BOSTON- The Boston Celtics off season has been much talked about in NBA circles. The Boston Celtics truly bolstered a team that was a few correct calls by David Stern‘s corrupt henchmen from disposing of the anointed Miami Heat. The team resigned Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox, and Keyon Dooling. The Celtics also added Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, and Jason Collins. The draft was even fruitful as they landed a steal in Jared Sullinger and a big man in Fab Melo. This was an offseason for Boston Celtics President Danny Ainge to truly sit back and say to himself I did an incredible job of putting together a group that can win an NBA title.
However, there is a serious case of irony here. The offseason moves by Boston were tremendous and yet none of these men I just mentioned are truly the key to Boston’s success. KG returning is always a big deal. The added depth off the bench will be a boost. The problem is these moves pale in comparison to the importance of one Rajon Rondo‘s development. Rajon’s ability or inability to take the next step in his evolution as a basketball superstar is what will ultimately determine Boston’s fate come playoff time.
The NBA is a superstar driven lead. The team that has its top star performing at an other worldly level normally wins the NBA’s biggest prize. Not every star can carry a team by upping his game to this level rare air of play that can impose his will on an NBA team. Rajon Rondo has the unique talent to be able to be the best player on the court and at times has done just that.
Think I am nuts? All one has to do is look at last season’s Eastern Conference Finals and truly realize how special a player Rajon Rondo can be. The Boston Celtics had zero business nearly knocking off Miami last season. The team’s roster was put together with the equivalent of duct tape and chewing gum. Injuries to Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox, and Jermaine O’Neal had them not at the team’s disposal. Leading scorer Paul Pierce was injured with a sprained MCL. Judas…oops Ray Allen was hobbled by bone spurs in his ankles. Greg Stiemsma the backup center had foot issues. Sixth man Mickael Pietrus had a serious knee injury he was playing on. The only reason Boston pushed them to the brink was the fact Rondo played on another level.
It is zero secret that LeBron James finally played out of his mind with a lot of help from his friends David Stern’s officials letting him play free from those pesky offensive fouls that he commits regularly. However, Rondo matched him in the most important part of the game that stats cannot measure. If you watched the games Rondo carried the offensive tempo of the game like James does. It was Rondo that made play after play. It was Rondo that set the offense and made his walking wounded effective. It was Rondo that carried the offensive scoring load like in game two where he showed that he ever gets a consistent jump shot that he will be in the most dominate player conversation as he poured in forty plus points on a defense geared to shut him down. Had Rondo gotten the foul call in overtime that was so egregiously not called that game two than Boston wins that series and LeBum again goes home empty handed.
If Rajon Rondo takes that next step and becomes the player that he was in the Eastern Conference Finals than the supporting cast that Ainge assembled will be viewed as a successful reloading of the gun. If Rondo does not take that next step, then it does not matter who Boston acquired because they cannot compete with the superstar that is LeBron and Miami. They need Rondo to carry play like few can and ever could to beat the new superstar studded NBA super powers that Boston helped launch. My money is on Rondo being that guy this year in an NBA MVP caliber season. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!