A couple years ago when the Celtics and Lakers met in the Finals I was rooting for LA, that had more to do with a stupid bar bet with a friend than me actually caring about who one. This year it is different. At the time the Bucks were irrelevant with no possibility in sight that the losing would end. Now, the Bucks are coming off a surprising season, one in which we actually do have some similarities with one of the teams in the Finals, the Celtics.
It is these similarities that can give us Bucks fans some hope that not only future playoff appearances are in store, but if some good/great moves are made they can have a shot at it all.
The Celtics have made it to this point due to their defense, they smothered three of the games best players, Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, and Dwight Howard. They have played the most impressive team defense during this playoff run in several years. Due to the emergence of Rondo and the minutes he now gets at crunch-time I would argue this version of the Celtic defense is better than the team that won it all two years ago.
The Bucks may not be quite as good as the Celtics but the drastic progress made in two years under Scott Skiles has to leave Buck fans highly optimistic that this area will only get better. Jennings will get better, Bogut is already a top interior defender, Mbah ah Moute is a defensive stopper. You would have to think that any player added to the mix from this point forward will have to be able to play some D before even being considered.
This is one area I think the Bucks can close the gap or even pass the Celtics in the next year or so.
Pierce, Allen and Garnett may all get into the Hall of Fame, but none of the three is an All-League player at this point. Rondo is the best player on this Celtic team at this point and if we compared Rondo’s first few years to Jennings rookie year I think I have a reason to be optimistic as to where this may end up.
If you were to compare the rosters, including Salmons for now, the top players would line up like this:
You could argue Bogut may even be ahead of Pierce at this point, just as much as you could argue Allen would be ahead of Salmons or Jennings. My point is that I think it is that close when taking the top three off of each team and comparing them.
Where the Bucks are really lacking is the next batch. The next group of players when combining the teams would be all Celtics for at least four five players. This is where I am very optimistic about the Bucks future, in today’s NBA smart GMs can fairly easily build depth since there are so many incompetent GMs out there. John Hammond had a great off-season last year with virtually no flexibility, what will he do next summer when Redd and Gadzuric come off the books?
I do not see any comparisons that work out with the Lakers.
- Kobe is an elite player, top 3.
- Phil Jackson is the highest paid coach in the league, not something a small market team can afford to have.
- The Lakers play good D due to incredible height, not necessarily guts and effort.
- The Lakers sixth man, Odom, would likely be the second highest paid player on the Bucks.
- The Lakers weakest position is Point Guard, one of the now strengths of the Bucks.
Due to similarities either imagined or real I will be rooting for the Celtics. Go Celtics, Beat LA!
Fellow Bucks fans should join me.