Boston Celtics: Can the Team Survive Without Rajon Rondo?

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIJanuary 30, 2013

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 27: Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics reacts after making the game-winning shot over LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in the second overtime during the game on January 27, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Rajon Rondo is the key to the Boston Celtics, and losing him will leave a huge hole in their roster.  However, the season isn't a complete loss at this point in the year.

The Celtics were devastated to hear the news that Rondo tore his ACL on Sunday, as he has been considered their best player by far this season.  They will now be forced to make the tough decisions as to who will fill in at point guard.

The likely choice to replace Rondo is Avery Bradley.  He has been developing over the past few years as a decent backup, but he will now be forced into the starting lineup with Rondo out.

Bradley will need to focus on distributing the ball more.  Despite averaging 24.7 minutes per game, he is only averaging less than one assist per game.  He will need to get the ball to other scorers, as he will have to understand that he is not in there to score, but to run the offense.

Despite a big hole at the point guard position, the Celtics still have some really good players that they will need to utilize much more.

Paul Pierce has been the center of the Celtics franchise for well over a decade, and it appears that he will be expected to lead the team again through this tough time.  Despite his age, he has still been playing quite well, averaging more than 18 points per game.  His shooting has dropped a bit, but he is still a scorer, and that is something he will need to do more without Rondo.

Kevin Garnett is aging as well, but his numbers are still very solid, especially for a power forward.  While averaging 15 points a game, he is also shooting over 50 percent from the field.  His efficiency is something that the Celtics will desperately need, and hopefully Bradley will find him when he is open.

The most important part of the team without Rondo will be the bench.  Players like Jared Sullinger and Leandro Barbosa will be called upon to pick up more minutes off of the bench and be able to produce at a higher level for the team.  The Celtics are averaging the second-fewest points per game from the bench, and that is a big problem for the team.

Despite the injury, this team is still quite talented.  Doc Rivers will have to keep them focused on the goal of reaching the playoffs.  The team seemed to be quite distracted before the injury, and this might make them refocus.

There may be hope of still making the playoffs.  At 21-23, the Celtics still hold the eighth seed over the Philadelphia 76ers by three games.  The rest of the East is quite weak, which will help the Celtics big time by the end of the year.

Being realistic, even if the Celtics make the playoffs, this team won't make it much further after that.  They will likely lose in the first round against a team like the Miami Heat or New York Knicks.

This may be the last season we see Pierce or Garnett, so it would not be surprising to see the organization begin trading away veterans for young players to prepare to build around Rondo.  However, if they decide not to, they still have a shot of at least making the playoffs this year.