|Posted by MikeS on February 3, 2012 at 11:50 AM|
Today I'm just going to hit at some of the thoughts I've had of the Celtics thus far this season. Please feel free to chime in on the comments section because I'm looking for Celtics-related conversation to partake in.
1) Last night I received a text from my buddy that plainly said, "Rondo for Okafor". This is my go to guy for basketball talk - from general opinions to rumors - so when I read it, I actually assumed it was something he had just saw or heard. A minute passed and I received his follow up text, "is my trade suggestion." The conversation is nothing too exciting but what I found notable here was my reaction, or rather lack there of. When I read "Rondo for Okafor", two things popped into my head. I wondered if he had picked up anything else and then I thought to myself, well at least we have some solid depth at the 5. There was nothing that really found this deal implausible.
Now, that being said, as a Celtics fan I don't think it's the best trade, nor do I think it's all we could get for a player of Rondo's caliber. But if a future 1st rounder were thrown in there I'd have to at least think about it.
When I found out it was merely his opinion, I shot back "Rondo and Wilcox to Denver for Al Harrington and Timofey Mozgov (and filler)" and then one-upped it with "Rondo and Wilcox (and filler) for Gasol/Bynum and Steve Blake".
The point here is with the Celtics recent (and past) play without Rondo, combined with Avery Bradley and E'Twaun Moore's emergence, it's easier to accept that Rajon Rondo is expendable, far more so than when he was being shopped during training camp.
This team has been in solid form as of late. As it's been said, Doc has simplified the offense, Paul Pierce is looking like the Paul Pierce we know, and the young guys are proving themselves worthy. I fear that, when Rondo returns, his presence is going to take away from a lot of what this team has accomplished in his absence. Rondo, as fantastic of a player as he is, can create as many question marks as he can exclamation points. Sometimes he runs, sometimes he holds onto the ball for 18 seconds; sometimes he goes hard to the hoop, sometimes he sees the bucket as Kevin saw the basement furnace in Home Alone; sometimes he is a bonafide floor general and other times he is the unsung reason why this team falls off.
Bottom line: If you're focus is on the future, you stick with Rondo and hope, after this season, you can find a star who can compliment his game. If you're playing for the now, you've got to see what you can get for him (just as you do with everyone else at this point). A starting line up of Legitimate Center, KG, Pierce, Ray, and Avery Bradley (especially on defense), along with the deepest bench they've had since '86 is a threat to be recognized.
I think Bradley, though far from an offense weapon, really sets the tone with his nagging defense. The way he forces point guards to, as Tommy and Mike would say, call their plays from the logo, is incredible. It forces mistakes, bad shots, and turnovers that lead to more scoring opportunities and fast breaks for the C's.
2) I don't like Keyon Dooling. He has received the torch from Glen Davis and has become my least likable Celtic. It's my personal opinion, but I think the Celtics play significantly worse when he's out on the court. My favorite example is: They blew out Orlando in Boston, and then were down by 20+ a few nights later with Dooling back in the rotation; when he went down for the game, they mounted their comeback and we all know how it ended. I find Dooling to be nothing more than an extra body on the floor when he's out there. His shot selection is questionable at best, he doesn't have true to his position ball handling skills, he makes bad passes, and hasn't shown me much on the other end of the floor. How has this guy survived 10 years in the NBA?
3) Last but not least, when Rondo comes back, if I were the coach of the Celtics, I'd strongly consider bringing Ray Allen off the bench and starting Avery Bradley. A starting line up of O'Neal, KG, Pierce, Bradley, and Rondo gives you two guards who can relentlessly pressure the ball and lead the fast break. When the offense is in set up mode, you have Pierce and KG (one will most likely be double teamed, leaving someone - either Rondo or Bradley - wide open if they work the cut). To top that off, you now have a bench consisting of Ray Ray, Mikeal Pietrus, and Brandon Bass. That's instant offense!
Anyways, those are my thoughts for the day. Please feel free to comment, whether you agree or disagree, I'm interested to see how you guys feel about this team.