Something’s in the Air

By Jeff Twiss
Celtics.com
August 2, 2006

There is a buzz, a constant chatter and some curiosity in the air surrounding the 2006-2007 Boston Celtics. Executive Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge and his staff have analyzed, tweaked and bolstered the team since the 2005-06 season ended in mid-April. Is it Celtics Mystique?

Returning veterans include Captain Paul Pierce, Wally Szczerbiak, Brian Scalabrine, Kendrick Perkins, Delonte West, Al Jefferson, Tony Allen, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green and Dwayne Jones. They're joined, thanks to the NBA Draft, trades and free agent signings, by Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, Rajon Rondo, Allan Ray, Leon Powe and Kevin Pittsnogle. Veteran forward Brian Grant, acquired on Draft Night from the Phoenix Suns, is also on the Green and White roster for the upcoming campaign.

The offseason in the NBA is a time for reflecting back on the previous year as well as looking ahead, and several hoop experts have commented that, "the Celtics are so close..."

The 2006-07 Celtics are young in age and experience, with only Pierce, Szczerbiak, and Ratliff being able to boast of having played in the NBA more than seven years. Add Scalabrine to that list and those are the players who have garnered any meaningful playoff experience. But, this is a new season and Head Coach Doc Rivers and his staff will have the team off and running, as evident by the spirited Toshiba Vegas Summer League play and the daily trips to the gym by the players during the hot summer months to repeatedly work on their games and to work on what the coaches gave them for ‘homework’.

Telfair ran the offense to perfection in the summer league games in Las Vegas. Rondo could one of the quickest players to ever wear a Celtics uniform; he gives a whole new meaning to "starting and stopping on a dime." Ray, who shockingly was not selected in the 2006 NBA Draft, is out to prove to everyone that they made a mistake. He's become the Celtics' newest sharpshooter who can score at will and be a real "bulldog" on defense, sticking his nose in on seemingly every play.

Leon Powe is a young man who has faced much adversity in his life. Many people in his shoes would have cashed it in long ago...but not Leon. He simply loves to play the game, rebound and help his team win any way he can. The 6'11" Pittsnogle will confuse people. The first impression is, "a low post player who gets a couple of rebounds and blocks a shot or two". But he can score, especially from long range, as evident by his 40%-plus shooting from beyond the three-point arc at West Virginia University. And Ratliff? He adds the needed wisdom and maturity of a man who has been the NBA trenches over the last ten years.

A sizzle, a buzz, people are talking Celtics and what better way to test all that with a season-opening game at the TD Banknorth Garden on Wednesday, November 1st against...the Hornets!