Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
In 2011-12, Rajon Rondo proved to be a true leader who is more than capable of taking over the Celtics after the end of the Big Three era. He registered multiple triple-doubles in both the regular and postseason and ended the season with 24 consecutive games of 10 or more assists. In the playoffs, Rondo also debuted a significantly improved jumper. Veteran Keyon Dooling wasn't much of a factor on the court, but still had a strong presence on the team.
Injuries limited Ray Allen for much of the season, including bone spurs in his ankle. While he was sidelined, Avery Bradley filled in as starting shooting guard. Bradley played so well that he kept the starting job after Allen's return. Bradley's aggressive defense, especially along the perimeter, provided the spark the Celtics needed for the second half of the season.
Paul Pierce struggled through various injuries, from his toes to his hip. Although Pierce was still the main offensive option on the Celtics, he was clearly less efficient than previous seasons. His turnovers were the highest they'd been since 2006-07 (2.8), and his field goal percentage was down to 44 percent. Still, Pierce averaged team high 19.4 points. Mickael Pietrus only contributed 6.9 points per game and wasn't much of a factor. Jeff Green sat out the entire season after undergoing heart surgery.
Brandon Bass posted career numbers in his first year with the Celtics, averaging 12.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 0.9 blocks. Although he struggled using his size in the post, he was one of the most consistent players on the team.
After Jermaine O'Neal was injured, the Celtics were lost at the center position. Doc Rivers decision to move Kevin Garnett to center was arguably the turning point in the Celtics' season. While KG wasn't a traditional big man, the position worked for him and he put up his best numbers since 2008-09. He averaged 15.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and one block per game. Backup center Greg Stiemsma didn't get much playing time, but contributed his share of rebounds and blocks.
The Celtics entered the All-Star break two games under .500. However, after a couple roster changes, Boston concluded with a 39-27 record, the best in the league after the recess. Rondo emerged as one of the best point guards in the league, and KG was rejuvenated at center. However, due to lack of depth, the Celtics couldn't keep up with the Miami Heat.