You can’t feel bad for Rajon Rondo and the Celtics. They brought this all on themselves. The same characteristics they rode to a title and a second Finals appearance – love, family, brotherhood, appreciation, sacrifice – ultimately did them in last year. They wouldn’t admit it. Neither would their fans. The team had won games without Kendrick Perkins to start the year, they all said. The real issue is Shaq. Maybe that was true. But the swagger and the spirit, the stuff that made Boston who they were all along, was quite obviously diminished once ‘Perk left town.
Rondo finally admitted it. At last. The Boston point guard told Yahoo! Sports:
Rondo refused to use injuries as an excuse for losing in the second round of the playoffs to the Miami Heat. But he also believes the trade of Perkins, his closest friend on the team, affected the Celtics “more than it should have.”
“It wasn’t like the man passed away or something,” Rondo said. “I think we put too much emphasis on it. It’s a business. He got traded. He’s very happy where he’s at. We still talk and I’m always going to have his back. It shouldn’t have affected us the way it affected us.”
Rondo might only be 25, but he’s flanked by guys who are teetering on the edge of relevancy. As Yahoo! wrote, Boston has six players under contract for next season (Rondo, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jermaine O’Neal & Avery Bradley). They’ve been linked to Tyson Chandler and to Samuel Dalembert. They’ve contemplated bringing back Jeff Green and starting him in front of Pierce.
But it’s going to take more than a few new faces, especially when realistically, Boston will only find bench players to fill out their roster. They’ll need a new identity, or at least something to separate themselves from Perkins. They’ll never win another title if the media is allowed to continuously talk about Perkins…how they miss him…what happened once they traded him…how it wasn’t on the court, but in the locker room, mentally, how the team was worse off. The first step is admitting there was a problem, and then moving on. We always thought Rondo was the last guy who would’ve done that. He was best friends with Perkins, a moody character who seemed to always fall in line with his buddy behind him when it counted. Watching the Celtics in the final few months last season, even die-hard Boston fans would admit: the point guard seemed depressed, or at least out of it.
We’ve argued before that the defense never wavered. Since KG started wearing the green, no one in New England ever had to worry about the defense. It’s the offense, a problem that has been growing in each of the past three seasons. Rondo can’t shoot. Ray is crossing over into late-shooter-career mode. Garnett lost most of what inside game he had.
But now that they’ve admitted they did miss Perkins too much, perhaps they can move on. Sounds a little weird for a basketball team right? But Boston was family. That’s what made them great.
Now they need to find a new spark.
What do you think? What players will Boston sign before next season?
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