How the Boston Celtics' Offseason Additions Will Allow Rajon Rondo to Thrive
Ray Allen is a Celtic no more, and with his departure came the inevitable task of finding a similar player who could stretch the court just by being on the floor. However, the Celtics did just that, adding some key pieces in the draft and through free agency that should help ease the pain of Allen's trip south.
Boston added former Dallas Mavericks sixth-man Jason Terry, the noted fourth-quarter marksman and high-volume shooter who helped the Mavs to the championship in 2011. Along with his offensive prowess comes a big mouth, which should fit right in with Kevin Garnett.
If Terry were the only replacement for Allen, the C's would still be in good position with an Avery Bradley-Terry rotation. But finding a way to add Courtney Lee as depth at both shooting guard and small forward was another low-key move that should pay huge dividends for the sometimes stagnant offense in Boston.
Throw in draft picks Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger, the reacquisition of Chris Wilcox and the return (though not official) of Jeff Green, and suddenly Boston looks better than the team that took the eventual champion Miami Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals less than two months ago.
So what does it all mean for the self-proclaimed "best point guard in the league"? Rondo certainly puts up the kind of numbers to back up his claim, and if you look at the final standings, Boston was the best team in the East behind the Heat.
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Losing Allen is going to be rough during the first part of the season. If you look at both of his replacements schematically, both Terry and Lee are more isolation players than Ray-Ray's "run through five screens and shoot" approach.
But the rest of the offense is primed to be better right away, especially with Green's return from a heart condition that kept him out of the league in 2012. Don't sleep on Wilcox either, as he is a scrappy big man who will run the floor and be on the end of some nice feeds on the fast break.
From an X's and O's standpoint, Rondo should love running with Terry in transition. Terry loves the 18-foot jump shot, pulling no punches about when he shoots it on the break. Lee was a 40 percent three-point shooter, and he'll benefit from the drive and dish when Rondo is able to break down the defense.
Additionally, after finding a nice two-man game with Brandon Bass last season, look for that to be even more deadly this year. Bass and Green should split the majority of the minutes at the 4, allowing Garnett to return to center again, where he put up Defensive Player of the Year-type numbers and minutes.
Another situation you might see late in games is Terry handling the ball in a pick-and-roll situation with Garnett, who loves the 20-foot jumper almost as much as Terry's former teammate Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas.
If the C's want Terry to close games at the offensive end, they'll lose some playmaking with the ball out of Rondo's game. But don't forget about the guard's penchant for rebounding, where he'll likely wreak havoc on the weak-side glass against weaker guards.
If you look at this new-look Celtics team, at least on paper, they'll have the weapons both from long-range and in transition to mesh well with their All-Star point guard.
The scary thing is, I haven't even mentioned Paul Pierce yet.
Of course, injuries and inconsistency are bound to strike. They always do. Age has to be taken into account too, as Boston could leapfrog Dallas and possibly New York as the league's oldest team come October.
But the man who feels he is the best at his position won't be able to make excuses if he isn't running the show with success next season. Rondo is the unquestioned floor leader on offense for Boston, and we'll see if these new acquisitions can help him continue to put up Oscar Robertson-type numbers, and more importantly, Boston wins.
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