Celtics SHould Sign Avery Bradley, Not Rondo
The Boston Celtics are 15-31 and are currently sliding closer and closer to the bottom of the league, but Celtics fans knew and expected a bad season out of the team. The rebuilding of the Celtics will be the main focus for Ainge and company as they move forward, but It should be noted that the emerging contract negotiations with Rondo is risky business. Rondo is no doubt a top point guard in the league but the Celtics need to make sure they are focused on the right thing...DEFENSE.
When the Celtics Won their championship with the big three some of the most memorable moments come on the offensive end. Whether its Ray hitting 7 threes, Paul hitting his signature mid range jumper, or KG shoulder shimmying before a clutch fade away from the post, all Celtics fans remember these signature moments, but those types of plays are only a part of a championship caliber team. The real reason the Celtics Won the championship that year was largely because of their defense.
The Celtics over the course of the 2007-2008 season finished with the second best opponents points per game, allowing just over 90 points on average, and also were best in the league in opponents field goal percentage. That Celtics team was able to not just score but also make stops when they needed them, players like KG and James Posey were essential to this. The trend of championship teams playing great defense isn't just with the Celtics, almost every past championship team was near the top of the league defensively. Think back too the Pistons with Ben Wallace, or the ever present spurs, or the Heat with Mourning anchoring inside. All these championship teams were consistently solid on defense.
Which Brings me to why the Celtics need to Sign Bradley and not Rondo. Don't Get me wrong Rondo is a great player but saying he is an elite defender is far from the truth. He may end up high in steals per game average but this is only because he is constantly reaching in. Most importantly Rondo is not willing to give the effort on defense to consistently be depended upon on the defensive end. Bradley on the other hand is an all defensive first team type player, he can stop any ball handler and consistently gives effort on both ends of the court. This season he has also averaged almost 15 points a game and is showing significant potential on offense. Bradley would also be only a fraction of the price the Celtics would need to pay Rondo.
Not only is Rondo inconsistent defensively but he also can never truly going to be a star. He is an all-star point guard when healthy but he lacks one of the most important aspects of a superstar....shot making ability. When a team like the Lakers, Heat or even the 2007-2008 Celtics need a bucket who are they giving the ball too? Whether its Kobe , Lebron, or The Truth their fans and teammates had confidence that they can create and make a clutch shot. What happens when this Celtics team needs a bucket in crunch time? they can't rely on Rondo to make a great shot, especially from 18 feet away, and they also can't count on him at the free throw line. The last "star" that couldn't make the big shot i can think of is Rudy Gay, and look he was traded and his former team is better without him. The Celtics may need to do the same.
Danny Ainge no doubt wants to get this team back into the top of the Eastern Conference as soon as possible but he needs to look to the future not the present. In three years would the Celtics be better off with a 30 year old Rondo with a large contract or a 26 year old defensive stopper. My pick is an Avery Bradley contract because defense and cap flexibility are two of the most important aspects Ainge needs to keep in mind as he moves this Celtic team forward.