NBA Watchability Rankings: Boston Celtics
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports’ Adi Joseph and Sean Highkin will be counting down NBA teams based on watchability for the upcoming 2013-14 seasons. We’ll go one team a day, from least-watchable to most, giving you an idea of what to keep an eye out for this season. Today, we arrive at the No. 21 Boston Celtics:
2012-13 record: 41-40, lost in first round of playoffs
Adi Joseph’s 2013-14 record projection: 32-50, miss playoffs
Two best players (2012-13 stats): PG Rajon Rondo (13.7 points, 11.1 assists, 5.6 rebounds a game), SF Jeff Green (12.8 points, 3.9 rebounds a game).
Overview: Coach Doc Rivers, long-time superstar Paul Pierce, team leader and All-Star center Kevin Garnett and veteran sixth man Jason Terry are gone. Rondo’s surgically repaired knee remains on the mend. So the Eastern Conference’s greatest franchise will have an interesting season. But first-year coach Brad Stevens has a long leash, and Rondo’s return, possibly in December, should keep them good enough to avoid the absolute cellar of the NBA. They’ll need bigger contributions from Green and guard Avery Bradley, among others.
WHY YOU CAN’T MISS THEM
The Rondo takeover: The Celtics point guard is surly, cutthroat and one of the most gifted players in the NBA. Now he has his own team to return to when his knee is ready. It’s unlikely he’ll top 10 assists a game for the fourth consecutive year because his teammates aren’t as talented as in past seasons, but he may showcase more of the talent that has led to so many triple-doubles and gaudy stat lines. And you know he’ll be out to prove something. In the off chance that Rondo doesn’t return this season, a la Derrick Rose last year, you can drop the Celtics at least five spots in these rankings.
Coach Baby Face: Stevens, fresh off a historic run as Butler University’s head coach, is 36. He has no NBA experience as a player or coach. He’s only about 3½ years older than Celtics swingman Keith Bogans. But Stevens has ideas, and with time, he could be an elite-level coach. Celtics President Danny Ainge promised … [For more on NBA Watchability Rankings: No. 20 Boston Celtics, click here.]