The preseason schedule has been released. Game on, baby. Our Boston Celtics are about to get jiggy with it, and all of the reconstructive surgery that Danny Ainge has performed on the C’s will be on full display starting October 5 in Istanbul, Turkey. The preseason won’t give us a real read on the potential of this team, and the first half of the regular season will only serve to point the way to what this team will truly look like when it counts.
But the battles that take place in training camp and during the preseason will help Doc Rivers establish the Celtics’ initial rotation and determine a minutes allocation. With that said, we know that Rajon Rondo will get his. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will be counted on but will be kept on a short leash, their minutes closely monitored and Doc will be insistent that they have something left in the tank for the playoffs.
So we know all of that. Training camp and preseason will be about players like Courtney Lee – how will he handle starting, and will he fit in alongside Rondo? It will be about players like Jeff Green – clearly good enough to start for a ton of NBA teams, Green will be coming off the bench for the Celtics this season, and everyone wants to know what kind of punch he’s going to bring with him when he enters a game.
It will be about players like Jared Sullinger, the rookie from Ohio State who will be counted almost immediately. Can Sullinger do for the Celtics what they need him to do in order to win a championship? Can he play power forward and center, and can he do both effectively on both ends of the court? Is he motivated enough, is he hungry enough, to prove all of the doubters wrong and show the world that he was a lottery pick after all?
And what about Jason Terry? Is he hungry enough to make us forget about Ray Allen? Can he do for the Celtics what he did for the Dallas Mavericks?
Kris Joseph? He feels that he belongs. He’s hungry to prove he belongs. He’s stoked and ready for camp to start. Can he do enough to impress Ainge and Rivers, and can he learn enough from Pierce to become a contributor down the road?
All good questions. These are exciting times if you’re a Boston Celtics fan, because Ainge refused to stand pat this off-season. He committed to a strategy of giving KG his space and then trying to re-sign him, and once that happened he was able add the pieces needed to keep the C’s competitive. Clearly, Ainge is as hungry as the players he’s signed and drafted.
Let the games begin.