With a full month of preseason fully in gear now, we are faced with a never-ending wave of NBA previews. Our friends over at Grantland have put together a fun collection of preview videos featuring Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons giving their takes on all 30 teams from around the league, ranking them from 30-to-1.
As suspected, the Celtics made an appearance in the rankings on the early side, as the duo has pegged them as the 24th best team in the NBA out of the gate. The bigger surprise however is that Jalen Rose is adamant that Rajon Rondo will be traded, if he returns and starts looking like his old self yet again.
In another Grantland preview, good friend and CelticsHub alumnus Zach Lowe has some thoughts on the C’s, including the most likely Celtics candidates to be dealt.
Boston has the veteran talent and potential defensive chops to stay in a lot of games, but the idea that these guys are going to challenge for the no. 8 spot is way overblown. The C’s have been a bottom-10 scoring team for two straight seasons with Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett (and Ray Allen in 2011-12). Every single basket is going to be an unwatchable grind, and the season will probably end with Boston around 25th or worse in points per possession.
They’ll be solid defensively on the perimeter, and Brad Stevens will have them executing precisely on both ends, but they’re severely lacking rim protection. It’s going to be ugly, and if the Celtics do somehow find themselves in the race for no. 8 at midseason, they’ll happily trade themselves out of it if they can find any useful assets for Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass, Kris Humphries, and others. A Rondo trade is the sexier angle — and not implausible — but a trade involving one of those names is much more likely; dealing Lee or Bass would allow Boston to get serious cap room in July.
After last night’s performances, it’s clear the C’s are going to have to see more out of Bass and/or Lee for other guys to agree to take those contracts on. They may not be big deals, but those are expensive role players for any playoff contender looking for an upgrade. Surrounded by the right players though, they could provide a useful boost to some team in playoff contention.
One thing is clear though after one preseason game. The logjam in the backcourt and the four spot has to be cleared, hopefully sooner rather than later.
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