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Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Jermaine O'Neal; are these the NBA All-Star teams between 2002 and 2007?
No, it's the Boston Celtics current roster in 2010.
Being that Garnett is 34, Shaq is 38, Allen is 35, Pierce is 33 and Jermaine is an old 31, none of them are able to perform at the superhuman levels that they did when they were young superstars. As presently constructed, the five of them might have a hard time matching up with the youth filled supertrio in Miami of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
But the fight isn't over yet. There are still two more pieces to be signed left on the free agent market; Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady.
Do they sound familiar to you?
Maybe it's the 18 All-Star appearances or the six scoring titles that stand out. Or the five appearances on the All-NBA first team. Whatever it is, they would provide a big boost to the Celtics.
Cancer, egos and selfishness may run through your mind when thinking of these players, but they would be anything but that on the Celtics. Being that there are already five over-the-hill superstars on the Celtics, everyone is going to have to sacrifice sufficiently. No one is going to be putting up big statistics or averaging big minutes. While the 35-year-old Iverson or the 31-year-old McGrady wouldn't play second fiddle on a team that is filled with youngsters, perhaps they would on a team with players they were used to playing with on the All-Star teams of the past.
Could you imagine Pierce, Allen, Garnett, Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo in the starting lineup with Iverson, McGrady, Jermaine O'Neal and Shaq coming in as a second unit? How would anyone be able to compete?
Cleveland, Miami, New York and Philadelphia tried giving all these players of the proposed second unit big minutes last year on their teams. It didn't work out so well, leaving all of them to scramble for teams. While their popularity is still sky high, their skills have diminished. But in a limited bench role of only 15-20 minutes, all of these players could play at a very high level. They would have fresh legs coming off the bench with Iverson and McGrady providing lethal bench scoring with Shaq and Jermaine clogging up the middle. This team of superstars would be scary and perhaps not even Miami would be able to compete with all these former superstars.
No longer would the Celtics have to worry about Allen having an 0-for-13 performance in the NBA Finals, Garnett getting tired out or worrying who is going to have to make that big shot as the final moments of Game 7 are dwindling down. As the importance of any one player goes down, the significance of an all-for-one effort rises. Iverson, McGrady, Allen and Pierce are all accustomed to making huge shots and when one of them is unable to do so in certain moments, one of the others can.
This plan maybe be far-fetched, but it's fool proof. If these players aren't meshing, McGrady and Iverson could simply just be let go. Nate Robinson and Glen Davis are already on the bench, providing a lot of youth for them. But that wouldn't seem to be a problem, because if anyone could contain all these egos, it's head coach Doc Rivers and a history as legendary as Boston's.
If this plan ever did come together, Rondo could be the 8th man to this equation and as a young All-Star and the best player on the Celtics, he could be looking at 12-13 assists per game with this roster.