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NBA Title Contenders: Boston Celtics

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October 10, 2012 by shivusharma

Projected Starters: Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett

Key Reserves: Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger

Strengths: Team defense, mid-range shooting, Rajon Rondo, depth, scheme versatility, Rebounding at each position, Doc Rivers

Weaknesses: Post scoring, average three point shooting, age/health of key players

Outlook

The biggest news in Beantown was the departure of Ray Allen. Last year, it was clear that Allen no longer fit into the Celtic’s dynamic. The team was evolving to be more centered around Rondo. Avery Bradley emerged as an elite perimeter defender, and proved he could knock down open threes too. Now that Jason Terry is a member of the Celtics, the team is actually much better off than they were with Ray Allen. Terry has made his career being a dynamic 6th man, and will succeed coming off the bench in a way Allen could not. Jeff Green also returns to the team after recovering from heart surgery. It will be interesting to see how much he is able to contribute. At his best, Green was a SF/PF tweener with good handles and wing defense. Positive production from him will be the key to keeping Pau Pierce fresh.

Speaking of Pierce, He and Kevin Garnett are still maximizing the tail ends of their careers. Pierce is still a savvy isolation scorer, and a rather underrated defender. Garnett transformed himself into a legit eastern conference center. While he will struggle to guard dual threat bigs like Bynum and Hibbert, Garnett’s quickness and shooting range will make him tough to deal with on the offensive end of the floor.

The Celtics will be better than they were last year. I can see them being the 2nd best team in the eastern conference, behind the Miami Heat. However, just like last year, the Celtics have one big flaw. Strangely, their biggest flaw is their biggest strength. I am of course talking about Rajon Rondo. When he is at his best and his jumpers are falling, he is the best PG in basketball. The Celtics have centered their whole team around him. Pierce and Garnett are no longer the players they once were. They cannot carry a team on their own, and struggle to generate offense for themselves. Rondo is the only way this team can consistently find buckets. If opposing defense can find ways to limit his shot creation, the entirety of the Celtics offense will collapse. This dependence on Rondo could turn out to be their downfall, especially if he doesn’t start hitting the open jumpers defenses will give him.

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