COMMENTARY | With Rajon Rondo in street clothes for the rest of the season, the Boston Celtics were left at a crossroads at the trade deadline. Should they clear house and gain assets in the process, or attempt to stay competitive in a weak Eastern Conference? The acquisition of Jordan Crawford and willingness to keep Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in town proved that Danny Ainge believes in this group enough to give them one last chance.
The team recently acquired Terrence Williams after his stint in China, then inked him for the rest of the season. Williams has been considered by almost everyone around the league to be a shooting guard; so why bring him onto a roster that already boasts Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Crawford, and Jason Terry at the same position?
In Williams, Ainge sees a potential point guard. The 6'6" Louisville alum admits that nobody has ever told him that he can play the position, and play it well. Clearly, Ainge and head coach Doc Rivers believe that they see something in Williams that others around the league have not.
This symbolizes the creativity movement that Boston will have to commit to without Rondo. They were not one of the elite teams with their All-Star point guard, and they are worse without him. No longer can they try to straight up beat teams like Miami Heat and hope to succeed. To have a chance, Rivers will have to find ways to change the game and make opponents play in an uncomfortable manner.
The team will look to someone like Williams to provide flexibility in the backcourt in the same manner that Jeff Green has shown the ability to do so in the frontcourt. In order to beat the league's best, they will have to create and take advantage of mismatches.
A potential lineup of Williams, Lee, Pierce, Green, and Garnett is certainly unconventional, and potentially very awkward. Regardless, it could be a very versatile one, and one that could be hard to match up with. This sort of grouping could space the floor well, bother opponents with length and quickness, and operate well in transition. There is no true point guard and no true center out of this bunch, but could it be worth a shot?
Even with Rondo, one of the best playmakers in the league, this team was flat. They were at a point where nobody in their right mind outside of their locker room realistically expected something resembling a run at a championship.
With Rondo on the bench in street clothes, wild cards will be needed. Can Jordan Crawford find his place and harness his offensive firepower in a productive manner? Could a 6'6" Terrence Williams annoy opposing point guards on both ends of the floor with his size? Do opposing power forwards really feel like chasing Jeff Green around the perimeter? Will opposing centers feel comfortable guarding Garnett, who tends to play further away from the rim?
There are a lot of variables here, and the likeliness that it works long enough to make a deep playoff run is low. But it might give Boston a chance, regardless of how small that chance may be.
With their best player nursing a torn ACL, a chance is all the Celtics can ask for.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering the Celtics for 3 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings.