Time to move on to the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference, and give some thoughts into what could happen between the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics. Based upon comments I’ve received in my latest team battle, I want to remind everyone that I am just giving out my own ideas on what these teams are going to do against each other. I’m just a writer who may have different thoughts from a coach. I never try to think like a coach, so if I see a matchup that I THINK would be better suited, I’m going to call it up and talk about it. That’s the joy of previewing this early, things could change, and I might have to change my comments based upon that. But I am looking at each roster RIGHT NOW, and seeing where I think this series will go.
For the Boston Celtics and this coming season, it’s going to be hard to predict what might happen. I feel confident in saying that if Rajon Rondo wanted this Celtics team to be his, he’s got that chance now with Kevin Garnett, and the face of the franchise, Paul Pierce, gone. We all know how important both guys were to this team. It’s almost hard to believe Garnett was only there for a short time, but still made that impact to help the Celtics win in 2007-2008. It’s that one check mark that Kevin Garnett was missing from his illustrious career, and now he goes to the Brooklyn Nets along with Pierce, where they hope BOTH guys can do something for their own franchise. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the Pacers and Nets this week.
As far as Rajon Rondo goes, I love his game alot. He’s a guy that is a triple double threat every time he hits the floor. I know it’s seems to be the knock on him that he can be hot tempered, but I feel like we haven’t seen too much of that lately. Who knows if things fall apart this season with the big changes that happened here, if that ugly side comes out. But there’s no doubt, he wants to be the leader of this team, and maybe with Garnett and Pierce there, he never felt like he got that full credit for what he can do. He’s a point guard that I also believe any team would say they want him on their team, and the fans would embrace him once he got there. You hate playing against him with all of his abilities, but you would love to have him playing for you. He’s going to be carrying this team plenty over the next season, so we shall see what kind of player he really is.
The Pacers will have their hands full with him, but there are some decent pieces around him. Brandon Bass and Jeff Green are formidable forwards for the Boston Celtics. The Pacers big men will have to be on their toes against them. But the same can be said for the Boston power positions. I think Roy Hibbert might be eating this team up if he’s going as strong as he should be going. Who on the Celtics is someone that will step into that center role to slow down Hibbert if he’s as good as he was during the playoffs? They’ve got a young draft pick in Kelly Olynyk, who is going to entering his first year of playing. There’s Chris Wilcox, who might get the call at center as he’s listed at Center-Forward. But that size difference of Hibbert being 7’2″ and Wilcox at 6’10″ could play a part. You have another draft pick in Colton Iverson coming into Boston. So the Pacers should do their best to use this position to their advantage.
They will also have to keep an eye on Jordan Crawford of the Celtics as he’s a guy that will be able to score when he wants since that’s his game. You could even count in first year head coach, Brad Stevens, into this mix of what the Celtics are changing up. He’s a guy fresh off the college scene, so how does he adapt to the pro game? I have to put my personal bias aside for Brad Stevens, as I’m a Butler graduate and HUGE fan of him, just don’t want to see him do well against my Indian Pacers. This is a Pacers team that will have plenty of experience with the same guys starting as they’re entering their third year with the core group of George Hill, Paul George, Lance Stephenson, Danny Granger (yes, he was injured, but still a part of this Pacers team), David West, and Roy Hibbert all coming together to make that run to almost the NBA Finals last season. Another year of them playing together should mean they take care of business against this different looking aside from a few familiar faces Boston Celtics team.