Rajon Rondo’s torn ACL was pretty much a season-ender for the entire Boston Celtics team. With the window closing on their veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and Rondo recovering from his injury, the C’s are entering a pivotal off-season.
Boston Celtics (41-40 last year)
2012-13 Season Summary:
For the past couple of seasons, the goal for the Boston Celtics was to just get to the playoffs with everybody healthy and hope to make a postseason run. However, Rajon Rondo’s season-ending torn ACL midway through the year quickly ended any real hope the C’s had of making any noise past the regular season.
With Rondo out of the lineup, that put a ton of pressure on Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett who still played at a high level but definitely were a step slower in their older age. Retirement rumors have even surfaced surround the 37-year old Garnett.
Boston made moves in the off-season to improve their bench play and supporting cast but those acquisitions fell short for the most part. Jeff Green did return from a heart condition that forced him to miss the entire 2011-12 season and provided some punch off Boston’s bench. Rookie Jared Sullinger seemed like a first round steal early in the season but had his season cut short because of a back injury. From there, guys like Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, and Leandro Barbosa didn’t get the job done and the Celtics even made some mid-season moves in acquiring Jordan Crawford and signing Terrence Williams but still lacked the efficiency off the bench to help Pierce and Garnett.
2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Kevin Garnett/Fab Melo
PF: Brandon Bass/Jeff Green/Jared Sullinger
SF: Paul Pierce/Terrence Williams
SG: Avery Bradley/Jason Terry/Jordan Crawford/Courtney Lee
PG: Rajon Rondo
NBA Free Agents:
PF-Chris Wilcox (UFA)
PF-D.J. White (UFA)
PF-Shavlik Randolph (UFA)
2013-14 Team Salary: approximately $73.1 million
1. Center: KG isn’t the ironman that he once was and while the Celtics did draft Fab Melo last year, Boston needs to add a true big man to help bang inside and take some of the low post responsibilities away from Garnett. This need becomes even more prominent if Garnett ends up retiring this off-season, but I can’t see that happening. There will be some guys available when the Celtics pick sixteenth overall in the NBA Draft but since they just took a project in Melo a year ago, finding a free agent center would be a better route to take since it would provide immediate relief which is what Boston needs since their window is shrinking.
2. Point Guard: With Rondo’s health uncertain for the start of next season, Boston would be smart to add another true point guard to the roster. Bradley is capable of filling in at the spot like he did after Rondo’s injury but by no means is he a true distributor or creator. There could be a couple of point guards options available at 16 as well so that’s something the Celtics might look into as well with their first rounder.
3. Shop Pierce and Rondo: I’m not saying the Boston Celtics should definitely trade either player but they should at least put out some feelers to see if some team is willing to grossly overpay to land an immediate All-Star caliber player. It almost seems sacrilegious to shop Pierce but he is in the final year of his contract and with KG likely to retire in a year or two (possibly even this summer), the Celtics need to start looking to the future at some point. As for Rondo, if Boston might be able to land a DeMarcus Cousins in a trade for him, they would have to seriously contemplate making that move. You might as well add Garnett to this list as well.
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New Orleans Pelicans
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David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.