For an NBA fan, the past three months have been rather difficult. With no reason for hope and seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel, it looked as though fans would be without a professional basketball season in 2012. The lockout that kept the players from their respective arenas and playing for their devoted fans lasted 149 days, and was a painful process to witness. Not much news came out regarding their progress as each day passed, other than updates on the hourly length of their negotiations or which deal was the latest to be rejected. But finally, on November 26, a “tentative agreement” was reached that put an end to the suffering, as a decision was made that gives all an extra gift on Christmas day – the opening day to a 66 game season to take place beginning this year and continue into the next.
Although the lockout had its obvious negatives, for an aging team like the Boston Celtics, it might end up somewhat helping their season – to an extent. The Garnett-era Celtic team has consistently gotten off to excellent starts, always atop of the Eastern Conference after the first quarter of the season. But once injuries start to pile up, and the gas tank nears empty, they begin to trail off and start losing on a much more frequent basis. By the end of the season, they are nowhere near the team they started out as, and considered out of championship contention. But with a 66 game season, they’ll have a lot less mileage and a lot more spring in their step as they enter the playoffs. However, with such a short time to sneak in a season, there will be an increase in back to back games – something that is sure to take a toll on any team. Not to mention the oldest one in the league averaging an age in the low 30s. This new schedule will take some effect on the Celtics this year; it is just not clear whether it’ll be a good or bad one.
Another big concern for the Celtics fan is the status of the team’s starting roster. There are rumors general manager Danny Ainge has put the all-star point guard Rajon Rondo, second in the league in assists and steals last year, on the market. He has been considered “up and coming” for the past four years, and has shown steady improvement with each passing season. Many feel we have yet to witness the peak of Rondo’s ability, so to see him go will be a disappointment to a great deal of fans. But with such great skill and potential being shipped off, the assumption is that they’ll be bringing in equal talent. If a trade does follow through, it will likely be the biggest move made by the team since they brought in Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007.
For those who are overwhelmed by the grand scale of the NCAA, and need some more exclusivity in their sports entertainment, Christmas day can’t come soon enough. The country went into a panic when it almost lost its NFL, but the NBA fans never really got a chance to panic. Everything went downhill so quickly, most just slipped into a depression as a large void developed in their lives and nothing was there to fill it. But now the lockout is over, and it’s time to get back to the business of basketball. After the drama of last season, much anticipation comes with this upcoming one, as the stars have begun teaming up across the league to battle one another for that coveted championship. One can only hope that our Boston Celtics are still in that battle.