Boston Celtics: 8 Reasons This Team Can Win It All Next Season
The Boston Celtics have put together a deep run in the 2012 playoffs, yet can this team do the same in 2013?
With Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo coming back next season, there is a plethora of hope for this championship tested team to do big things. As the Big Three continue to near their final seasons in the league, the Celtics known next season could well be this team's last shot at a title if they come up short this postseason.
Here are eight reasons why the Celtics are poised to compete for an NBA championship in the 2012-13 season.
Jeff Green Set to Play in 2012-13, Prefers Boston
Losing Jeff Green to heart issues was a major loss for the Boston Celtics this season, yet it is said he will be ready to play come next season.
According to CBS Sport's injury update, as recent as May 20, Green has not only been listed as probable for the start of the 2012-13 season but also has particular interest in returning to the team next season. He is set to be an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of this postseason.
Without Green in the lineup Paul Pierce was left to play a significant greater chunk of minutes throughout the season, and has been forced to play big minutes in the playoffs as well. With the exception of Marquis Daniels there isn't a player on the Celtics team capable of playing small forward minutes to give Pierce rest.
A Team That Preaches Defense
Since the team's 2007-08 championship run, it has been clear that defense has been and will continue to be the priority in Beantown.
This past season the team ranked No. 2 in the NBA in points allowed per contest. Each of the last five seasons the team has ranked in the top-five in opponents points per game, ranking as high as No. 1 in the 2010-11 season.
Regardless of the fact the veteran Big Three are entering their final seasons in the league, Rivers has had his players buy into putting forth the greater emphasis on the defensive end in order to win basketball games. Getting stops and making the most of these opportunities on offense is the strategy this team lives by.
Two First Round Selections
In this 2012 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics will have both the No. 21 and No. 22 selections in the first round.
As the Celtics are lacking in size, there is no question the team will make a strong push to grab solid big men in this draft.
Expect the team to take a good look at players like seven-footer Fab Melo out of Syracuse or Andrew Nicholson from St. Bonaventure. Picking up a solid big man to play minutes immediately upon entering the league would save the Celtics cap room and give them a much needed boost in the front-line rotation.
Room to Work with in Free Agency
The Celtics will head into the 2012 offseason with 10 of their players becoming free agents, as there is no question this will be an especially busy summer for the team.
Chris Kaman, New Orleans Hornets center, is one of several targets at the center position the Celtics organization should take note of. A player like Kaman would bring strong veteran leadership at the position as well as a plethora of skill on both ends.
Expect the team to make plenty of signing talks this offseason and be on the prowl constantly this offseason for top free agents.
Kevin Garnett Can Still Play When Healthy
The 2012 postseason was the ultimate test for Kevin Garnett, and he passed with ease.
Going into the playoffs, Danny Ainge knew that the Big Ticket and Ray Allen were set to be free agents next season. Having observed them through two and half rounds, it is safe to say Garnett has exceeded Ainge and the organization's expectations.
Garnett has upped his averages from 15.8 points to 19.5 points and 8.2 to 10.8 rebounds per game. Talk about some impressive production from a talent who has put forth the most consistent basketball for this team in the playoffs.
A Top-Tier Head Coach
Celtics fans: have no fear, the doctor is still here and running the show.
Doc Rivers is as poised, proven and powerful a head coach as these Celtics could ask for. With the exception of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, it is hard to argue there is a better coach out there.
Rivers has proven he can win games, as the Celtics have been sure fire championship contenders each of the last five seasons. Keeping Rivers in Beantown is a significant step towards having this team compete next season.
The Truth Set to Rock Green and White
Despite the plethora of talks surrounding the end of the Big Three, one thing is for certain.
Paul Pierce will be a member of the Boston Celtics for the 2012-13 season, as he is currently under contract with the team through the next two seasons. Pierce is set to make approximately 32 million dollars during those two years.
Having Pierce in Boston puts this team in instant contention, as he is a proven leader that knows how to guide the troops on both ends of the floor. Pierce has been able to have the Celtics winning games since joining the league and his leadership will be especially valued next season.
Point Guard of the Future
A stellar Game 2 performance in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat was the icing on the cake to what has been a season to remember.
It was a game in which Rondo dropped a game-high 44 points on 16-for-24 shooting, dished out 10 assists and grabbed eight rebounds after playing all 53 minutes of the game. These numbers had never been reached by any player in NBA postseason history.
Talk about a performance for the ages.
This season, Rondo finished with an impressive league-high and career-best 11.7 assists per game. Offensively, he was able to run the troops as well as he has his entire career this season.
With a championship to his name, a shot at another this season, and being just 26 years old, fans can expect Rondo to stay put in Beantown.