Ever since the Boston Celtics traded away big man Kendrick Perkins, much debate has been made as to whether or not the move made them better. It did not. Without Perkins, Boston has lost its best interior defender who made scoring at the rim very difficult for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
As of now, the Celtics are relying on Jermaine O’Neal to be there starting center. A plan that did not work out so well for the Miami Heat last year. While Jermaine was solid against the Knicks, consistency has not been kind to him, especially late in his career.
Of course Boston is awaiting the return of Shaq. It is uncertain if he will be available, but I have a feeling that he will be play in this series. The question is if he can play extended minutes at this point in his career. Considering he lasted about 5 minutes in his return before getting hurt, I would not count on him.
Even if Shaq is healthy, I cannot see him being able to keep up with the speed of the game after missing so much time considering what Boston needs from him. In order to be effective, he will need to be a scoring option in the paint and rebound. While he still might be able to score, his ability to rebound is not what it used to be. If Shaq plans to play extended minutes, he will be forced to defend the pick-and-roll, which has never been a strength of his.