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Boston Celtics’ Bright Spots for the 2013-14 Season: Jared Sullinger

April 23rd, 2014 at 7:00 AM
By Sean Melia

Jared Sullinger started his 2013 summer spouting Celtic Pride. He stepped forward as a vocal leader. Then he got himself into some personal trouble, causing him to get suspended by the team for the opening game of the season (doesn't that feel like a really long time ago?).

'greg monroe jared sullinger' photo (c) 2013, Marissa Gawel - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Sullinger's talent was never in doubt. He was highly touted at Ohio State, but a back issue pushed him way down in the draft. That injury reared it's ugly head last season, keeping Sullinger out of 37 games in his rookie year. 

This year was a different story. Sullinger only missed 8 games, his back was a non-issue, and his play of the court improved. Looking at Sullinger's per game numbers doesn't really do much, because his minutes were increased by eight minutes per game (so everything should go up). However, his per 36 minutes numbers took a massive leap. He became more of an offensive threat, scoring 17.3 point per 36 min. Compared to 10.9 in his rookie year.

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Boston Celtics’ Bright Spots for the 2013-14 Season: They’re in the Lottery

April 20th, 2014 at 10:27 AM
By Sean Melia

The Boston Celtics are back in the lottery for the first time in 7 years. In 2007 the Celtics had the 5th pick in the draft after a horrible season and a disappointing lottery outcome. Greg Oden and Kevin Durant were the prizes at the top of that lottery. The Celtics used that 5th pick to draft Jeff Green then traded him for Ray Allen.

The rest is history. 

Now, the Celtics are hoping to make a move from the fifth pick up into a spot that could get them Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, or Joel Embiid

Before the season started the Celtics seemed destined for a top draft pick. They were missing their best player, they had a new coach, and a dearth of talent. What they did have was some spunk. Jared Sullinger wanted to bury Ubuntu and resurrect "Celtic Pride." The team played hard throughout the season, even at times when it seemed like they should pack it in a worry about getting into the top three of the draft.

Once the season started, the Celtics found themselves at the top of an Atlantic Division rife with dysfunction. The Brooklyn Nets started slowly, so did the New York Knicks. The Celtics were below .500 but on top of the Atlantic Division after 25 games. 

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Boston Celtics’ Bright Spots from the 2013-14 Season: Avery Bradley’s Offense

April 19th, 2014 at 12:46 PM
By Sean Melia

'Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford' photo (c) 2011, Keith Allison - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Avery Bradley's offense was always the question mark. The All-NBA defensive talent needed to close the gap between his defensive prowess and his offensive ability. The 2013-14 season, while still hampered with injury for Bradley, was a step in the correct offensive direction.

Some people have said that Bradley's shooting returned to the level it was at in 2012-13. That's true to an extent. His shooting percentages are very similar to what they were two seasons ago. 

Here's a comparison of his last three seasons:

YearFG%3FG%eFG%TS%PPG
2011-1249.840.752.555.57.6
2012-1340.231.744.446.19.2
2013-1443.839.548.551.014.9

It seems like we can chalk up the 2012-13 season as a bit of an anomaly (or we can assume Bradley will be the type of player to have a good season every other year). The numbers for the 2011-12 and 2013-14 are pretty similar. His numbers from this most recent season are a little bit lower, however, Bradley was carrying much more of the offensive burden. He was taking 13.8 shots a game this past season. Two seasons ago he was shooting only 6.3 shots a game. 

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Boston Celtics’ Bright Spots from the 2013-14 Season: Brad Stevens

April 18th, 2014 at 7:00 AM
By Sean Melia

This is a no-brainer, right? Brad Stevens came out of nowhere a few years back in Butler with back-to-back NCAA Championship appearances. Last July he came out of nowhere again when it was announced he was going to be the next coach of the Boston Celtics. People were shocked, but it turned out to be a pretty great call on Danny Ainge's part.

'Coach Brad Stevens' photo (c) 2008, Bradjward - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Yes, this season was full of loses. Yes, it seemed like there were some disappointing finishes to games. It's so obvious though that Stevens had the respect of his players and convinced them to play hard throughout the whole season. 

It's been written in plenty of places that Brad Stevens might be the most valuable asset the Celtics have right now. It's almost undebatable. He is signed for five more years, he seems intellectually curious, endlessly enthusiastic, and positive. He is the perfect fit for this rebuilding process. He made it through the hardest part of his tenure in Boston most likely. Obviously, there will be disappointments in the future. The hope is that those disappointments come from being really close to the ultimate prize instead of silly turnovers and bad shots in the final minute of meaningless March basketball games. 

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Boston Celtics’ Bright Spots from the 2013-14 Season: Rajon Rondo’s Health

April 17th, 2014 at 7:00 AM
By Sean Melia

The season started with continuous questions regarding Rajon Rondo's health and his return to the court. The summer of 2013 was full of promise. Danny Ainge said it was "possible" that Rondo would be back by opening night. He was off by a few months. He returned on January 17, 2014.

'Media Day is not a favorite for Rondo' photo (c) 2010, DGA Productions - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

However, the Boston Celtics should be commended for how well they handled this injury from January 2013 to his return against the Los Angeles Lakers 23 million seconds later. The work was not done once Rondo returned to the floor; in many ways it was a whole new challenge.

The Celtics did a fabulous job making sure that Rajon Rondo stayed healthy during his three months on the floor. They were careful, giving him games off so he was not playing on back-to-back nights.

Rondo's health is a bright spot for two reasons. The first is that he is on his way to being 100%. He survived the season, which is more than Derrick Rose can say following his second knee injury in as many seasons. This means that he will be able to use this summer to prepare for a full 82 game season, without having to worry about rehabbing. He can simply focus on basketball.

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