No matter what happens in the win-loss column, there is one thing the Boston Celtics must do this season: Improve. Whether it's Jared Sullinger, Phil Pressey, or Jeff Green, it is vital that each player takes his game to the next level.
I asked our CelticsBlog team of writers, "Which Boston Celtics player will improve the most this season?" It wasn't much of a surprise when almost everyone responded with one of the many young big men.
Jeff Clark - Kelly Olynyk
Great question because the most important thing this year is improvement. I think Avery Bradley is already very good - though he could improve his offense. So I think it has to be one of the rookies or possibly even Jared Sullinger. I think I'll go with Kelly Olynyk, who I'm really starting to get amped about. He still looks like he's thinking through things out there, so his reactions are slow, but his natural instincts are going to kick in at some point and his skill set is already in place. Once he knows his place in the rotations and gets a feel for the pace of an NBA game, he's going to score the basketball in a wide variety of ways.
Kevin O'Connor - Jared Sullinger
My first thought was Jared Sullinger, but then I said to myself, "Well, we sort of already know that he's a good player." But wait, do we really? Sure, he played very well for half the season, but in only under 20 minutes per game. This year he will likely approach 30 minutes per game, and will therefore be able to establish himself as one of rising big men in the NBA. Sully is stretching his range away from the basket and could establish himself as a triple-threat player (if he can hit the outside shot consistently). From the post, we know Sully can go to the basket, but he is beginning to prove that he is a nifty passer, as well as a scorer. By the end of this year, we might look at Jared Sullinger as a potential 18-and-10 threat when we project the 2014-2015 season.
Alex Skillin - Jared Sullinger
I think we're really going to be impressed with Jared Sullinger's play this season, and I'm excited to see how he performs when given a much greater role in the offense. He improved so much during a half-season last year, and if he can stay healthy, I'm intrigued by what type of player he can become by the end of the season.
Josh Zavadil - Jared Sullinger
Jared Sullinger. I think he's going to play a good portion of the season, and he'll eventually slim down a bit and play himself into better shape. He's naturally a big body, but I think he's going to slim down and take steps to improve his mobility as well as his range.
Tim MacLean - Vitor Faverani
I think you could name a few guys who will vastly improve throughout the course of the 2013-14 campaign: Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, Jeff Green, Phil Pressey, etc. But, to me, it has to be Faverani. The Brazilian big man has taken Celtics Nation by storm with both his on-court play and somewhat goofy/carefree personality off of it. He had himself a very solid preseason and his 15 point, 7 rebound, and 6 block performance against the Brooklyn Nets showed us glimpses of what could be. I'm definitely excited to watch him grow as a player and person in Beantown.
FLCeltsFan - The Bigs
Vitor Faverani and Kelly Olynyk both have all the tools and both have the work ethic to make it happen.
Jack Jemsek - The Bigs
I think we've seen what our perimeter players are capable of at this juncture, and excluding Rondo, it is relegated to one-dimensional specialists for the most part. It seems Jeff Green could be an all-star if he wanted to, but he's always been most comfortable deferring to others, in the pros and when he was in college, so I don't think anything is going to change that demeanor in his role. Turning to the bigs, this is where hope for most improvement lies. Sullinger, Olynyk and Faverani could make this a very fun year for the Celtics, if they are capable of sharing the court together. Paired with Rondo and Bradley, I've got my favorite five on the court!
Out of all of the writers to respond to the question, only Jay Asser selected a guard, Rajon Rondo. I was a bit surprised to see Phil Pressey get left out in the responses. The rookie point guard must improve his jump shot and his composure, and has the chance to do that this season. I hope Brad Stevens morphs him into a more relaxed player, as that will pay dividends in the future.
Jay Asser - Rajon Rondo
There are so many players on this team that can make a leap by the end of the year. However, I'm going with the guy who's already the best player on the team. Rondo will improve the most because Boston needs him to more than any other player. Aside from the shooting, the rest is between Rondo's ears. He'll be more aggressive and look to score more than we've ever seen. He'll continue to feel confident in his jumper and increase his range as the year goes on. And maybe most important of all, he'll make a Paul Pierce like jump in his leadership. By the end of the year, there will be no doubt Rondo is the centerpiece and face of the team and the disgruntled rumors will be a thing of the past. All this will happen because Boston absolutely needs it to.
You've read our answers, but I want to know who you, the readers, believe will improve the most this season. Vote in the poll and comment below with your thoughts!