The C’s All-Star point guard has been all over the news lately promoting his Alcantraz one on one tournament. The good news about all the promotion, is Rajon Rondo has been holding court with plenty of interviews. We enjoy reaping the benefits from these, including the latest from Slam Magazine, which included some telling comments on Rondo’s attitude heading into next year’s regular season:
As a team it’s to try to win 60-plus games and to try to stay healthy. As long as we’re healthy I’m pretty fine with what we do on the court. We don’t have to win 70 games, but it would be nice to get the first-place position and the home court advantage, because who can say? I never look back and say what if, but if we had the home seed then maybe the outcome would have been different against L.A.
I point this excerpt out for a couple reasons. First, just for the fact it’s refreshing to hear the team gain some perspective from having to fight on the road through the entire postseason. They got away with it for two series, but felt the repercussions from the lack of an advantage in Game 7. Now, it’s also fair to not that Rajon Rondo was not the problem at all during last year’s regular season. I’d like to hear these comments from more of the veterans next week, before getting too excited.
The good news here, is that while a top seed for the C’s may be out of reach with the superstar trio in Miami formed, this current roster Danny Ainge has assembled is easily the deepest of The Big Three era. A mix of youth and veterans, a tremendous collection of talent on the front line and in the backcourt, albeit with some weak depth spots (SF) in between.
As for the argument of whether home court advantage matters for this squad, we’ve seen most sides of the coin in the regular season these past two years.
In 2008-09, Doc Rivers kept his foot on the gas throughout the regular season, bringing home 62 wins, while missing Kevin Garnett, to ensure a 2nd seed in the East and home court advantage for 2nd Round showdown with Orlando. The extra workload needed to cement that spot took its toll on Ray Allen and Paul Pierce however, as the Magic ran the exhausted C’s out of the Garden in Game 7 of that series.
Likewise, we all know the story for last year’s lackluster regular season that culminated in a 4 seed and eventually a run to Game 7 without home court advantage.
With the sense of urgency greater than ever for this team, I ask this premature question. What is the ceiling for Boston during the regular season? Is 60 wins a realistic goal with the injury to Kendrick Perkins and other mitigating factors (Delonte’s suspension, age, health, improved Eastern Conference)? Or has Danny complied enough talent to make 60 wins attainable without having to lean too heavily on the starters to play major minutes?
As last year showed, health is the most important factor for this squad once April rolls around, so we know Doc won’t be pushing the starters too hard down the stretch to ensure that home court advantage. So is the new look bench talented enough to be able to help carry the team when it counts?
Obviously it’s too early too know for sure, but without Rasheed Wallace lackluster effort, to go with a motivated crew battling for minutes, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of this squad taking home the two seed in impressive fashion.