Keeping your expectations low – and realistic - will be truly essential to be able to enjoy the next Celtics season of basketball and not need to have a drink beside you every game. The team has no star player other than Rondo, who will most certainly be out till at least December. The Celtics are full of solid players but not many who can actually win a basketball game by themselves.
This is why the Celtics will be bad and why we should expect them to be bad. Looking for Jeff Green to become the copy of LeBron James just isn’t very realistic guys. Ben Rohrbach of WEEI stated nicely what next season will be about:
If Rondo returns in December, if Jeff Green cements himself as a legitimate second banana, if Wallace regains some semblance of his 2010 All-Star form, if (as expected) Humphries plays for his next contract, if Bradley and Jared Sullinger take steps forward, if Kelly Olynyk emerges as a Rookie of the Year candidate and if Vitor Faverani’s El Hombre Indestructible nickname translates — and that’s a whole lotta ifs — then the Heat, Bulls, Nets, Pacers and probably Knicks are still better.
Without Rondo, this a lottery team, plain and simple, and Tuesday night’s loss to the Nets was a reminder why. The Celtics once again fielded a point guard patchwork of Avery Bradley, Jordan Crawford and Phil Pressey against the Nets. In other words, a guy Doc Rivers wasted a year and a half trying to turn into a point guard before finally unleashing him as an undersized 2 guard whose offense thrives off the ball (corner 3’s, backdoor layups), a guy with almost as many career turnovers as assists and a guy Cedric Maxwell pegged at 5-foot-8 during the television broadcast.
In previous seasons, Pierce acted as facilitator in Rondo’s absence, just as he did Tuesday in place of Deron Williams. That’s how the Celtics survived so long without Rondo last season, and they just don’t have anyone else capable of regularly creating baskets in close-game situations on this roster.
The Celtics aren’t in to win basketball games and raise a banner this season. They probably aren’t in to make it to the playoffs either. They’re in to build something.
That’s where your expectations should go. Even if the team is losing, are they looking like they got something interesting cooking up there? Has Kelly Olynyk reduced his silly rookie fouls? Has Avery made some more decent passes? Has Crawford lowered his bad shot selection? Has Lee been more comfortable with his shot? Has Vitor Faverani set nice screens and rolled to the basket?
That’s on what we should all focus on next season. If you focus merely on the win and loss columns you’ll get frustrated quick. Expectations need to be well managed next season in order to keep enjoying the team.
Rohrbach also includes a nice positive way to look at the thing:
That’s not to say this won’t be an entertaining winter. This group may be more talented than the 2006-07 edition that played hard despite missing its superstar for chunks of the season and produced a four-time All-Star point guard, a two-time First Team All-Defense selection, a starting center on a title team, a slam dunk champion and a bunch of pieces that turned into Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
While that group won only 24 games, Pierce, Rondo, Tony Allen, Kendrick Perkins, Gerald Green,Al Jefferson, Delonte West & Co. were worth the price of admission, especially at $10 a balcony ticket, and made the following season that much sweeter.
Just enjoy the season.