Rajon Rondo's Absence Forcing Boston Celtics to Reclaim Team-First Identity

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterJanuary 31, 2013

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 11: Jason Terry #4 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after making a three-point shot against the Houston Rockets during the game on January 11, 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

No one player can make up for Rajon Rondo's absence. This one is going to take a total joint effort.

Whether it was a case of the team coming together or just the presence of the Sacramento Kings, the Boston Celtics sure seemed to be clicking on all cylinders Wednesday night. Boston shot 53.4 percent and had three different reserves score in double-figures. It wasn't one guy going off. Every member of the team contributed something to the pot.

Boston has come too far to play for a draft pick. Head coach Doc Rivers is going to maximize whatever talent this roster has left and keep the gears in drive.

The Celtics need to replace a point guard with something other than an individual. None of Boston's backcourt options are natural point guards, and forcing them to be will result in offensive dysfunction.

Instead of trying to turn players like Leandro Barbosa, Avery Bradley and Jason Terry into something they're not, the Celtics have to look for an alternative solution.

There are two delivery methods used for creating open scoring opportunities for teammates: Great point guards and great ball movement.

Since Boston doesn't have any of option one, it will have to resort to patient half-court possessions and constant off-ball movement.

You won't find many things that move faster than Rajon Rondo. But as the great saying goes, the ball moves faster than the man.

Boston will have to value every possession without its best offensive player. Turnovers and forced shots are not in the budget. Paul Pierce can't do it on his own, and if he attempts to, the Celtics will fail.

That ball is going to need to swing around the offense until an open look is available. And when it comes, guys like Jeff Green, Courtney Lee and Jason Terry will need to convert.

This team is going to plummet if they plan on relying on Pierce and Kevin Garnett to combine for 40 to 50 points on a routine basis.

Rivers knows this, and will be sure to implement a game plan that centers around moving the ball and getting everyone involved. Boston will need to turn up every knob on the dashboard to keep its sound from fading.