Skip to main content

2004 low-scoring, shallow-depth Pistons won the Title - Can the 2020 Celtics do it?

Many NBA analysts feel that the current Celtics squad lacks the depth to be a legitimate Championship contender. They may be correct, but a look at two NBA Champions, the 2004 Pistons and 2008 Celtics, may add some interesting comparisons.


The 2004 Detroit Piston featured Chauncey Billups (6'3"), Rip Hamilton (6'7"), Tayshaun prince (6'9"), Ben Wallace (6'9") and Rasheed Wallace (6'11"). In the Finals match-up, Detroit faced the heavily-favored Los Angeles Lakers led by Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Despite being underdogs, the Pistons won the series in five games.

The Pistons basically went 8-deep in the Finals with players logging double-digit minutes. The five starters all averaged double-digits in points, going from Prince's 10.0 PPG to Hamilton's 21.4 PPG. Beyond the top-8 players, no Piston supplied significant contributions. The five starters averaged only 77.0 points per game, and the three primary bench guys contributed 11.2 points/game. But the players were tough defensively, and that won the series for them. How good were they defensively in the 2004 post-season (per Wikipedia):

The 2004 Pistons had a Defensive Rating of 92.0 in the Playoffs.

This is the lowest Defensive Rating any team has had in a Post-1st Round Playoff run in the 3-point era (1980–present)

The composition of the Champion 2008 Boston Celtics was different. That team went 10-deep, with 6'11" Kevin Garnett, 6'7" Paul Pierce, 6'1" Rajon Rondo, 6'5" Ray Allen and 6'8" James Posey leading the way. Boston took the series away from the Lakers in six games. Los Angeles was led by Kobe Bryant and Paul Gasol. Despite only averaging 8.9 minutes per game, Leon Powe contributed 6.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG, so I included him in the 10-man rotation.


Now we fast-forward to 2020 and the current Celtics Squad. Brad Stevens is still fiddling with his lineups, attempting to fabricate a mix of starters and back-ups that can go far in the post-season. When healthy, the starters have generally been Daniel Theis, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward, with Marcus Smart the main guy off the bench. Enes Kanter, Semi Ojeleye and Grant Williams have all logged time as substitutes.

It is obvious that this current crew will not have the depth of the 2008 group. Pierce and Company had P. J. Brown, Eddie House, Kendrick Perkins, Sam Cassell and Powe as back-ups. They were solid one-through-ten. Those five subs contributed 26 points per game in the Finals. Particularly if Kanter doesn't see a lot of time on the floor, that won't be happening this post-season for Boston.

The five starters for Boston are currently averaging 91.9 points/game, 14.9 points more than that Pistons squad put up in the Finals. And they are sound defensively, currently ranked fourth in the League at 105.9 points-allowed per game. The positive factors for the playoffs for Boston are that they are a very good defensive team, and they have four starters that can score a lot of points. The downside right now is the shallow bench. Brad Stevens seems focused on getting his crew healthy, but banking on a full contingent for the postseason is a risky proposition.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel, @CausewayStreet and Facebook









Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sign the Petition! Let's honor Tommy Heinsohn

  No longtime Celtics fan can watch games this year without a somewhat heavy heart. For the last 50 plus years, we have been blessed as a franchise to have Tommy Heinsohn, Mr. Celtic himself, as a part of the organization. Whether it be as a player, coach, or commentator, Tommy has been an instrumental figure for the green, and his presence is missed on every broadcast. Nobody embodied what it meant to be a Celtic more than Tommy, and I know I miss his energy and ferocity every time Scal claims the refs "made the right call" against the Cs. While Tommy obviously belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Celtics, he is often overlooked in his place among the greats of NBA history. Looking back upon his life, one would be hard pressed to find someone with a bigger impact on NBA basketball than Mr. Celtic. For those who are unfamiliar, let's do a quick review. Tommy is one of 2 people to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as both a player and coach (the other being the indomitable Len

We may be glad Danny Ainge rolled the dice on Theis

Frankly, I was not sure if Danny Ainge would ink Daniel Theis to a new deal, but it looks like a good move. Theis is signed for two years at a total of $10 million, with the second year non-guaranteed. With the departure of big men Al Horford and Aron Baynes, rolling the dice on Theis could work very well. In his first season in Boston, Daniel just kept improving. For the pre-All-Star stretch, he averaged 14.5 minutes/Game, 5.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG while shooting 52% on field goals and 30% on treys. Post-All-Star his minutes increased to 18.4 per game, his points to 7.8/game and his boards to 5.3/game. And he shot 68% on field goals and 40% on 3-pointers. Then a meniscus tear shut him down. His minutes and production took a hit last season, in part most likely due to lagging recovery from the injury. Right now he is playing on German's entry in the FIBA World Cup. In a game versus The Czech Rebublic, he scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds, passed off for three assists and blocked tw

What Jeff Teague can bring to the Celtics offense

Bringing in Jeff Teague as some guard depth this year could end up being a monumental move for this year's Celtics team. Teague is a well respected veteran in the league, and having gone to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2015 with the Atlanta Hawks, knows what it takes to win tough games. Here's a brief look at why I think Jeff will be a great fit with the C's Every Celtics fan loves Marcus Smart , due to everything he brings to the table, from the defensive intensity to scoring outbursts. For all the good things he does, Marcus excels off ball, and can have his effectiveness diminished when he is forced to be a primary ball handler. He is often pigeon-holed into that role with the second unit (or when Kemba is out), and Teague's addition will hopefully allow him to play more off-ball and maximize his abilities.  At the deadline last year, Teague was traded to the Atlanta Hawks to play alongside Trae Young. His usage rate and effectiveness dipped considerably, as he