This has become a tradition for me. I like to make some predictions that may or may not have any basis in reality every year (and then proceed to completely forget about them weeks later). In recent years it has been difficult to be creative since we kind of knew what were getting with most of the guys. This year, however, anything could happen. Anything.
So here are my fearless predictions for the upcoming season.
1. Rondo will be back BEFORE December.
That's right, by the time you recover from Thanksgiving turkey overeating, Rajon Rondo will be lacing them up and zipping passes to Vitor Faverani and throwing glares at the rookies for missing screens and cuts. There's zero chance that he sits out the whole year as some have suggested. He's much too much of a competitor for that.
In fact, I think he might want to come back sooner than expected just to show people that we're not tanking and he's on board with Coach Stevens and the whole process. It would be a very Rondo thing to do to zig when so many expect him to zag. The guess here is that he feels good enough to go mid November but gives it a few more weeks and starts playing that last week of November.
2. Rondo will NOT be traded. Jeff Green will be.
The Celtics will rebuild around Rajon Rondo - in part because that is the easiest thing to do. It would be extremely hard to get equal value for his unique package of skills and personality and players like him are exceptionally hard to come by, so why give him up just for a chance to maybe get another one later?
Jeff Green on the other hand is easier to replace and has value on the market right now. I don't think he's as bad as he's looked at times this preseason but I'm not sure if he's as good as he looked at times last year either. I think when all things shake out, he could be a very good 3rd option on a team going places. That could be worth a pick and a young talented player from a competing team.
Humphries and Bogans are expiring contracts that in theory could be worth something at the trade deadline. However, I think the value of dumping salary for the Celtics at the end of the year will be greater than the returns that we could get in February. Wallace, I think, will play well and have some value but ultimately teams will be scared off by his cap number for the next two years and pass on him.
Next summer is when I expect Danny Ainge to make the major fireworks in the trade market. Of course, a lot has to fall right and he has to keep making moves to position himself for those moves. That might mean holding onto expiring contracts in order to free up space. It might also mean trading Bass for even more cap space (and little else in return). I doubt they land a major free agent, but having cap space allows you to make a lot more creative trades than if you don't.
4. Kelly Olynyk will win Rookie of the Year.
Victor Oladipo seems to be the early favorite but I could see him struggling with the transition to point guard. The rest of the class isn't going to be anything all that special right out of the gate. I think Kelly will be starting by the time Rondo gets back and should be able to put his offensive skills on display quite a bit. Once everyone picks up Stevens' offensive sets and gets more comfortable with their roles, I think you'll see "Sunshine" score buckets in bunches. Defense will continue to be a work in progress but the ROY voting doesn't care much about that.
5. The Celtics will win the lottery... sort of.
They won't get the top pick (Andrew Wiggins) but they will win the 3rd pick in the draft and the chance to draft Jabari Parker... who might just end up better than Wiggins when all is said and done. They'll also have a slew of other future picks that they can either build slowly with or trade in order to speed up the process. They won't be in the lottery for too long.
- Gerald Wallace will go on at least one more rant about team effort this year.
- Jared Sullinger will play every game.
- Courtney Lee will be traded, but nobody will notice till a week later.
- Jordan Crawford will be suspended for something at some point.
- Avery Bradley will get first team All Defense honors this year.
- The Bulls will win the NBA title this year.