrived at his conclusions.  I am not a math guy- hell, I’m not even a stats guy- so I decided to simply look at every one’s player efficiency ratings and draw meaningless, and probably merit-less, conclusions.

Behold, your 2001 Boston Celtics:

Ray Allen         22.9
Kevin Garnett         23.9
Paul Pierce         22.3
Rasheed Wallace     20.9
Shaquille O’Neal     30.2
Jermaine O’Neal     17.5

That right there is a diesel team.  You will also notice some glaring omissions.  No Rajon Rondo, no Marquis Daniels, no Nate Robinson, no Glen Davis…the list goes on.  These guys, of course, were not in the league in 2001 (and in Rondo’s case, not old enough to drive).  I thought about replacing these with veteran minimum type guys but I decided it wouldn’t really affect the end-game.

So what is the end-game?  To compare this team to other current teams that would have been great in 2001.  Here are just a few teams I researched:

2001 Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant         24.5
Paul Gasol         19.5
Lamar Odom         18.9
Ron Artest         13.6
Derek Fisher        14.0
Theo Ratliff         16.3

2001 San Antonio Spurs

Tim Duncan        23.8
Tony Parker        11.7
Antonio McDyess    22.0
Richard Jefferson    13.4

2001 Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki        22.8
Jason Terry        17.3
Tyson Chandler    13.0
Jason Kidd        19.4
Shawn Marion        21.0
Brendan Haywood    13.7
Tim Thomas        16.4

The Celtics are far and away the best team (as in, have the best PER) but the Dallas Mavericks are not that far behind and have more options.

Some more food for thought: Tracy McGrady and Michael Finley will likely be added to a roster this season.  What were their additions mean to the 2001 teams?

Michael Finley 18.2
Tracy McGrady 24.9

The answer is “a lot”.

Have I missed any other team?

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  • Devon

    Brendan… wow… just wow…

  • matt

    wast-of-time give me something a little less fantasy !

  • Chris O.

    This is a really cool concept. However PER does not stay the same when you add a bunch of players on the same team. Good players are going to take away other good players PER’s. This is because they will eat up stats and most importantly the usage % included in Hollingers formula. Expect the MIA heat players PERs and stats to drop this season. Lebron won’t average a 29 7.5 7.5 this season. Probably something like a 23 7 6. Expect his 31 PER to be somewhere around 25 or 26. You cannot add the two top PER guys from last year and have them get the same PERs (Lebron 31.19, Wade 28.10). An example of this is the big three. Ray’s PER from 07 was 21.7 and went to 16.6. Pierce’s PER from 07 was 21.73 and went to 19.85. KG’s PER from 07 was 24.2 and went to 25.42. As you can see only KG went up and only slightly. As the other players became lower options/got fewer opportunities their numbers (PER and stats) declined. KG her is such a small increase and is really an outlier. Overall big 3 PER in 07 67.63, in 08 61.87.

  • dachone

    keep dreaming.

  • Celtics3417

    boring, I want to hear about who is going to start and if rondo is going to have a person to give the ball to down low in Shaq or if KG and JO are going to set a double pick on top like they did in the finals with sheed and kg

  • Roberto

    There’s a great website known as WhatIfSports. You are given the chance to create your own dream team of players and simulate games where they play other teams either real or from your creation. http://www.whatifsports.com

  • Hahaha its alright Brendan, when Shaq signed with the team, I immediately thought of the same thing. Even if it was 2003 KG would be rippin down 14 boards and Ray scorin 26 a game……Yummy.

  • Richie

    A complete waste of an article, lets get back to the 2010 celtics and their last pick for a shooting guard (hopefully rudy?!), and the deal with Wallace and retiring?????

  • Brendan Jackson
  • Chris O.

    Don’t worry Brendan I appreciate your quirky pieces that are just something to throw out there. They are good reading and enjoyable….plus it gives me that little hit of Celtics while I continue my summer withdrawal.

  • Seriously, people, it’s Friday in August. Chill.

  • thanks for the EA live graphic of KG!
    …and WHAT is with the stress level?
    everyone needs to calm down. write your own damn column.

  • willybeamin

    are people really complaining about this?

    first of all this is a blog, not a news site, not everything is going to be BREAKING NEWS. If Brendan wants to write this piece because he enjoys it, he is more than entitled. at least he’s not telling us what he had for breakfast.

    2nd of all this is free… don’t read it if you don’t want to

    3rd, how isn’t this something worth thinking about on August 6th? roughly 2.5 months until the start of the season?

    It’s also a Friday… loosen up people.

  • jp

    I thought of this exact question when I heard we signed shaq. I think its fun to think about, esp given where the real 2001 celtics were

  • Josh A

    @Zach, we just need some real articles

  • For the overall chemistry and the players skills Shaq should start. He will probably paly less minutes and also probably won’t be in the last minutes of the games but most of Shaq’s minutes should be beside KG and the starters.
    If Jermaine is smart he should really like the reserve roll, as his numbers and performance in general should look better again reserves or tired starters. He might play some PF too.

  • LStrike

    @Josh A, good luck finding that in August unless you don’t mind reading repeated drivel that every site reports.

    I appreciate the creativity.

  • Tom W

    my only problem with this scenario…if it was 2001, Rondo would be what, 14? haha. other than that, sign me up!

  • Johnny

    this is very funny brendan. i wouldn’y mind this 2001 squad.

    @matt and @josh a- loosen up.

  • The good article, looked only then had found for a long time

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