picture via a.espncdn.com
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett aren’t walking through that door. Doc Rivers isn’t coming, either. Rajon Rondo, however, will get the master key to the Celtics locker room soon, and that’s how a new era of Celtics basketball will begin.
After 15 amazing years of Paul Pierce and 6 successful years with Kevin Garnett, the Celtics are moving on. The Boston Celtics are, yes I’ll say it, no longer contenders for the NBA title. They are now, and I’ll also say this, in rebuilding mode. The good news is, Danny Ainge has put the franchise in the right tracks for future success. Though this was a tough offseason to swallow for Celtics fans, it might be the offseason remembered as the first step towards our coveted Banner 18. Danny not only got a bazillion first round draft picks, he also drafted Kelly Olynyk and hired rookie head coach Brad Stevens.
The Stevens/Rondo combo will highlight this new era for the Green team. They are now the faces of the franchise, and the pressure to win will rest on their shoulders. Still, don’t hesitate to think that that is a good thing, because you won’t find a smarter duo in the NBA. Those two are both basketball junkies, and have the high basketball IQ to perfectly mesh. They’ll put being smart on the court before everything else, and that will take the franchise a long way.
What makes the new era even more solid is that smarts isn’t the only thing the team has. The heart needed to be a Celtic and to bleed green is still there, personified in Jeff Green and Avery Bradley. "IronMan" has such a big heart that a bit of it had to be taken away so it wouldn’t hurt him. AB won’t often show you his heart directly, but with every single defensive possession he plays, you just know it’s there. You also know for sure that it pumps green blood.
Then you combine smarts and heart and get to Jared Sullinger. Some have already called him KG 2.0, and I don’t think that’s a far-fetched comparison at all. In his one year here, Sully has already shown how high his basketball IQ is, how hard he’s willing to work, how verbal he is, and most importantly, that he’s taken the Celtic culture as his own. From day one, just like KG, Sullinger embraced everything of what being a Celtic is all about. "Everything is about the team. I just want to see the team win." "You got to understand, when you’re a Celtic, you have Celtic Pride, you got to bleed green or you might as well get out of town." Yeah, I’m in love with this young fella. He’s just the pure embodiment of everything a Boston Celtics player should be.
Those guys mentioned above will be the core five of the team moving forward. The five guys headlining a totally new era of Celtic basketball. We’re in new and uncertain times. After all those years, it’s weird to not see Truth as the captain – that role that will most certainly land on Rondo now.
Nobody knows what comes next or how these five will handle Celtics tradition. Our duty as fans is to be there with the team every single day. We’ll support the team just as hard, or even harder, than we supported them during the last 6 years. It’s on us fans too, to carry the most storied franchise in the league back to the Top of the World.
Welcome to the new era. It promises to be a fun ride.
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