The Boston Celtics are coming off their ninth straight loss and are currently in the basement of the Eastern Conference with a 13-26 record. Boston would have themselves a nice lottery pick if the season ended today, but for now, the long anticipated return of Rajon Rondo may occur as early as Friday. Rondo has been inactive for about a year now since he tore his ACL. His return could either help the Celtics, help his trade value or give time for teams around the league to assess just how good Rondo is.
The 27-year-old point guard has been surrounded by star-caliber players since his second year, his first year as a starter. Even in his rookie year he played with Paul Pierce. However, no one of Pierce’s caliber is on the Celtics now, even though we all want Jeff Green to be that guy. Without stars surrounding Rondo, it’ll be interesting to see how effective he will be. Don’t expect the Celtics to do much better than how they are performing now. Yes, Green and Jared Sullinger will have more scoring opportunities, but they are not the type of players Rondo will have success with. Of course, Rondo does finally have athletic players that can run with him in transition. It’ll certainly be fun to see him on the court again.
It is unfair to expect the reigning assists leader will be the same player he was the last few years. The four-time All-Star will need a lot of time to get back to speed and fully trust that knee. Derrick Rose had an extremely slow start when he came back for the Chicago Bulls after his return from an ACL tear. Expect a similar situation and a less-than-impressive Rondo for the first few weeks or so.
In the next month or so, Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens will be watching Rondo very closely to see whether or not he is the guy they want to build around. Ainge could either attempt to bring All-Stars to Boston to complement Rondo or he could trade the point guard for younger assets and draft picks. I choose the latter. I would rather take a shot at a lottery pick and have plethora of young talent. The goal is to bring a championship to Boston once again. In order to do so, the Celtics must be bad and miss the playoff for at least a year, with or without Rondo. How Rondo performs will be relevant concerning other teams’ interest and his own trade value.
For now, Rondo will not have a big impact on the Celtics’ success this season, but let’s hope he plays like the star he used to be.