The Boston Celtics’ imposing six-year run has finally come to an end. GM Danny Ainge cleared the last two of the former “big three,” this summer as he traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets. Superstar point guard Rajon Rondo is still recovering from a torn ACL and may miss much of the season. Coach Doc Rivers bolted out of Boston and has been replaced with the coaching phenom from Butler University, Brad Stevens. We’ll take it from there as we take a look ahead the the Celts’ 2013-14 season:
Guards (C+): Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford, Courtney Lee, MarShon Brooks, Phil Pressey, Rajon Rondo (IR)
Boston’s backcourt is definitely going to struggle without Rondo on the court. None of these players have been consistent starters throughout their careers. Avery Bradley will likely start at point guard. It’s probable either Jordan Crawford or Courtney Lee will start at the 2. Despite who starts, this has the potential of being up to a five-guard rotation with rookie Phil Pressey in the mix. These guards will have to show the league what they’re capable of.
Forwards (B): Gerald Wallace, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Brandon Bass, Keith Bogans
Even with the loss of Pierce and KG, the Celts have four suitable forwards. Although Wallace is no longer all-star caliber, he’s still capable of being an adequate starter. Jeff Green looked like a superstar at times last year and this is his year to prove if he’s all-star worthy. Sullinger returned fairly quickly from his back injury and should be a viable role player. Although these forwards don’t have a whole lot of size, most of them know how to efficiently rebound the ball.
Centers (D): Kris Humphries, Kelly Olynyk, Vitor Faverani
The Celts are now really missing the presence of a starting center. Although Garnett was labeled a power forward, he played center for them since Perkins was traded to OKC. This group of centers, in particular, will likely get dominated down-low.
Defense (C+): Bradley is one of the league’s best perimeter defenders. Outside of him, the Celts don’t appear to have a lot of energy on defense. Wallace used to be a top defender in the league, but his production has taken a significant decline in the last two years, and he’s now just a pretty good defender. I see this team giving up a lot of points in the paint on a nightly basis.
Shooting (C): For the most part, Boston’s outside shooting won’t come to life until Rondo returns to action, which could be a while. Bradley is a pretty good spot-up shooter but he won’t get as many of those opportunities playing the point. Green is the single active player on this team that can consistently create offense.
Experience (B): Wallace, Green, and Bass all have the experience in this league. Others such as Bradley, Lee, and Sullinger are still maturing as players. I’m assuming the Celts enter tank mode this season and allow most of their young players to showcase their abilities. Presumably, that should result in Boston adding a young star to it’s roster in the 2014 draft.
Standing – 14th East: Don’t get me wrong. This team is definitely capable of finishing at least a couple spots higher. However, I think it’s clear their objective is to shoot for a top five draft pick. With that said, the team could choose to keep Rondo out for an extended time period.
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