Having Rajon Rondo tear his ACL and miss what will turn out to be almost a year of basketball isn’t what the Boston Celtics wanted, but ever since turning into tanking mode during the offseason, getting Rondo back on the court as late as possible is the best option for them this season.
Without Rondo, the point guards are going to be Avery Bradley and Phil Pressey, or Courtney Lee for limited moments. As their option of trading for one is still on the table, it’s hard to ignore the fact that everything the Celtics have done this summer – from taking on the bad deals to letting go of Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and it doesn’t really matter at what order, means they want a high pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
The only thing that can ruin it for them? Rondo and his comeback. A healthy Rondo, without any lingering issues from his injury, means that the Celtics have one of the best point guards in the NBA. It’s still quite a big mystery if Rondo is actually good enough to be the number one player on a team, basketball-wise and in the dressing room, but when you want to lose more than 55 games in a season, it’s better not to take that chance.
According to their new head coach, Brad Stevens, the Celtics have no idea when Rondo is going to be ready to play an NBA game.
Rondo hasn’t put a date on [a return], and we haven’t put a date on it. I told him, whenever he feels best and he’s ready to come back, we’ll support him and we’ll be happy that he’s back. But it hasn’t been a specific date. Literally, I haven’t even asked that question in the past couple of weeks.
There are quite a lot of question marks whether or not Rondo is going to be happy about playing on a team that’s going to lose, and a lot. He went through that in the 2006-2007 season, and didn’t plan on going through it again, even if the retirement / departure of Allen, Garnett and Pierce was only a matter of time. It was simply handled badly by the team, leaving them in limbo and with a very low stock of quality in the aftermath.
Whose fault is it that this happened? There are plenty to shoulder the blame, but it probably falls to Ainge, Rivers and Rondo to a certain degree by beginning the exodus a year early by driving out Allen from the team. The rest depends on who you support in the battle of versions, but Rivers didn’t come out as the classiest guy from his whole leaving debacle, while Ainge simply seems like a guy who got lucky that one time when he pulled off the trade for Garnett.
But that’s in the past. What’s worrying is the future, as Rondo becomes an immediate trading chip if he doesn’t return in time. But as we mentioned before, the Boston Celtics are probably hoping for a slow return as possible, so their W number is as low as possible, and it might both get them a high draft pick and for Rondo to try and push for a trade so they can finally get rid of all the pieces of the former team.