If Our Offseason Was So Great, Why Doesn't Vegas Like Us More?
LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant.
Three great players, who, just so happens, lead three of the best teams in the NBA. Las Vegas, not coincidentally, forecasts the Heat, Thunder, and Lakers as the most likely NBA champions for 2013.
Not in the top five.
We seem to be going in a circle here.
Well, you tell me, who is the team's Big Kahuna?
Your answer may be Paul Pierce, and it would be a logical one.
But is it an answer that you realistically expect to pin your title hopes on?
I, for one, certainly hope not.
Paul Pierce is the Celtics second leading scorer of all time, NBA Finals MVP, and future Hall of Famer. Last year, he summoned up at least one throw-back Paul-Pierce performance in the playoffs. All Good. But he's also 35-years old, rehabbing a knee injury, and someone who comes up empty in big games on an increasingly frequent basis.
This is why, I submit, the Celtics are not deemed an upper echelon team by Vegas and other prognosticators.
So are we screwed?
Look at the 1968-69 Boston Celtics. Twenty-eight-year-old John Havlicek was their leading scorer at 21.6 PPG. As much as we all love Hondo, does he really fall into the same mold as LeBron, KD, and Kobe? The other interesting thing about the 1968-69 Celtics is that Hondo was surrounded by three key players who were advancing in years: Bill Russell (34), Sam Jones (35), and Bailey Howell (32). Yet they still won it all.
The whole was greater than the sum of the parts. They played better as a team than did other teams with better (and younger) individual players. The Boston Celtics from last season did their absolute best imitation of the 1968-69 team, relying on players who not only were old, but injured, and often times not even in uniform, and still almost pulled it off.
Which is where the excitement of Celticdom starts to build.
Forget about Paul Pierce.
The Alpha Dog is Rajon Rondo.
He needs to be the guy who not only leads this team, but is able to figure out ways to overcome the LeBrons, KDs and Kobes of the world. He can't just post a triple-double, walk away, and figure he did his part.
At age 26, this is his season. He needs to take over the helm, and lead this multi-generational team to the next level. He's got the pieces, he needs to make sure the 2012-13 Boston Celtics stay well oiled. He can do it. I've been saying since the beginning of time, he has a lot of Magic Johnson in him (see here for a partial lists of posts making the comparison). He needs to realize that he won't get there if all he is doing is posting triple-doubles without adding rings to his jewelry box (I'll be more specific tomorrow).
If Rondo can find his inner Magic Johnson, all of a sudden the Boston Celtics look like an entirely different team. I'll take the Rondo of my imagination and go to war against any of the aforementioned superstars. I'll take the Rondo of my imagination to make Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger, Jeff Green, and Avery Bradley look like the baddest group of bad asses this side of the role players on the 2008 championship team.
Add to the mix situational superstars Pierce and KG, Doc as the maestro using Ubuntu as his baton, and I'm ready for the season to start.
Just one more thing.
Hey Rondo, you know, the one in my imagination.
Can you get out of my head and onto the court?
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