By quitting on the Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers began an inevitable cycle, that eventually sees Rajon Rondo become the best player and leader on a team that’s filled with mediocre and mostly on the decline talent, that won’t be doing anything meaningful or worth noting in the NBA next season and possibly even more.
When you look back at Danny Ainge’s track record, except for the Kevin Garnett trade that mostly landed in his lap, and Ray Allen coming a month earlier, the Celtics don’t have a very capable man at the helm. Yes, Rajon Rondo was a steal, but he might not be the All-NBA point guard everyone tries to make him out to be once Pierce, Garnett and Allen are no longer with him.
In a lineup that might look like Rondo, Bradly, Gerald Wallace, Jeff Green and an unnamed center, it’s hard to see where the points are going to be coming from. Wallace adds defense, while Humphries and Reggie Evans are excellent rebounders, but this looks like a team that suddenly has depth, but is build to wide across with no top-heavy quality. They didn’t have a very easy time making the playoffs last year with Garnett and Pierce. Having a weaker team in 2013-2014, lets just say it would be wise not to get anyone’s hopes up.
The Celtics did get three first round picks from the Nets along with all those players, and those picks should come in handy, especially after next season, which might turn into a lottery pick them. Can they turn it into an All-Star player? They’ll have a better cap situation than before, except for that bad Wallace deal they’re inheriting ($10 million a season through 2015-2016), but they’ll need some lottery lack, or to have a terrible season, in order to be able to pull something similar to what they did with Ray Allen six years ago, trading a lottery pick for him.
I guess it all depends on Rajon Rondo in the biggest season of his life. Not just to show he can bounce back from his ACL tear and look like an All-Star once more, but the expectations from him to be more than an assist machine. The Celtics played worse with Rondo in the lineup last season, and it’s going to be up to him to prove he can finally put his offensive problems, mainly scoring and getting over his mid-range shot hump, in order for the Celtics to avoid battling Philadelphia and Toronto for finishing last in the Atlantic Division.
Is the Rajon Rondo trade off the books? For now, there is now talk about it except for people who think that he should be going, but without, the Celtics will truly be at the bottom of the barrel talent-wise. Miracles don’t happen over the course of an 82-game season, so unless Rondo plans on becoming the kind of leader Rivers and Allen didn’t think he could be, not to mention becoming the offensive juggernauts his counterparts around the league are, the Celtics are headed towards something similar to what the first half of the Doc Rivers era looked like.