It’s been a nice surprise so far this season for the Boston Celtics. Considering what has happened throughout the summer, the Celtics were expected to be at the bottom of the league and looking to be in the lottery for next summer’s draft. The Celtics currently hold first place in the Atlantic Division, but with a losing record.
But considering the Celtics are playing without Rajon Rondo, both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are no longer here and rookie head coach Brad Stevens is at the helm, not too shabby for a team that most people would like to see tank for a high draft pick. If the season ended today, the Celtics would finish reclaiming the Atlantic Division and have a playoff spot. Once Rajon Rondo returns to the lineup, it’s only going to get better.
The groundwork is already laid once Rondo returns to the lineup. Entering the game tonight against the Knicks, the leader in points per game is Jeff Green (17.3) and the leader in assists per game is Jordan Crawford (5.5). The excellent 6th ranked defense in the NBA has been the main reason why the Celtics are remaining competitive and the offense is still looking to stay consistent all throughout games.
Luckily for the Celtics, offense is where Rajon Rondo excels. Last season, Rondo remained the NBA’s assist leader with 11.1 assists per game. That’s just 7.1 assists fewer than the whole Celtics team average so far this season at 18.2 per contest. Rondo is just simple a gifted offensive player when he sets up his teammates, confusing defenses and just being that general nuisance that opposing teams hate. That’s what Rondo does best and that’s what Boston’s offense will see once he is in full swing.
Probably the most important factor for the Celtics would be the chemistry between Rondo and coach Brad Stevens. Despite Rondo hasn’t played yet this season, Rondo and Stevens are on the same page. Rondo has been working as Stevens’ personal assistant in his flashy clothes on the bench during games. This is a very good sign because Rondo has a clear understanding of how Brad Stevens runs a team and he has nothing but praise for his rookie coach.
“He has my full support,” Rondo said. “I told him from Day 1 when he came to my camp that I’m behind him 100 percent. Whatever he wants to do, whatever he wants to change, I have an open mind. I’m ready to listen and be accountable for what he wants to do. I’m going to help him and he’s going to help me.”
That’s a very encouraging sign for many of the fans concerned that Rondo is a never-easy-to-coach player. It still doesn’t feel that we’ve had Brad Stevens as a coach for too long, now that I have a better understand on the way he runs his offense and it certainly fits Rondos game.
The Celtics are very capable of being one of the few Eastern Conference teams to go over .500 in the near future. Once Rajon Rondo returns to the lineup, I think the Celtics will be primed to make a strong run for the playoffs and another division title. The Celtics may be in the history books as the biggest tanking failure in sports and I’m perfectly fine with that. I will quote Jared Sullinger on this and say to all of the tanking fans to kiss our butts.