Nobody is happy at 15-17. This weekend, All Stars Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo used buzz words like consistency and discipline to explain the Celtics' woes. But maybe, it's not just the little things. Maybe the team needs something bigger. Trigger happy fans have already started considering drastic measures to win now or win later with big trades. Personally, I'm not a proponent of changing personnel. I know Danny has to put out that smoke screen and say that we're not a contending team right now so that other GM's will shake the tree and hit him up on his cell phone, but Doc can only work with what's in front of him. Doc has been cryptic with his recent comments about the state of the roster, but ultimately, Doc is a coach and he'll go to war with whoever he's got in his fox hole.
Chris Forsberg has proposed moving Chris Wilcox into the starting lineup, but tinkering at the 5 spot hasn't really helped since we traded Perk. Instead of looking to make a lineup change outside of the Big Four, it might be time to look inside. My suggestion: Rajon Rondo as 6th man.
Rondo's skill set is unique. He can seemingly score when he wants, find an angle to dish to anyone on the court, and even lay waste to opposing point guards in the post. Sure, he's ornery; I swear he wins Saturday night's Skills Challenge if they add a new obstacle where the contestants have to get through a media day. The guy can level you with a quicksilver crossover or a silver-tongued one liner. The bottom line is, the guy is a rarity and sometimes, guys with that talent are best used coming off the bench.
Rondo's biggest asset is his speed and unfortunately, that's the one thing our starting lineup doesn't have. The methodical nature of an offensive set is often wasted when Rondo's only responsible is getting a crisp chest pass to Ray coming off a series of screens. I don't want to undermine Rondo's value as a floor general because it's well documented that he calls his own plays and he and Doc share the same brain, but it shouldn't go unnoticed that some of Rondo's athletic ability is wasted in half court. Rondo's a new school baller playing in an over-30 rec league.
Consider this: moving him to the bench would mean more time with Wilcox, Pietrus, Johnson, and Bass. Even though Wilcox isn't any exactly a spring chicken, he's still the most willing veteran to fill the lane on a fast break and he's hooked up on a couple of sweet alley-oops. Pietrus still plays on ball defense at the 2 and the 3 like a Doberman and more importantly, has not been shy with his perimeter shot. Sure, he's not Ray Allen, but nobody is Ray Allen but Ray Allen. Johnson has grown confidence over the last two weeks and flourished when he can stretch his legs. I'm not sure there is a more dynamic player that can elevate a bench like Rondo. He is the walking definition of a player than makes everybody else better. Think long term, too. These are the types of players (athletic wings that can run run run) that Danny will surround around Rondo in the future. This was definitely the mindset when we traded for Jeff Green. The game is speeding up to a more wide open pace and we might as well give him the keys to the car now to see if he can handle the ride. Maybe this is the trade Danny needed to make all along: moving Rondo from the 2008-2012 Celtics to the 2012-2015 Celtics.
Who starts? How about poster boy Avery Bradley. After injuries derailed his rookie season, we're finally seeing why high school scouts ranked AB over John Wall two years ago. National broadcasters fawn over his defense and his jumper is finally falling, too. He's proven more than a competent back up for Rondo. As a starter, the Celtics are 6-2. By ball-hawking opposing point guards, Bradley shortens defensive possessions for the starters and given open jumpers when teams double the Big Three.
Rondo is definitely still our closer and the player to build around over the next three years, but right now, we're just looking for a piece of duct tape to put on our leaking carburetor (I apologize for all the car references). It's not a permanent fix, but it might keep the '67 Mustang running until April.