The End of An Era in Boston
Published: Friday, November 1, 2013
Updated: Thursday, November 7, 2013 16:11
The conclusion of the 2012-2013 season for the Boston Celtics officially marked the end of an era. Three of the main contributors to the 2007-2008 Boston Celtics NBA Championship Team, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Coach Doc Rivers, are no longer sporting green uniforms and being introduced to “Welcome to the Jungle” upon the start of each home game at the TD Garden. Doc Rivers now coaches star point guard Chris Paul, among others, for the Los Angeles Clippers.
In a blockbuster trade, KG, Pierce a.k.a “The Truth,” Jason Terry, and D.J. White left Boston for the Brooklyn Nets. In return, the Nets traded to the Celtics Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Joseph, and three first round draft picks. With the loss of Pierce, 15 year Boston Celtic veteran and leading scorer, along with leading rebounder Garnett, the Celtics have now entered into a rebuilding stage.
It’s hard to imagine the fate of the Boston Celtics this season. Last year the team finished barely over .500. That season marked the first time in five years that the Celtics did not finish as Atlantic Division Champs, and for the first time since 2005, lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite the loss of Pierce and KG, both future Hall of Famers, the Celtics still have star point guard Rajon Rondo, who led the team and league last season with 11.8 assists per game, despite only playing in 38 games before the ACL injury that would sideline him the rest of the season.
In fact, last season Boston was plagued with multiple season-ending injuries. Along with Rondo, promising rookie Jared Sullinger missed the remainder of the season when he needed lumbar disc surgery in February. Leandro Barbosa also sat out the rest of the season with a torn ACL and sprained MCL.
Is there any hope for the Celtics moving forward? With KG and Pierce gone, younger players need to step up, yet it’s quite a daunting task to fill the holes of the talented duo. Although the near future seems bleak, the Celtics have acquired superb coach Brad Stevens, who signed a contract for 6 years/$22 million. While Doc Rivers instituted a new life into the Celtics, redefined the culture of the Boston Celtics, and most fans were reluctant to see him go, the Celtics could not have acquired a better coach in Stevens.
In a time when the Celtics are in a rebuilding stage and need a coach to turn the team around, who better than Stevens, who already proved that he could do this while a coach for the NCAA Division I Butler Bulldogs. The 37-year-old became the third youngest coach in NCAA Division I history to have a 30-win season in his first season as head coach, and in 2010 he broke the NCAA record for the most wins by a coach in his first three years by a staggering 8 games.
Within that short amount of time, Stevens led the Butler Bulldogs to the Final Four twice. Can Stevens be as successful in the NBA?
While the fate of the Celtics season will not be determined by the results of the preseason, the team finished the eight game stretch with only two wins, one against the New York Knicks and the other against the Brooklyn Nets in the final game of the season (KG and Pierce did not play). Because most veteran players do not play as many minutes during the preseason games, and typically even sit out most games, it is hard to say how the season will turn out.
After a successful stretch with a championship in 2008 and another NBA finals appearance in 2010, for Celtics fans it’s hard to grasp the reality that making the playoffs this year would be an amazing achievement.
Whether the Celtics are successful this season depends on Brad Stevens and Rajon Rondo. Stevens has the difficult task of learning the ropes of the NBA in his first season, as well as attempting to assist the multitude of young players on the team. Rondo will not be ready for the start of the season, either, so Avery Bradley will have to step up to fill his shoes until Rondo feels healthy enough to return.
The team does have promising newcomers, though. Over the summer the Celtics acquired a 7 foot center, Kelly Olynyk. Returning members of the team include Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger and Jordan Crawford.