There was Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Then there was Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Now we have Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger. None of these trios were exactly created equal, but each of these trios have held a responsibility of leading a historic Celtics franchise into a new era of basketball.
The Celtics have certainly hit rough patches this season, but we have to trust and have faith in the Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger trio. It may take a few seasons before the Celtics get back to the biggest stage in the NBA, but it could be a lot worse for the Celtics if none of these talented young players weren’t playing together on the same team. The difference between this current trio and the previous two are the fact that they will be leading a full-scale rebuilding project with rookie head coach Brad Stevens.
Jared Sullinger has come a long way for the Celtics since his back surgery last season. Many wondered of Sullinger was going to be healthy enough to play a full 82-game season and not miss a beat on the floor. Sullinger is still shooting the ball very effectively and he continues to grab rebounds like cash is falling out of the sky. Brad Stevens has been starting Sullinger at center, which is a position that he is not used to playing. He has been matched up against other big tough centers in Roy Hibbert and Zach Randolph. Stevens’ confidence in Sullinger is currently very high and is actually encouraging him to shoot 3-pointers whenever he gets a good look. Sullinger’s unique physicality and most of the other power forwards in the NBA just hang around the perimeter will give him the green light to keep pounding the ball inside and will become one of the NBA’s top power forwards. It’s disappointing to not see him on the NBA All-Star ballot, but he will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
Jeff Green was off to a shaky start during the preseason where he was just mainly relying on outside jump shots and playing inconsistent minutes. So far this season, Jeff Green is arguably having the best season of his career with the Celtics. In today’s NBA, having a player like Jeff Green is essential because he has been able to defend the top scorers in the league in LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Green has been getting into a rhythm early and often in every game he has played. A lot of concerned Celtics fans were worried that Jeff Green was not going to be able to play at a high level consistently every game. Green has played at a high level so far and is always getting the ball right where his strengths are. Brad Stevens’ system has worked well in Jeff Green’s favor and is on the All-Star ballot for New Orleans this season.
Rajon Rondo has still not made an appearance this season for the Celtics, but is getting closer and closer to making his season debut. Rondo was often criticized last season for just keeping his assist totals high and not taking the less important games seriously, but has always continued to play as the elite point guard that he is. As we all know, Rondo is a superb athlete with the ability to run the floor and finish strong at the rim. He doesn’t rely on his athleticism as much as Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook, but he has amazing court vision with an outstanding ability to navigate in traffic. Additionally, many players improve on their jump shot while they are recovering from knee injuries because that’s all they can do when they start rehabbing. The biggest challenge for Rondo is to become the vocal leader because despite he is the point guard, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have taken that role while they played here. If Rondo can even play 80 percent to his potential, the Celtics will be in good hands going forward.
Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger didn’t play together too much last season because of injury to Rondo and Doc Rivers’ trust in Green and Sullinger, but they all should be able to integrate well going forward. It will be tough trying to extend contracts on all three of these players, but there will be brighter days ahead for the Celtics with this trio along with an already deep and young talented roster.