Boston Celtics: 10 Reasons This Won't Be the Final Playoff Run for the Big Three
The Big Three have taken the Boston Celtics from a 15-17 start to a No. 4 seed in the conference and a chance to make a title run in 2012.
Considering their title potential this season, there is no question that Rivers and Ainge have to be contemplating bringing the Big Three back for one more year. In an Eastern Conference that will only improve, now is time for the Celtics to compete for NBA titles.
These are the 10 reasons why this will not be the team's final playoff run.
Rondo Needs Talent Around Him to Continue to Succeed
Make no mistake, this is by no means taking away from the talent that Rajon Rondo possesses.
Yet, as he is not the "scoring-type" point guard that a Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook is, there is no question he needs talented scorers around him to be successful. That goes without saying.
Therefore, keeping the Big Three intact will be crucial for Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers this offseason. It is clear that Rondo will need these talented players by his side in order to best help this team compete for NBA championships.
Defense Wins Championships
Defense, defense and more defense has been the motto in Boston since the arrival of the three amigos.
The Big Three and the Celtics, since the 2008 championship run, have been a team that has predicated their play on the defensive end of the floor. It is their identity, as Ainge and the organization knows it will be crucial to keep that intact.
Giving away the Big Three would be a foolish move in this particular regard, as this is a team that is destined to continue to make playoff runs with their top-notch defensive unit.
Paul Pierce Still Making It Rain
As you can see, Pierce is pleading his case to the team that he, Garnett and Allen are all deserving of another year together in Beantown. The production this year, if anything, has been quite impressive over the second half of the season.
Pierce just recently came off a 36-point, 14-rebound performance in a Game 2 win over the Hawks, and there is no question he still has the talent to perform with greatness at this level.
Make no mistake about it, he is still a top-10 scorer in basketball even in his mid-30s.
Follow the Doctor's Order
With the help of the Big Three, Doc Rivers has built an outright impressive resume as the Celtics head coach. He has won an NBA championship, brought his team to the NBA Finals twice and has his team among the best defensive teams in basketball each year.
Not to mention, the season prior to the 2008 championship, the team was the second-worst team in basketball.
This season, however, Rivers proved his worth as much as he has in any year. He was given a completely new team with a wide range of players and was able to eventually get his team to play the best basketball in the East after the All-Star break. Considering the conference boasts the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls, that's an impressive feat to say the least.
Greg Stiemsma Improving Drastically
The beast out of Wisconsin is continuing to prove his worth as a rookie, putting up some big-time numbers when it comes to swatting shots and gradually improving as a rebounder.
As the Celtics have always struggled in the rebounding department, the improvements from Stiemsma are promising for this team's future and likeliness to succeed. Not to mention, it also frees up significant cap space and gives the Celtics more money to look for guard-play in free agency.
E'Twaun Moore Is a Fearless, Knockdown Shooter
After what was a relatively quiet start to his rookie campaign, E'Twaun Moore is beginning to show glimpses of potential in the brief six-to-eight-minute shifts Rivers has allotted him.
What makes Moore an impressive player is just how fearless and outright-confident he is shooting the basketball. Most rookies who are not given many minutes are inclined to come into the game hesitant, though that's anything but the case with Moore.
Sometimes he is too confident, shooting a whopping 10 times and hitting just three shots in a 25-minute outing against the Bucks to close out the season. Yet, that type of confidence is something coaches can't teach, and is quality that could serve him especially well in the future.
JaJuan Johnson Has Potential
Johnson is a player with utmost potential at the PF spot and is currently under the guidance of Kevin Garnett—making the situation all the more promising.
With some more time hitting the weights and developing his offensive arsenal, there is no question Johnson will be an impact-player for this team in the near future.
This season Johnson averaged 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in just over eight minutes per game.
Give It Up for Avery Bradley
Can you say: "Tony Allen?"
Avery Bradley went from a non-factor to a solid role player, to a quality starting guard and potentially the best on-ball defender in the NBA in the span of one season.
Talk about a mouthful.
Bradley has been given the opportunity to play big minutes for this team, as both Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen have suffered from injuries numerous times this season. In Rondo's absence in Game 2 due to a suspension, Bradley chipped in a crucial 14 points to help the team close out the Hawks on the road.
If the Celtics expect to make another title run, Bradley, much like Tony Allen did for the 2008 Celtics team, will have to continue to make plays for this team.
A Banged-Up Derrick Rose
A great loss to the 2012 NBA playoffs took place when Derrick Rose, last season's MVP, went down hard with a torn ACL that will have him sidelined for the remainder of the postseason.
Yet, what this does mean is that the Boston Celtics will have an edge over the Bulls heading into next season. Although Rose shouldn't miss much time next year, there is no doubt it will take time for Rose to fully recover and get back into game shape.
While the East is on the rise, it is important for the Celtics to understand that they are in a position to win now and should continue to try and do so.
A Clear Road This Postseason
With the Chicago Bulls losing a step without Derrick Rose and having had success against the Miami Heat this regular season, the Celtics are wide-eyed and ready to make a run at an NBA championship.
If the Celtics make a deep run at an NBA championship and find themselves getting to the conference finals or even the NBA Finals, there is no question Ainge and the team have to consider re-signing both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen next season.
It may be costly, yet at the end of the day the championships are what matter when considering a team, player or coach's legacy. If Rivers and company know what's best for them, a deep playoff run this season will be a major indicator that this team needs to stay together next season.