BOSTON (CBS) – The notion the Celtics could be a better team without Rajon Rondo is a crazy one, but one that does hold some water.
If anything else, the loss of their point guard makes this overly frustrating basketball team much more intriguing after a dismal 21-23 start to the season.
If you invested your time to watch the first three months of the Celtics season, you were rewarded with sporadic play that featured an overall lack of effort filled, frustrating losses in the bunches, and a few uncharacteristic Doc Rivers flare-ups. While Doc calling out his team was somewhat entertaining, it was not the vision that was put into our heads when Danny Ainge got the band back together following their trip to the Eastern Conference Finals last summer.
Now, the intrigue level of the Celtics is raised, simply by the unknown.
How will the “don’t call it a point guard by committee” committee work out? Can Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett re-take over the leadership roles they’ve held for the last five years? And who the heck is going to bring the ball up the court?
Tracy’s Take: Addition By Subtraction?
The last question has already been discussed over and over again, and a few times more just for good measure. Doc Rivers simplified it by saying whoever isn’t getting defensive pressure will be the guy to bring it up. It will change game-to-game, and at times, possession-to-possession.
What may benefit the Celtics most is that none of their four guards (Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa) are actual point guards by trade. While that shouldn’t make any sense, not having one man control where the ball goes will promote better ball movement with everyone involving themselves in the play. How many times this season have we seen Rondo bring the ball up the court and dribble at the top of the key for 15 seconds while the four other Celtics on the court stood around? That will all change now without that one true floor general barking out orders.
The notion that the Celtics could be a better team without Rondo might sound crazy, and it partly is, but there is also some truth to it. He takes far too many risks on defense, and the team offense still had not meshed with Rondo as the floor general. The frustrating play of the offense shouldn’t fall squarely on Rondo, but with talk that it’s now his team, he needed to step up and make sure it all went swimmingly when the Celtics had the ball. That wasn’t the case, and the Celtics 20th ranked offense was proof.
Moving forward, with Pierce, Bradley, Lee, Terry, Barbosa, and even Garnett getting involved in dictating the offense, despite the fact there may be too many cooks in the kitchen, good ball movement will be the most important ingredient to good offense. It may be some of the most basic and boring offense you’ll see this side of a college game, but there is a good chance it will lead to better results.
For those who have already come to terms with the fact this team just isn’t that good and has no real shot at a title, there is the added intrigue of what they can do without Rondo. It’s almost like a second season – one that can only go better than what was witnessed as the fall turned to winter. The Celtics are now playing with house money while expectations are so low, and it’ll be hard not to at least match them, and possibly even best them.
While the city measures itself on championships and not regular-season futility, the final months of the Celtics season should be entertaining even if it doesn’t end with the hanging of banner 18.
Not to mention, the new-style Celtics may actually be fun to watch again.