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Remember That the Lockout Is Not All Terrible

 

Many pundits, including CBA Rain Man Larry Coon, anticipate that this summer’s lockout will extend into the season about as long as the 1999 one did: until January/early February. This would limit the season to about 50 games.

Nobody is excited about this. It’s horrible. What will we do Christmas Day, for instance? Talk to our families??? Best not to even think about it.

But if we’re to accept the reality of a lockout, is it okay to recognize that the Celtics stand to benefit more than possibly any other team?

The propensity of the C’s to get off to hot starts is extremely well-known. Over the last four seasons, they’ve reliably jumped out of the gate as the Eastern Conference’s best team, only to watch their hold on the top seed dwindle in the season’s final weeks. This pattern holds because the Celtics are one of the league’s oldest teams, and their bodies wear out as the year goes on and they also get super bored.

But how tired/bored could they be in just fifty games? Here’s a look at how these Celtics have historically performed in that timeframe:

2007-2008: 41-9
2008-2009: 41-9
2009-2010: 32-18
2010-2011: 38-12

In three out of four of those seasons, the Celtics were cozily in first place in the Eastern Conference at the cutoff point. The exception, of course, was 2009-2010, when the Celtics faded earlier than usual and lost 13 of 22 games after starting 23-5. That skid put them in third place in the East, one game behind the Magic, at the 50-game mark.

But a lockout wouldn’t just represent a shorter season: it would also come with a longer offseason and, in all likelihood, a much shorter preseason. That preseason abbreviation isn’t great news for the C’s, who are going to be patronizing the Dollar Store to fill out their bench and could use some time to acquaint new players with the system.

But the extra rest for the starters? That could be huge. Sure, they’ll be a couple months older in January than they would be in October, but their creaky bonebags will benefit from the extra time allowed to recover from this exhausting season they just endured.

The Celtics core, in what will almost certainly be their final year together, will likely be better rested next season than in any of the previous four. So here’s the question: do you add a couple helpful pieces from this year’s free-agent market to help them make a run, even at the potential cost of taking a flier on a major FA signing a year from now?

I’m not positive where I stand on this. I’m definitely not sold on mortgaging this year to leave the roster entirely free to sign a star later on. We’ve seen that Paul, Howard, and Williams aren’t enough to win championships on their own, especially with mediocre pieces around them. But there isn’t that much desirable talent available, and the pieces the Celtics could really use will probably cost a lot more than their actual value.

So let’s focus on spreading the good news: when the Celtics make the playoffs next year, they’ll probably have 32 more games in the tank than they did this year.

  • wharpua

    after that lockout in '99, didn't they play their remaining games at a ridiculously accelerated pace, to make up for lost time? I thought I heard something about a fringe player playing 8 games on a 10-day contract during that season

    while that was probably a worst case scenario, that sounds like a bad scenario for the Celts. Any benefit they'd reap from fewer games would be lost by fewer days of rest as the season frantically played to a close, right?

    • James

      Yes which renders an analysis of 50 game records in past seasons totally useless. They played 4 games a week as opposed to the normal 3 a week. This was discussed on one of Bill Simmons podcasts a few weeks ago. One team signed somebody to a 10 day contract…and he played 8 games for them in those 10 days.

  • James Patrick

    yeah, i dunno. want the satisfaction o competing and finishing a full season. i don't want asterisk title.

    • Jeremy

      asterisks titles never show up on a banner or a trophy. I'll take it if it means watching a game where the team can actually be competitive.

      • James Patrick

        Nah Jeremy. Then we'd be no better than the Fakers who try and claim those 5 titles in Minneapolis! lol

        • CsFanInArkansas

          Winning a title at the end of a 50 game season is WAY different than another team half-way across the country winning 5 titles way back in the day, the franchise moves to your city and you count those previous titles as your own because the team name stays the same.

          • Batman

            Ewing wasn't on the 99' Knicks :)

          • CsFanInArkansas

            Yes, he was definitely on the '99 Knicks. He averaged 17 and 10 (while battling injuries) during the regular season and 13 and 8 in the playoffs.
            He couldn't play in the Finals, but he was instumental in the Knicks even getting there as the 8 seed. Without Ewing and an effective LJ (knee injury), they were no match for the twin towers of San An…
            Ewing didn't leave NY until the '01 season.

          • Batman

            whoops my apologies

          • James Patrick

            The point is, say it was a 50 game season. All we're gonna have to hear about is how the Celtics won because they didn't have to play a full season. I'd rather win a regular season like real champs.

          • CsFanInArkansas

            We'd all rather get to watch our boys in green play the full season and hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy at the end of the playoffs…but we can't control the lockouts.

            Even if a lockout happens, the playing field is still level – all the teams will have the same amount of time to prepare for the season, the same number of games, similar schedules and the same opportunity to compete for a banner.

            When you have those things, complaints like "the Cs only won because the old guys didn't have to play a full season…" don't hold any water.

            I, for one, would gladly welcome other people's gripes about "why we really won" another title next year…because that would mean banner 18 is hanging in TD Garden.

  • lakershater13

    I dont want a lockout. I get excited about basketball in October. I would hate to wait until January.

    So the draft is about a month away. Who likes the idea of Jeremy Tyler if we can trade up in the second round? Maybe buy a pick. 6'11 260lb 19 year old project to let KG put through boot camp. Sounds good to me. Very active and athletic for a guy 6'11.

  • skeeds

    One word only. backtobacktobacks.

  • Sweeney

    This is why the C's will make a deep run into the playoffs. It is the perfect storm for this aging C's team. BTW, the NBA needs a lockout. Something has to be done about these salaries that handcuff a team. Did you see what Rashard Lewis made this year? 11.7 pts, 5 rebounds and 20 MILLION. He will make $23 MILLION ins 2012-2013…that is HO – RIBBLE.

  • notrickrobey

    shortened season +accelerated schedule= more SEGABABAS
    it is the recovery time that has reduced the Big Three's effectiveness, not the length of the season.
    give us a healthy Big, and I like our chances in a full length regular season.

    • CsFanInArkansas

      or…shortened season + accelerated schedule = THIGABABABAS.

      pronounced THEEE-gah-BAH-bah-bahz

      • notrickrobey

        nice. that is next level.

  • Morpheus

    I disagree. Every accomplishment the New Orleans Hornets makes, does not get credited to Charlotte, does it? Or vice versa.

    • Phoured

      Thats cause another team moved to charlotte . And also new orleans hasnt done anything since.

  • Morpheus

    Ugh this topic is making me sick. We're grasping at straws now.

    It's like trying to find multiple ways to be conservative with your gas by driving your car a certain way, or taking shorter, particular routes to get somewhere, because you're strapped financially and your car's too old and you fear it'll break down on you at any moment.

    So speaking of comparisons/analogies, what car do you think Miami would be. A Ferarri, Lambo, Herbie.

    As advantageous as the lockout may be to the Cs, don't y'all think it'll be just as, if not, even more advantageous to younger teams like Miami, Chicago?

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  • CsFanInArkansas

    Dude – the Minnesota version of the Lakers is certainly entitled to those 5 titles. The LA franchise (new ownership, new fan base, new city, new state, new region of the country) isn't ENTITLED to those 5 titles won up north.

    That whole argument just sounds like a really pathetic attempt to pad statistics…

    Hell, the LA Lakers might someday pass the Boston Celtics for all time NBA titles, but that's like 7 titles from where the LA Lakers are now…

    • Morpheus

      "That whole argument just sounds like a really pathetic attempt to pad statistics… "

      Huh. Lost me.

  • http://mugstats.com Shannon Bolton

    Aha, did you fellas see the NBA Lockout commercial, hilarious! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51rdAN0Y2xI

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