It has been an offseason of major change for head coach Doc Rivers and his Boston Celtics, but top-notch acquisitions have this team championship bound.
Adding Jason Terry and Courtney Lee as well as re-signing Jeff Green during this offseason are moves that have the Boston Celtics in title contention. Each of these players brings his own individual set of skills to the table that helps fill voids in this team.
Not to mention that, with the departure of Ray Allen, it is more than safe to say that Rajon Rondo is now set to take the ropes in Beantown for good.
Terry was acquired via free agency after Ray Allen left for the Miami Heat. Lee was also signed as a free agent and, according to Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Marc J. Spears, was worth just over $5 million per year:
Guard Courtney Lee lands a four-year, $21.5 million fully guaranteed deal from the Celtics in sign and trade deal, source tells Y! Sports.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 20, 2012
Green, a prolific defender at the SF spot who played with Boston in the 2010-11 season, was re-signed after missing the entire 2010-11 season.
The combination of these three talents as well as a refreshed leader of the troops has these Celtics ready to do work in the East next season. There might be a LeBron James-led Miami Heat, as well as Derrick Rose and his Chicago Bulls, but there is no counting out Boston with this new-look roster.
These are the three things Celtics fans must take note of with this team's new roster to start out the 2012-13 season.
Have No Fear, Rajon Rondo Is Here
Like Superman is to the city of Metropolis, PG Rajon Rondo is this Celtics team.
The 2011-12 season was proof that Rajon Rondo was not only the most talented player on the team; this top-notch point guard was the outright leader of this team.
Ray Allen and Rondo apparently had their issues with each other, yet it was Rondo who stayed and Allen who departed. Both players were once subjects of trade rumors over the last couple of seasons, but it is Rondo who stayed in Boston—not Allen.
Last season, Rondo was as solid as he could have been with his passes. He was easily as prolific as any point guard in the game in this regard. Rondo posted a league-best 11.7 assists per game and averaged 3.6 turnovers per game.
He will have veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to help the first unit get going, and the help of top-notch scorers off the bench in Jason Terry and Courtney Lee, as well.
Avery Bradley Set to Step Up the Offensive Production
Rivers is a firm believer in defense winning championships, but the truth is that Bradley's offense needs to pick up in order for him to keep his starting role.
Bradley surely must use this offseason to become a more aggressive player offensively and look to take the ball to the basket. Both Courtney Lee and Jason Terry will be major threats off the bench. Therefore, the more Bradley struggles offensively, the more inclined Rivers will be to consider Lee or Terry instead.
Last season, Bradley averaged 7.6 points per game and 49.8 percent shooting but took just over six shots per contest. He takes smart shots and finishes well at the basket, but the team will need to see more of the scoring talent that he possesses next season.
Make no mistake about it, Bradley is a defensive hound. He provides the most complete skill set defensively of any player on the Celtics roster, including Kevin Garnett.
But unless he can step up the production on offense, Rivers will have to go to Lee or Terry for more minutes.
Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Jeff Green Will Be Rondo's Lifeline
The Boston Celtics will go as far as Terry, Lee and Green take them. There's no question about it.
Acquiring Jason Terry was a move that Rivers and company made in order to fill the void left by the departure of Ray Allen. Much like Allen, Terry is a knockdown three-point shooter and has what ESPN First Take star Skip Bayless would call "the clutch gene."
Last season, Terry's 15.1 points per game were the fourth best of any player coming off the bench for the year. His 37.8 percent shooting from three-point range was the best since he posted a mark of 43.8 percent in the 2006-07 season with the Dallas Mavericks.
Talk about impressive.
If anything, this 34-year old brings more of an ability to take the ball to the rim than Allen did. Terry has a deadly mid-range jumper and can get to his spots quickly with his first step. Not to mention, he has missed just eight games in the last three seasons, while Allen dealt with injury to close out last year.
As great as Terry is on the offensive end of the floor, it will be the ability of Lee and Green to contribute on both ends that will help Rondo the most.
Time and time again, Rondo was faced with a second unit that was unable to produce points and had little presence defensively. Often times, Rivers had to insert Rondo into the second lineup, as well, just to help make up the skill lost between rotations.
Having Green and Lee on the perimeter to play defense is crucial. The two also boast solid shooting touches offensively and will be able to contribute there as well for Rondo.
If there's a player at the PG spot that makes others better, it's Rondo. He will have to do this with Lee and Green on the offensive end by getting them into spots where they can flourish.
Having all three of these players—Terry, Lee and Green—adding to this team's arsenal is a step in the right direction for Rondo's career.
Since a 2008 championship, the Celtics have lacked enough of a bench unit to win an NBA title, yet Boston now has precisely the right pieces to help Rondo brings another championship to Beantown.
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