I watched the Celtics consistently throughout the playoffs and was so excited when they won it all. After the big final game, I spent some time pondering the team and to me, the key person who enabled this was Ray Allen. Huh, you might be asking, what about Pierce or KG? Well, clearly they were instrumental as well, but keep in mind, Ray Allen was the key to enabling success this year. Let me explain why.
If we think back about a year ago, things were not well with the Celtics. At the time, the Celtics were a very young team with Paul Pierce being the most talented veteran. Pierce was extremely frustrated because he knew that he was not getting younger and really wanted a chance to win the NBA championship. He felt, correctly in my opinion, that the team as made up a year ago was not at a point where they could win. This caused tremendous frustration and drove Pierce to ask for a trade. At the same time the Celtics were looking to add veterans. The rumor at the time is that veterans did not want to join the Celtics for the same reason that Pierce wanted to leave. (e.g. too many young inexperienced players and very little chance of reaching the finals.)
The Celtics had an initial discussion with KG before the draft and he indicated that he did not want to go to the Celtics for the same reason. This created a major challenge, the Celtics needed to add experienced talent to attract more experienced talent, but few experienced players wanted to come to the Celtics. Enter Ray Allen, the Celtics worked that draft day trade for him. There was much consternation about that trade from the pundits who were confused about why they would trade for Ray given his age and recent injury history. On a side note, Boston was a good fit for Ray given his history at UConn and family roots in the area. Even so, Ray was taking a big risk in going to Boston given the lack of experienced veterans and playoff experience. Ironically, in retrospect, this is exactly what the Celtics needed.
After the draft and the Ray Allen trade, the talks resumed with Minnesota for KG. IMO, the only reason he even reconsidered coming to Boston was the addition of Ray Allen. All of a sudden, the team went from one with only one experienced player to a team with two all-stars. I believe that this helped change KG’s perspective and convince him that Boston was the right move. And the rest is history….
In short, the acquisition of Ray Allen was key to getting KG not too mention his outstanding performance in the finals. It is interesting that in retrospect a trade that was considered so questionable at the time was really the key to the Celtics success this year and in short the Celtics owe a big thank you to Ray Allen for our success this year.