The Celtics took a chance by selecting Jared Sullinger in the first round of the draft. Has it paid off so far, and what kind of impact will the rookie have down the road for Doc Rivers?
Sullinger was a force of nature for Ohio State during his college days, averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds as a freshman and 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds as a sophomore before entering the draft that summer.
Despite concerns about his back, which ultimately caused his draft sock to drop (Sullinger would have been a lottery pick had he come out after his freshman year), the Celtics decided to take a chance on the talented big man.
Sullinger hasn’t had many chances to prove he can compete in the NBA on a consistent basis, but there have been some promising early signs. Right now Sullinger is behind Brandon Bass for the starting spot at the four, with Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox also cutting into his minutes here and there.
The Celtics have been up-and-down through the first three weeks of the season, but you still know they’re going to be right there in the thick of the playoff race come season’s end.
Boston has had to contend with a brutal opening schedule so far. They just finished a crazy stretch in which they played seven games in ten days, and that included road matchups against Milwaukee, Chicago, Brooklyn and Detroit.
The Celtics will be more than pleased to return home, and have a few days of rest, before hosting the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. Their two games during the week, against the Spurs and then the Oklahoma City Thunder, are about as tough as it gets though.
Still, Boston is a veteran-laded team and they know what it takes to reach the postseason.
Rajon Rondo does things on the court many dream of. He will never win a 3-point contest or run a kids basketball camp on how to shoot correctly, but the man is fun to watch. His recent achievements are historic.
Rondo has his eye on breaking Magic Johnson’s NBA record for consecutive regular-season games with double-digit assists. Johnson respectively had 46 games in row followed by John Stockton with 37. Rondo is currently at 34. He’s had some close calls including Sunday’s game where barely dished out 10 assists, mostly because of rookie Jared Sullinger and his 4th quarter outburst of 14 points. The Celtics are trying to find themselves and the Eastern conference is still very unpredictable. To check their odds it’s good to use NBA betting at Top Bet (click here for more information).
But with everything going on even coach Doc Rivers is on board with Rondo chasing the record. Here is his quote from ESPN:
“Why not? You guys keep talking about it, so I figured I’d give him a shot at it,” Rivers said of intentionally gunning to extend Rondo’s streak. “It’s funny, the harder they tried, the worse we got at that. What did it come down to — what, 50 seconds or something? Jared made two jumpers. I think Jared gave him it, so that was good. When I called the timeout I said, ‘Guys, we’re going to lose the game, by the way. Let’s not play crazy, but if we can get him two more, let’s do it. If not, that’s it.’ First time we’ve done that.”
Only 5 games into the season it is way to early to panic about this team or jump off the bandwagon. I said this at the beginning of the season. We need to wait about 20 games to really see where this team is going and make a judgement to whether or not they have a title run in them.
The good part about this Celtics team is undoubtedly the play of start point guard Rajon Rondo. Rondo is averaging a double-double a game and as every person that talks Celtics knows, this team will only go as far as he does.
Leandro Barbosa has been a great surprise so far and is filling in nicely with instant offense off the bench backing up Rondo. Barbosa hopefully will continue to play well until Avery Bradley can return. The bad, but not so ugly yet has been Jason Terry. Terry is a guy I look at that has had a slow transition into this Boston offense. Besides having a good game last night against the Bulls and coming up with some big shots in the 4th he has been below average off the bench. Playing a starting role could be the way to go with Terry as he seems comfortable playing with Rondo, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce.
Brandon Bass had his starting roll taken away from him for a short time before getting it back. This was a good move by Doc Rivers to light a fire up his you no what and Bass has responded with a nice few games against the Wizards, Bucks, and Bulls. Hopefully this will make Bass realize his spot is up for grabs and he has to play hard every time he is on the floor or rookie Jared Sullinger will be right there to step in and take those minutes.
The Celtics started out the new season with two straight losses, but they’ve bounced back and won four of their last five ahead of Wednesday’s home game against the Utah Jazz.
Who have been the key contributors to the cause so far?
You’ve got to start with Paul Pierce, who’s really taken over and become the nightly scoring threat we were accustomed to seeing. Pierce is averaging a team-best 20.8 points per game and is also chipping elsewhere, averaging 6.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.50 steals per contest as well.
Then there’s his trusty old pal, Kevin Garnett, who continues to be effective despite a dip in minutes. KG is averaging 16.0 points and 8.7 rebounds so far this season and continues to play some of the NBA’s best defense in the post. Plus, Garnett’s tenacity and intensity rubs off on his teammates and makes them all more involved as well.
Paul Pierce, despite being 35 years of age, continues to be the heart and soul of this Boston Celtics team. Read on for an update on how he’s been doing through the early stages of the new season.
There were a lot of questions surrounding Boston over the offseason. Would the Big Four stay together? Was it time for Kevin Garnett to leave town?
In the end, only Ray Allen left, leaving Pierce, Garnett and Rajon Rondo as the new Big Three in Beantown. Management surrounded the trio with some fresh blood and the future seems bright for the Celtics.
Pierce is a big reason why. Having to assume an even bigger role in the offense, he’s come up with some great efforts, and we’re only three games into the season. He’s averaging 20.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 3.3 APG.
The stage is set for another successful season out of the Boston Celtics, a team that’s managed to round out its roster with some younger pieces, yet still was able to maintain its veteran core.
Rajon Rondo, while still only 26 years old, has become a part of that core, as he’s teamed up with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to give the Celtics a Big Three over the past few seasons.
Rondo’s pass-first mentality and toughness on both ends of the court is essential to Boston’s success, and if the point guard can continue to develop his offensive repertoire, namely his shooting stroke, the Celtics are going to be a tough out for everybody.
The guard out of Kentucky averaged 11.9 PPG, 11.7 APG, 4.8 RPG and 1.8 SPG last season, and could very well improve on his numbers if he’s able to stay healthy.