Apparently, this season's NBA Finals have already been set. Ninety-five percent of NBA followers believe we will be seeing the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat face off next June for the championship. Not if Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics have anything to do about it.
First off, let me list all the reasons why the Heat will not make it to the Finals this year:
- One Too Many Superstars
Sometimes a team full of superstars isn't the greatest thing. Everyone wants to shine, not everyone can though. It all comes down to whether Dwyane Wade and Lebron James can find their roles on this team and be able to work well with each other.
- Starting Point Guard: Carlos Arroyo
Who? A team with scorers such as Wade and LBJ need a quality PG who can drive and dish. Unfortunately, Arroyo is not that. Even head coach Erik Spoelestra admits that Arroyo is the starter mainly to guard his counterpoint. To win a championship, you're going to need a little more than defense from your 1-man.
- Chris Bosh
Bosh isn't a reason that the Heat won't win the championship, I'm just mentioning him because I cannot stand how overrated he is. Yes, we all knew his statistics would decline alongside James and Wade, but the guy has been "fair" his entire career. He averaged 22 PPG for a Toronto team that literally had no one else. Not to mention they managed to win only a handful of games each year.
- The Boston Celtics
The No.1 reason why the Miami Heat will not make the NBA Finals this season.
We've already seen The Big Three (of Boston, that is) win an NBA championship. Now, they need to be referred to as the Fab Four as Rajon Rondo has emerged as an elite point guard despite his lack of shooting ability.
That 2007-08 Celtics team truly was special. They had a trio of sharpshooters in Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Eddie House that could seal a win with a jumpshot. They had the psychomaniac/reliable scorer in Kevin Garnett. They had the big man in the paint that could send shots the other way in Kendrick Perkins. They had the guard that always seemed to find the open man in Rajon Rondo.
This season's Celtics still start four from that championship team (no Kendrick Perkins). The addition of Shaquille and Jermaine O'Neal give this Boston team more experience as they continue on their quest for another world championship.
Let's take a look at this year's Celtics' roster:
- Rajon Rondo, PG*
As I said earlier, Rondo is an elite point guard in the NBA. Rondo drives to the basket as well as anyone and can dish it too. Head coach Doc Rivers calls Rondo "One of the smartest players he's been around." Don't forget Rondo was a key piece to the Celtics' playoff run last year. Unfortunately, the Lakers were able to contain him en route to an NBA championship.
- Ray Allen, SG*
Arguably the purest shooter in the league, Allen gives the Celtics a deep threat which definitely opens the lane for Rondo to penetrate. Allen manages to get a lot of treys off kicks from Rondo. Allen may be aging, but that should have little effect on this season. In fact, his experience will actually benefit Boston come playoff time.
- Paul Pierce, SF*
Pierce is another player that can stroke it from the outside. Pierce will, once again, lead Boston in scoring (if all goes well), and will play a major role if the Celtics are going to make a playoff run this year.
- Kevin Garnett, PF*
KG brings many different skills to this team. Obviously, the guy can score, as well as rebound. He also can get into opponents' heads (See: Charlie Villanueva). Garnett is undoubtedly the leader of this team. He'll have to continue to lead through the playoffs. Last year, we saw Garnett kind of lose this fire as the Lakers took home the championship.
- Shacquille O'Neal, C*
Let's just say Shaq is not in his prime. His years are numbered. Danny Ainge knows that too. The addition of Shaq was mainly to provide this team with even more experience. O'Neal will be relieved by Jermaine O'Neal and Glen Davis.
This team has all the makings to go all the way. Unfortunately, I don't think the Celtics are going to win the NBA Finals. I do think they'll beat the Heat and face off with the Lakers for the championship, but Kobe Bryant and his crew from LA should prove to be too much for Boston.