Celtics Lose Rajon Rondo to ACL Tear: What Next?
What a momentous day it has been. Losing the starting point guard to a torn ACL certainly was not in the books, and when do players put a torn ACL off as a “hamstring injury” and play on anyway? Remember the Wade elbow last time? Rondo is a tough guy, period.
Without Rondo, what does the team do now? It all comes down to Boston GM Danny Ainge at this point, and he has stated that it all boils down to the deals on the table.
“In our situation, you can’t just philosophically say, ‘We’re going to do this,’ ” Ainge told Yahoo! Sports. “You have to tell me what it is. You have to tell me what opportunities we have.”
“Here’s the thing: If I wanted to say, ‘Hey, let’s play for the future,’ that’s hard to do. And if I play only for the ‘here and now,’ that’s hard to do.”
Those kinds of trades are hard to do, Ainge meant.
“I’m going to look and see what opportunities are there, like any other year,” Ainge said. “Last year, I was close to making a change that I felt would give us a better chance in the here and now, and in the future. And those are hard to do.”
If another team is offering to trade a top-notch player at a bargain, there is no reason to refuse. On the other hand, why would vultures offering twenty-five cents to the dollar will make the Celtics any better than they are now?
Tank and go for the draft
If you were going to say blow it up, think carefully. Tanking the season to a lottery pick is a long and painful process when there is only that one first round pick to look forward to. Do you honestly prefer to watch your team lose repeatedly and scream in frustration, night after night?
It will absolutely kill the team if it misses the top picks after so much tanking. In the 2007 NBA draft, the Celtics had a 19.9% chance to get either Kevin Durant or Greg Oden with the first selection, but failed to nab either after being allotted the 5th selection.
Granted situations are different, the point is you can never predict how the draft will turn out, praying for the draft to nab a game changer is never a sure thing, and lottery picks do not live up to their potential at times. Look at the 2001 NBA draft number one pick Kwame Brown, how did that work out for the Wizards?
Blow it up and try for a contender
You never know how things work out in trade deals. Assuming the Celtics blow it up and trade all their players for scrap. The season ends, cap space is cleared and they fail to make a run at an All-Star player, what next?
Rebuilding takes time, and a championship team requires multiple pieces, not a superstar that scores 80 points by himself every night. Cue season of .500 and possibly less, as Danny once again seeks to work his magic in the days ahead.
Why not ride the season out and see what it brings? Take the season to completion, finish it out and see what happens with Garnett and Pierce. Get a rebounding/shot blocking guy at the mid-season and shore the interior up, play a traditional big center at the 5 spot. Try for a wing player as insurance in case Green and Pierce aren’t enough.
In case anyone has forgotten, there are four guys on the guard lineup: Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa. Granted none of them are passing point guards the way Rondo is, but give them extended minutes (especially Barbosa), see what they can do.
Rondo’s absence deprives the team of a creative playmaker and postseason game changer, but what bigger motivation could there be for the team to rally and unite now? Play slower, grind the defense out. Share the ball, get it to the open guy the way it did today.
The season is not done, so let us move on and see the story to completion. The chips are still in the air, and for all we know, something surprising might still be out there waiting.
What do you think of Rondo’s injury and the Celtics in the season ahead? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.