Celtics' Big Three blueprint doesn't work for all teams

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Celtics' Big Three blueprint doesn't work for all teams

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

NEW YORK When the Boston Celtics added Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to a roster that featured Paul Pierce back in 2007, no one knew for sure how this Big Three unit would mesh.

During the season, they dominated. And while they had their share of ups and downs in the playoffs that season, the end result - Banner 17 - proved that you could indeed mesh three great talents to form one great team.

Well, that blueprint has been copied in Miami and most recently, here in New York.

So far?

Let's just say things haven't quite worked out the way most anticipated.

The Miami Heat did not steamroll through the league the way many predicted.

In fact, they have been at their worst against the best teams and are currently third in the East behind Boston and Chicago.

And the New York Knicks have shown little to no improvement in terms of wins and losses, since adding Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey to a team being led by Amar'e Stoudemire.

The Celtics' Big Three have said many times that the way they came together so quickly, doesn't necessarily mean it'll happen like that all the time.

"It's going to be a process for them," said Paul Pierce, speaking about the Knicks. "That's why they're inconsistent. You can't just put a team together and go out there and say, 'Play well,' regardless of the talent. They have to develop chemistry, a feel for one another. Where you like the ball, where you like to get help at defensively. It's a process."

Making that more difficult, Pierce added, has been the fact that the Knicks and their Big Three came together just a few weeks ago.

In 2007, Pierce along with Allen and Garnett had an entire training camp to get familiar with how to play with one another.

"You don't know when that day will come when everything will click and things are running smoothly," Pierce said. "You have to continue to work, practice and eventually the light will turn on eventually."

While Celtics coach Doc Rivers acknowledges that it does take time, the success of joining three superstars ultimately falls on the players - at least, that's how it worked with his Big Three.

"At the end of the day, they wanted it work," Rivers said of Boston's Big Three. "They wanted it to work. You hear it a lot, but I don't know if everyone means it."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Texas Hold'em: Noel would interest Celts, but Mavs probably won't let him go

Texas Hold'em: Noel would interest Celts, but Mavs probably won't let him go

The Celtics' two main targets in free agency are expected to be Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin. But what if neither signs here . . . or what if the C's have other plans? This week, we'll look at some of  'The Other Guys' who might interest the Celtics: TODAY: Dallas' Nerlens Noel.

BOSTON -- When the Celtics had trade talks with Philadelphia last season, it was no secret they had their eyes set on Nerlens Noel.
 
The 23-year-old has shown tremendous potential as an elite, rim-protecting big man.

THE OTHER GUYS: POTENTIAL CELTIC FREE-AGENT TARGETS


The Dallas Mavericks saw those same qualities, which is why they engineered a trade for him last season despite knowing he would be a restricted free agent this summer.
 
And while he would certainly be the kind of player Boston would absolutely love to add to the mix, seeing the Mavericks go in a different direction seems highly unlikely.
 
But until he signs with the Mavericks or any other team, the Celtics can’t be totally discounted as a possibility if they strike out on Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin.
 
WE LIKE HIM BECAUSE . . .
 
His proven body of work and his potential. Noel has shown flashes of being a decent player offensively, but he’s going to get paid handsomely this summer because of his defense and rebounding.
 
According to Basketball-reference.com, Noel has been among the NBA’s top 10 in defensive box plus/minus two of his three NBA seasons.
 
During the 2014-15 season, his defensive plus/minus was +4.5 (fourth in the NBA) and the following season it was +3.4 (eighth in the NBA).
 
And while his upside is viewed primarily through a defensive prism, his presence on the floor seemed to provide a much-needed jolt to the Mavericks offensively.
 
In his 22 games with Dallas, he averaged 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds with a solid offensive rating of 106.1.
 
NOT CRAZY ABOUT . . .
 
You love Noel’s length and athleticism, but you wish he would add some weight to withstand the physical rigors of playing primarily in the post. In an ideal world, Noel will add another 10-15 pounds, which would put him weight-wise similar to another standout Maverick from a few years back, Tyson Chandler. But Noel’s narrow shoulders and pogo-stick thick legs will likely result in his current 228-pound frame not changing much in the near future. He will still be a factor defensively, but there will be nights when stronger, more physical centers will give him problems. Fortunately for him and the Mavericks, big men whose strength is well, their strength, are becoming scarce in this new age of position-less basketball in the NBA.
 
IN CONCLUSION . . .
 
Noel would look really good in a Celtics uniform, but there’s little to no chance the Mavericks allow him to get away. They've made it clear that re-signing the 6-foot-11 big man is their top priority. And short of Kevin Durant or Stephen Curry saying they want to become a Maverick, it’s highly unlikely Dallas will change course.
 
PRICE TAG
 
Four-year, $106.4 million. That’s the most a team outside of Dallas can offer the soon-to-be restricted free agent. Noel knows the Mavericks won’t hesitate to offer him a max contract, which would give him more guaranteed years (five), better raises (eight percent versus five percent) and a total package of $143.55 million, which is more than $37 million beyond what other teams like the Celtics can offer.
 
Again, something would have to go unexpectedly wrong for Noel to wind up on any roster other than the Mavericks.