Twelve games left in the regular season: five of them at home and and seven on the road.
We have the chance to snap that losing streak on the road, but we won’t make it to the playoff.
We all knew this was a transition season, and if I have to stop now and look ahead of us, I still think that if things stay the way they are now, the Celtics season is still bright.
First of all, I really trust our head coach.
We said it more than once that what he did this year was something more than just trying to establish himself as our headcoach: Brad started to build a culture, a system based on respect and hard work. It was his first year in the NBA, and he had a team full of new guys in his hands. He showed that he’s worthy of respect even if he’s really young, and that he didn’t come in the league unprepared.
He has the intelligence to understand the players that are in front of him, with their flaws and strength, and he made up a playbook based on the strength of our leader.
Before saying anything, we have to consider the situation in which those stats were developed:
Rajon Rondo come back in January after tearing his ACL last year, 357 days after the injury. He’s getting better and better, and even if he’s not 100 yet, he’s almost averaging a double double with points and assists (whose number is destined to grow by the end of the season I think) and he has more than 5 rebounds per game, which is pretty great for a guard of his size.
The percentage at the end, show how much of the game is determined by this player alone; an average player has a PIE percentage of 10%. It’s amazing to think that Rondo stands at 11.9% as of today, considering that he’s still working his way back from that injury.
He’s been named captain this year, earning his place in the franchise history as the 15th captain in Celtics history; and he earned it on the court, leading by example on and off the court.
Same goes for Bradley: this time he had a healthy off season, but when he’s had his fair amount of problems since the beginning of the season. Moreover, there’s no way to tell what those stats would look like if we consider just the games he played alongside Rondo, but I’m pretty sure they would be a lot better that they are right now.
Moreover, let’s not forget his importance on the defensive end of the floor that can’t be showed on stats.
The only thing that worries me about Bradley is his durability: in the last couple of years he’s had surgery in both his shoulders and problems in his ankle that became kind of worrisome at some point this season.
We haven’t had much chance to see the two of them together this year, and I almost forgot that they have the chance to be one of the best backcourt in the league. If the management will keep them both, we have the chance to have a strong backcourt for many years to come.
We were looking for a good Center since trading Perkins three years ago.
Danny Ainge won another good bet drafting Sullinger with the 21st pick in the 2012 draft: we thought we had a pretty good forward, but we have the chance to have a great center. Jared is a little undersized, but he is physically strong and he’s not afraid to use his strength when we need him to. We just need him to keep his weight under control.
I even expected his rebounds number to be higher honestly: it seems like every time I check he has a double double leading the team in rebounding. And let’s not forget that he’s never played a full season in the NBA before, as his rookie season ended brutally due to a back injury. Moreover, he’s the youngest player on the team but he’s not afraid to take responsibility and he doesn’t shy away from being in charge when we ask him to.
We first saw what this guy could do during the summer league this past off season, but we know that the NBA is a lot harder than every other tournament and there’s no way you can know if you’re going to be a good player until you get in the league. And so far, Kelly showed that he can be a very good player.
After struggling at the beginning of the year, he exploded in the last month playing the best basketball of his young career. The numbers you see above are those of the whole season, because if we look at his numbers since February they would say 9.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 10.3% of PIE.
As I said, the average PIE is 10% and Kelly is just a rookie. Tommy Heinsohn always says that this guy has All-Star potential and while he clearly gets excited a lot about the Celtics, I think he knows what he’s talking about. He’s just a year older than Sullinger, he’s really smart with the ball and physically he has the chance to establish his presence in the paint.
There’s one position left, that can be covered by a player already on the roster, or we can add someone else, maybe a Josh Smith, but let’s keep the hope up Celtics fans: the future looks good.