With the exciting offseason in the past, fans want to know what all the moves mean for the Celtics. There have been some major changes in Boston, but what impact will they have on the 2012-13 season?
General manager Danny Ainge always has a plan, and this season is no different. Despite the departure of core player Ray Allen, the Celtics will be a better team than last year's. The puzzle pieces may be a little different, but ultimately, they still fit together.
Understandably, Celtics fans have a lot of questions that need answers. The following key points should make the last stretch until the season opener a little more bearable.
At one point during the offseason, it was uncertain whether Kevin Garnett would return to Boston. He ultimately decided to rejoin the C's and take another shot at a title.
Celtics fans need to know that the veteran Big Ticket still has the skills to dominate. Although his legs are older and his body tires faster than it used to, Garnett can still dominate in the paint and his jump shot is still beautiful.
Last season, when Doc Rivers moved Garnett to the starting center position, the veteran was rejuvenated. He was arguably one of their most important players in the 2012 playoffs, putting up 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. If Garnett brings back that same energy in the 2012-13 season, fans have nothing to worry about.
Doc Rivers is known for giving his rookies low minutes during games. That will have to change in 2012-13 if the Celtics plan on being a top team in the East.
It's imperative for the C's to use new strategies to win this year. The Celtics bench is already significant, but the rookies will play key roles on this team.
First, rookie Fab Melo is third on the depth chart at the center position, behind Kevin Garnett and Jason Collins. The former Syracuse star has the potential to succeed in the NBA, but he needs game experience. The same applies for Jared Sullinger, who showed off his NBA potential in the Las Vegas Summer League.
Fans have to realize that some significant strategic changes will be made, starting with the amount of playing time the rookies get. The Celtics must find new ways to win, and the talented rookies are just one option.
Over the summer, Celtics fans were shocked to find out fan favorite Ray Allen was taking his talents to South Beach. Thankfully, Danny Ainge already had a few replacements in mind.
At just 21 years old, Avery Bradley managed to earn the starting spot at shooting guard over Allen. When Allen was set back with an ankle injury, Bradley was able to lead the team with his tough defense and make waves around the league.
Along with Rondo, Bradley is the future of the Boston Celtics. He's young, consistent and amazing at perimeter defense. He also has a decent jump shot. Upon his return from surgery in December, look out for Bradley to become one of the C's most pivotal players.
In addition to Bradley, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry will also serve as reliable replacements for Allen. Both Lee and Terry are consistent scorers who can create their own shots, unlike Allen who struggled in that department last year.
Overall, the Celtics will be just fine without Ray Allen.
Now that the Big Three era in Boston is over, Rajon Rondo is the leader of the Celtics. While veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett may be the emotional leaders, Rondo's game will make or break the Celtics this season.
However, Boston fans don't need to worry. It's almost certain that Rondo will rise up to the occasion in 2012-13. After last year's 11.9 points and 11.7 assists per game, Rondo's name has been added to the list of top point guards in the league. He only seems to be getting better with no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Rondo is a fantastic facilitator who excels at making his teammates better at their roles. This season, we may see the point guard become more of a scorer as well. His mid-range jump shot is steadily improving. Although passing is still the first priority, a consistent jumper for Rondo would propel him and his team to a new level.
The Celtics' second unit holds the key to the team's success in 2012-13. Although the starting five is naturally important, the bench will determine whether the Celtics win or lose.
It seems like every year the Celtics tear apart their bench and rebuild it from scratch. Between injuries and sub-par play, rebuilding was the only solution. However, last season, we saw a few bench players make big strides in the opposite direction. Both Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley began the season on the bench and ended the regular season as starters.
Celtics fans should be optimistic about this year's second unit. The outstanding performances from Bass and Bradley were only the beginning. The addition of Jason Terry and Jared Sullinger is a huge step in the right direction.
Terry will lead the Celtics second until in 2012-13. The former Sixth Man of the Year provides reliable offense and consistent production, which is exactly what the bench lacked in previous seasons. Terry has enough experience to take on this role. The veteran needs to step up to the plate and give the bench the offensive boost that held them back last year.