The Boston Celtics enter the 2012-13 NBA season as the most logical choice to threaten the Miami Heat for Eastern Conference supremacy.
Most would agree they fit that description by default.
The departure of Dwight Howard from Orlando to Hollywood and the uncertain injury status of Chicago guard Derrick Rose after a torn ACL in last year’s playoffs has the East looking thin.
Teams like Indiana, Philadelphia, and maybe Atlanta have good depth but lack star power. The New York Knicks supposedly got better by getting much older, and the New Jersey Nets still seem to be a good player or two away from being a real factor.
Rose’s injury may be the biggest reason people believe the Heat will roll through the East. He’s expected to be out until at least midseason and some NBA experts have suggested that Rose should sit out the entire year. Whatever Rose and the Bulls decide to do, you can be sure that they will not be playing at full speed in April and May.
When you’re talking about the Heat, defending the point guard position remains their biggest problem, and that’s exactly why the Celtics are more than just a default contender.
Love him or loathe him, Rajon Rondo is the best point guard in the Eastern Conference, maybe the entire league.
He takes an occasional hit for outbursts that seem more suited for a spoiled teenager, but his talent is unmatched. Say what you want about Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams and Rose, but none of those players could do the things that Rondo does for the Celtics.
There’s a misconception that a team led by a point guard can’t win an NBA championship. That’s only true when the point guard is trying to lead the team in scoring, which Rondo rarely does.