By now, I’m sure your Twitter account has near exploded with the countless updates on today’s damning news that Rajon Rondo will in fact miss the remainder of the 2012-13 season with a torn ACL. So after googling how to tie a strong knot or the closest bridge to you, assuredly it has crossed your mind as to what the Celtics will do now without their starting point guard. Regardless of the path they choose, this will be a highly debated topic, one that will likely be looked back and criticized for years by many regardless of the path they choose to go. But lets face it, today will be a day that will be marked as THE turning point for the franchise. It is the first domino to fall in what is certain to be many more in coming weeks as the future of the Celtics is played out before our eyes.
So what do the Celtics do now? Where do we go from here? I’ve wrapped things up (at least in my head) to three logical routes the Celtics can go from here lets take a look and debate each:
Yes, believe it or not this is actually an option here. For those that watched Sundays victory over the Miami Heat, we actually saw the tough, grit and balls Celtics that we have all been dying to see show up and earn an overtime victory over one of the best in the game. Remember when Kevin Garnett went down with his knee injury and all was lost? That Celtics team took the eventual Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic to 7 games, and quite frankly deserved to win that series.
If there is ever a team that when backed into a corner, with nobody believing in them anymore that I would put my money on, it is a team lead by Doc Rivers, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Yes, the leaders of this team have been quiet and criticized over the past few weeks, but if there is ever a time that their competitive juices will flare up and make one last push, now would be the time.
Think about it, how many times have the Boston Celtics been down for the count with every member of the media? Remember in 2010 when almost every member of an ESPN “Expert” Panel chose Cleveland, Orlando, and LA to beat the Celtics in their respective series? The flip the switch year, the knee injury year, the too old year. They’ve always found a way to dig deep when it matters and at least give us an honest effort, why would this be any different?
Staying the course would mean to likely add another piece or two to make up for the loss of Rondo. Mike Bibby and Gilbert Arenas are both free agents, though Arenas is playing in China and may find difficulty getting out of there if the Celtics were interested. Delonte West is in the NBADL now and presents an interesting option for retreads, as does Bill Walker (though not a PG). Trade options could be guys like Jose Calderon, and players of that caliper. Not going to get rich by selling scraps, but will certainly be able to find a serviceable point guard that can make things work until the end of the year.
Staying the course is by far the most gutsy of the three choices, it makes the boldest statement but will by far be the hardest one to make work both in the short and long term.
Already saw a great deal of talk about this on the Twitter world. I can see where many think this is the best route. The Celtics are now left with an aging Kevin Garnett as their leader, as well as another aging vet in Paul Pierce as their second in command (yes a bold statement putting Pierce second). They have young-ish assets in Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass as well as true prospects in Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley, and Fab Melo. In any scenario the Celtics would like to hang on to Bradley and Sully but would assuredly move them if it brought in the right chip. But if a combination of Pierce and Bradley brought in a marquee player, how do you say no? Blowing it up here would mean getting rid of assets both young and old to get a big name to build around in the future.
Names I could see are Al Jefferson, Rudy Gay, Josh Smith and yes…even Dwight Howard. A bubble team like Detroit, Dallas, or Minnesota could be looking to add one more vet to make a push for the playoffs, which is the mostly likely of trade partners. There will certainly be rumors popping up all over the place in coming days and these are just mere suggestions to consider if the Blow It Up scenario is your weapon of choice here.
Build Around The Young Guns:
This is an interesting choice, one of the most complex I’d say. The Celtics do have a realistic option of building the team back around the young guns that they already have. The untradeables in this situation would be Bradley, Sullinger, Rondo (due to injury), and either Lee or Melo. Gone would be the older assets of Terry, Pierce, and Garnett. The Celtics would also have to use Bass, Barbosa, and either Lee or Melo as a bargaining chip in any deal that would bring the Celtics a serviceable young player or picks. Building around the young guns gives the Celtics three starting five quality players already, and the potential to land a few more with picks or developing players that they may land in a trade.
The Celtics would benefit from taking a risk on a player like Andre Drummond, Marquis Teague ,Bismack Biyombo, or Kawhi Leonard. Guys of that caliber, while not superstars, could fit in nicely as key pieces to a brighter future.
So what do you think the Celtics should do? Personally, the best route right now would be to build around the young guns, stock up picks and start a rebuild, but my heart tells me to not count this team out just yet. After counting them out last year, I learned my lesson. I’m going with stay the course and having a little faith in our seasoned veterans.