Looking at the preseason a Celtics fan can not help, but get excited. The Celtics new big man Rasheed Wallace is rebounding, playing down low, still showing range, and seems happy to be on board. Garnett appears to be healthy and ready to impose his will on the opposing team. Pierce looks in shape and ready to score when needed. Ray Allen looks in mid season form and his shot is timeless. Baby Davis looks in better shape and his shot has carried into this year. Eddie House is still hot. Daniels looks like he is fitting in. Heck, even Giddens looks better. However, in my mind the story is Rondo. Rondo looks in shape and looks like he did a little work on his jumper. If he gets that 12 to 15 footer down, then this team is a lock for a Finals appearance. The man in my mind will get it done this year for three reasons.
1. Last Year's Playoffs. The man took it to a new level in the Chicago series and showed he could be a star nearly averaging a triple double. He got injured and it slowed him in the next series, but he was still effective against the Magic. The man's confidence is soaring. He looks early on like he is going to call his own number at times and score some points with his speed. This will lead to easier shots for teammates with his great passing. Also I believe he looks at the injury as a call to get in better shape and be stronger because he looks more ripped then last year.
2. The Contract. The motivation is there. He wants to be a Max contract guy. He has all the talent to do it. He is Chris Paul fast, Deron Williams moves to the hoop, Steve Nash like passing, and Jason Kidd Like rebounding and defense. The man has the talent to be a top three point guard. Does he have the drive and desire to improve and be that guy that can run the offense and get his shot to drop to win games. In this preseason the answer by his body shape and more willingness to shoot the jumper is a resounding yes. The guy is in much better shape and has shown a willingness to take his shot when there. The man has seriously worked on his game.
3. The Talent Around Him. To have a team with Pierce, Allen, Garnett, Sheed, and a bench with guys that can make a shot takes a lot of pressure off a young point guard. There will be no doubles on him and if anything there will be open looks that he will be able to exploit. If he is one on one, there are not too many guys that can keep up with him on a drive to the hoop. The man has plenty of options on the pass with Pierce, Allen, Garnett, and the rest of team green. The assists will be there. With the concern of keeping Sheed,, Perk, and KG off the boards he will get his rebounds too. The team will make him that much better.
As a young point guard this being his fourth year he should flourish. Four years smarter and motivated this will be Rondo's introduction to star level.