Question remains if Celtics have enough quality to compete with the best…
The Boston Celtics were forced into a season of mediocrity last year after losing Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and they continue to rebuild this season.
The Celtics ended the regular season with a 25-57 record, placing them in 12th place in the Eastern Conference and 13 wins adrift of the final playoff spot.
Generally speaking, it was a miserable campaign both at home and on the road, although it was to be expected having lost two of the cornerstones of the franchise. Pierce and Garnett may not have had the desired effect in Brooklyn, but they were certainly vital to the Celtics up until their final game, and the loss of two Hall of Famers was huge for the city as well as the organisation.
Coupled with point guard Rajon Rondo recovering from injury, it was always likely to be a struggle but having now returned to full fitness, the Celtics will look to improve this coming season.
Jeff Green and Rondo hold the keys to success, role players must follow
With on-going speculation surrounding his future, Rondo will want to put up serious numbers this season whether he stays in Boston or not. The franchise say they want him to stay, the media speculate that he will leave, but there are no answers to the question just yet.
Having played in just 30 games last season, the point guard averaged 11.7 points and 9.8 assists per game, and as the roster around him starts to improve, expect those numbers to increase in the coming year.
Jeff Green was and is the go-t0 scoring option, averaging 16.9 points last year, but the lack of help and consistency around him ensured that the Celtics were ranked 26th in the NBA in scoring (96.2 ppg). Along with Rondo, Green is also in a contract year, so expect them both to turn it on. However, whether the likes of rookie Marcus Smart, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and Marcus Thornton can go with them remains to be seen.
Tyler Zeller is another intriguing addition, as is the acquisition of Evan Turner, and so the Celtics have certainly added talent to their roster. However, looking at the main competitors in the NBA, they all have a strong and reliable core. That can’t be said for Boston at this moment in time, as aside from Rondo and Green, there are too many question marks over their players.
Will Bradley stay healthy? Can Smart make an immediate impact? Will the bench players be able to compete with the rest of the league? We won’t know until the season starts.
The Celtics could be set for a similar season to last, but with it will come renewed hope of rebuilding for the future. The initial priority will be to re-sign Rondo and build around him, but what they have this season won’t be enough to get a playoff spot even in the East.
Rondo’s court vision will make him a stand-out point guard in the league as usual, but Boston will struggle offensively as they did last year. With that in mind, another season scrapping at the bottom of the Eastern Conference awaits, although they could get closer to the top eight with a 30-win season.
PG: Rajon Rondo
PF: Brandon Bass
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jeff Green
C: Kelly Olynyk
Sixth Man: Evan Turner