3 Reasons to Believe in the Boston Celtics
After an offseason that saw eight new players added to the roster, including Jason Terry and his claims of being a part of the best bench in the league with the Celtics, much was expected of the 2012 Celtics.
Despite the playoff run last season and this squad's new tools, the C's have found themselves hovering around .500 all season and next to the bottom of the Atlantic Division.
As much of a determent as the slow start has been, the Celtics are not in too bad of shape heading into a three-day break before taking on the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night. There are reasons to get down on the Celtics' slow start, but there are reasons to believe that the Celtics are going to be fine as the season progresses.
Rondo Is Back to Playing a Balanced Game
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Rondo spent the first part of the season chasing records first and wins second. With the assist streak record behind him, Rondo has already shown that he is going to look to be evenly involved in every aspect of the game, especially scoring the ball.
For the Celtics to win games, they need Rondo to pound the paint when he has a lane and, perhaps more importantly, give the defense a reason to not sag off of him.
It is not widely known that Rondo's shooting percentage is among the best of all guards in the league this season, so when Rondo gets an open look from mid-range he should be taking the shot.
Jeff Green Is Starting to Show Signs of Consistency
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Jeff Green is coming off a yearlong absence from basketball, but a that shouldn't be keeping him from playing a high-level game this season, especially considering his four-year, $36 million deal he signed in the offseason.
Green got off to a slow start this season, frequently seeming timid during his time on the court and seeming nonexistent.
As of late, however, Green has been showing that he can be the go-to guy when Pierce is off the floor. Green was brought to Boston to be the man that runs with Rondo in transition and who can sustain the offense when the 35-year-old Pierce comes off the floor.
Green has done that this season, but in spurts. In the past two games, however, Green has been in double digits in points, grabbed a share of boards and been hitting the three with regularity, going 4-of-6 from downtown over those two contests with the Sixers.
Avery Bradley Is Coming Back
While the exact date of Avery Bradley's return is still in question, the third-year guard is expected to return within the next month.
Bradley's return to the Celtics' starting lineup is huge for the team in more than one way. For one, Bradley is an absolute terror on defense. His smothering on-ball pressure keeps the other teams from easy assists and gives Rondo an opportunity to float around the court, picking pockets and helping in double teams.
Bradley can also score with consistency. He shot nearly 50 percent from the floor last season, with most of his looks coming from the back-door cutter or the mid-range jumper.The Celtics have found themselves relying on one hot hand frequently this season, and with another quality scorer on the floor they will be just that much better offensively.
Lastly, his return to the starting lineup means Jason Terry will be able to return to the sixth-man role that he is most comfortable with. Terry, a former Sixth Man of the Year, announced early in the season that he would do anything Doc Rivers asked him to do, including team laundry, but his best contributions to the Celtics will be off of the bench.