Tragedy in Boston Could Mean Joy in Miami
By: Matt Pineda
There is no mistake that the Boston Celtics have been on the downward spiral ever since LeBron James joined the HEAT in Miami. The Celtics went from going to Game 7 of the NBA Finals in 2010 to losing to Miami in consecutive post-seasons. The Celtics remade their roster in the wake of Ray Allen spurning a Celtic offering and joining the HEAT, adding Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and a string of others.
On paper, the Celtics didn’t look too bad, with Jeff Green returning, they seemingly were ready for another run. but the age and chemistry was not right. Boston has struggled all season, and last week received the news during the middle of the game against Miami that their All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo had torn his ACL and will miss the rest of the season.
This is devastating news for Boston because Rondo is the one who runs that team and holds it all together. Despite them going 2-0 so far without him, most know the Celtics stand a slim chance against any contender without him. Talk of blowing up the team started to be rumored, and Ainge is listening to offers without seeking them just yet.
Today, the Celtics received news that their first round pick Jared Sullinger will require back surgery and miss the rest of the season. The Celtics may be in disarray. They can’t withstand another injury, and they don’t have a true point guard on their roster. The Celtics may blow things up, or they could make a minor acquisition and position themselves in the playoffs. We aren’t sure.
Here’s what we do know that favors Miami. Despite their loss to the Celtics without Rondo, the HEAT are huge favorites over Boston in a playoff series without Rajon Rondo. Mostly, Rondo was the one who gave Miami the most headaches. This eliminates a severe threat the HEAT would need to worry about.
Secondly, if the Celtics do implode and miss the playoffs, their likely replacement would be the Philadelphia 76ers who are only 3 games back. The Sixers are waiting on Andrew Bynum to return, if he does, to be a threat to anyone.
Here’s how this helps Miami:
1. The Sixers have been owned by Miami since LeBron joined the HEAT. The Sixers want to play the style of basketball that favors Miami, and this is good. Bynum could be a problem, but if Miami stays #1 and Philly is #8, should be an easy round for the HEAT.
2. If the Sixers make the playoffs, the HEAT receive their first round pick (from 2012 draft night trade). If Philly is an #8, the pick would be around number 15 or 16. This could result in someone like 6’11 Mason Plumlee from Duke. Or Archie Goodwin from Kentucky, maybe even Trey Burke from Minnesota. For all that it’s worth, maybe they draft Tim Hardaway Jr!
Miami could really use a good draft pick, and that could be huge for them moving forward into luxury tax time.
Keep on eye on the race between Boston and Philly because it impacts the HEAT in so many ways.
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