Replacing Rondo: The Best Point Guards the NBA D-League Has to Offer
With the Celtics' floor leader out for the season, the C's have a number of options to choose from in the minor leagues -- no matter if they stay in contention or break up the team.
Rajon Rondo is out. Felled by a torn ACL that sliced him down so subtly that he played on it for more than two overtimes, the league's leader in triple-doubles over the past three seasons -- and, by popular logic, the C's lone link to the league's elite -- won't play again in 2012-13.
Which means the Celtics have some decisions to make.
A championship contender ever since KG, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen formed the OG Big 3 in 2007, Boston sits at eighth in the Eastern Conference. That would put them in the Playoffs if the season were to end today -- and they'd be taking on a Miami team that Boston just beat on Sunday. But now, without an All-Star, one of the league's top point guards and the lone star on an aging Celtics roster without the trimmings of rust, can they expect to stay there? And, if so, is a seventh or eighth seed (and a first-round exit) worth dragging a club covered in cobwebs into the 2013-14 season?
In other words, is a torn ligament enough to rip up a roster?
While the basketball world's tended toward a hearty Yes, Doc Rivers let the Sunday postgame press corps know where he stands.
"You can write the obituary -- I'm not," Rivers said.
Sunday's win over the Heat did buy the C's some time to back Rivers up. They'll likely give it a go for a few more weeks, even if the eventual move is to sell off the team's key parts. A potential postseason run -- and, thus, a little bargaining wiggle room -- would give Danny Ainge more leverage in negotiations, after all.
But whatever they end up selecting, they'll need a new player (for now at least) to help out with the simple matter of minutes: Rondo was playing 37.4 of them a night. And because Leandro Barbosa brings a different game than Rondo did, the C's will have to decide what they want from a reserve. Luckily, the NBA D-League comes fully stocked at the point. And these are the guys to know -- including at least one player Celtics fans are already very familiar with.