TheBoston Celtics saw sharpshooting guard Ray Allen take his talents to South Beach but future Hall-of-Famer Kevin Garnett returns as theCeltics believe they can make a few more runs at an NBA title. After a renaissance toGarnett's game, especially in the second-half of last season, the 37-year old power forward signed a 3-year, 34 million deal this summer to likely close out his illustrious career in Boston. The 6'11'' Garnett averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds last seasonbut the Celtics bowed out in the Eastern Conference finals to Miami in a tough7-game series.
Garnett and Boston have a long off-season to think about what could have been after not being able to close out Miami in Game 6 at homewith a 3-2 lead. The Heat would win the next two games and go on to win the NBA title.
Garnett enters his 18th NBA season but the most important player for the Celtics now ispoint guard Rajon Rondo. The 6'1'' Rondoaveraged 12 points and a staggering 12 assists a game last year as the Celtics went 39-27, good enough for the 4th seed in the playoffs.Rondo makes the offense in Boston go with his uncanny ability to find the open man, but with Allen not in the fold Rondo may have to put more on himself to score the ball next season. All-Star Paul Pierce is back and so is hisincredible knack to find ways to score as the veteran small forward averaged 19 points a game last season.
The Celtics were very active this summer in free-agency, adding guardJason Terry who is expected to helpBoston replace Allen and provide scoring for the Celtics. Terry helped Dallas win the NBA title two seasons ago and last year the former Sixth Man of the Yearaveraged 15 points off the bench for the Mavericks.
In another effort to make up for the potential lack of scoring, Boston doled out a 4-year, 20 million contract toguard Courtney Lee who only scored 11 points a game for the Rockets last season. Lee is still young, entering just his fifth NBA season.
After missing all of last season with an irregular heartbeat, Boston is also reportedly bringing small forward Jeff Green back on a 4-year 36 million deal. With Brandon Bass and Pierce holding down the forward spots, Green would likely come off the bench.
In June's NBA draft, Boston went after a few seasoned college players and one project.
Ohio State's bulky Jared Sullinger was taken by Boston with the 21st overall pick. Sullinger, once a top 10 prospect, slipped dramatically when he was red-flagged for a bad back. In summer league play, Sullinger was solid, withdouble-digit rebounds in three of his five games in LasVegas and an 11-point average. Sullinger could fill the role Glen Davis had a few years ago with the Celtics as a banger off the bench who could also provide a spark with his scoring.
The Celtics also took center Fab Melo out of Syracuse with the 22 pick. Melo is very raw but at 7''' and 250 pounds, Boston has the organization in which a player like Melo can learn under the likes of Garnett and Pierce about what it takes to be real professional.
In the second round, the Celtics took another player out of Syracuse in small forwardKris Joseph, who played four years in college. Joseph has a shot at making the team if he can step up his defensive play because Boston knows the 6'7'' swing man can score the ball.
Boston is reloading for another titlerun with coach Doc Rivers backand with the returning big three ofGarnett, Rondo and Pierce,the Celticscertainly have a good shot.