BOSTON (CBS) – With Rajon Rondo out the rest of the season, the Boston Celtics will look a lot different going forward.
Celtics play-by-play man Mike Gorman joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Tuesday, and said to expect Courtney Lee and Leandro Barbosa to handle most of the duties at point guard for the rest of the way.
“I don’t think you’ll see Avery (Bradley) bringing the ball a lot, because you don’t want to take him away from his defensive responsibility and have him worrying about something else. Barbosa and Lee will be the primary guys handling the ball. With Jason Terry, they need Terry to be what they thought he was; a sniper, a shooter and a guy who comes in off the bench and looks for his shot. If you leave Terry alone and Bradley alone, it leaves Barbosa and Lee to be the two point guards.”
This will certainly change how opposing defenses play the Celtics.
“Everything was geared on trying to stop Rondo’s passing; teams had let him shoot the ball. You have to cover Barbosa or he’ll take the ball to the basket; he’s relentless taking the ball to the basket. Lee will become a different player, because he’ll be looking for his shot. Teams are going to have to play more honest man-to-man defense.”
“The belief around the NBA is that Rondo can’t hit a jump shot, so teams were allowing him to shoot the ball and backing off. I don’t think they’ll back of Barbosa and Lee the same way.”
There is the notion that the Celtics might actually be better without Rondo. Does Gorman buy into this?
“Obviously Rondo is a great player, a potential hall of fame player, but the pieces weren’t fitting with his game this year… they weren’t able to mesh as a unit. Can they mesh without him? The thing is the bar is very low this year. What you’re asking this group to do is be .500 the rest of the year, and I don’t think that’s impossible,” he said.
“I think they’ll be a lot of fun to watch, because now it’s 12 or 13 guys that have something to prove,” Gorman added.
There is still the possibility the Celtics add another point guard to fill Rondo’s roster spot, but Gorman doesn’t see much on the market that would entice the Celtics.
“I don’t think they’ll go for a trade right now. There aren’t too many guys around; Kyle Lowry is a guy in Toronto… but Doc has never been a coach who prefers to coach young guys; he likes veterans. If they can find a vet that doesn’t cost them anything I think they might bring him in, but otherwise they’ll be content going with what they have.
One potential replacement is Keyon Dooling, who retired following last season but is still around the team.
“He doesn’t travel with us all that much, but when he does he’s religious in being in the workout room. He’s a possibility; I don’t know if he considers himself in game shape, but he’s a possibility because he knows the system,” said Gorman. “The last thing Doc wants to take on right now is someone he wants to explain everything from the ground up.”
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One the other hand, a return of Delonte West is unlikely in Gorman’s eyes.
“I would love to see him resurrect his career and be successful, but I think it’d have to be another place than here,” said Gorman. “He went through a lot with the Celtics and they went through a lot with him, and I don’t think they want to do that again.”
Also, what did Gorman take away from Sunday’s win over the Miami Heat?