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NBA Weekly Roundtable, Week 3: Snubs and Subs

Evan Budrovich, Tanaya Ghosh, Sareen Tavidian |
February 1, 2013 | 1:18 a.m. PST

Staff Writers

It's time for the Celtics to rebuild the roster... or does Boston have more time? (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
It's time for the Celtics to rebuild the roster... or does Boston have more time? (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
The trade deadline is approaching quickly, while injuries are starting to take their toll across NBA squads. Here's our writers' takes on what happened last week in the Association. 

1) The big news last Sunday was that Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Eighth in the East, 3 games ahead of Philadelphia, the Celtics are at an alarming risk to miss the playoffs. Do you see any immediate signings by the Celtics, and how does this injury affect the Celtics' offseason strategy?

Evan Budrovich: The Boston Celtics lost their most talented player in Rondo, but remain able enough to make the postseason. Courtney Lee will carry much more of the burden at the point guard position to allow Jason Terry the freedom to jack up even more shots off the bench. In terms of moves this offseason, the Celtics will need a back-up point guard to solidify their rotation. Boston will be looking for a cheaper option that can feed Pierce and Garnett the basketball until Rondo returns in the middle of next season. I expect the Celtics to keep their roster relatively intact this offseason and look to build around Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger and Rondo. Trading any of their young pieces would be foolish, considering that Pierce only has one year left on his contract, making the offseason of 2014 the time to completely rebuild. 

Tanaya Ghosh: Losing Rondo was definitely a shocker, but if the Celtics’ win over the Kings Wednesday night is any indication, this might fuel their fire to make something out of this season. No doubt it will hurt their chances for success, but if the Celtics can keep up their ball handling as Paul Pierce did against the Kings and play a solid game, they have a chance to make a comeback. Whereas they still may not make the playoffs, they may not be "doomed" as some people say. Interestingly, over the past 4 seasons that Rondo has been on the Celtics, the team has had a slightly higher winning percentage when he hasn't played. 

Sareen Tavidian: I think everyone will agree that the 2012-13 NBA season isn’t a lucky one for the Boston Celtics. It was already tough losing Ray Allen to free agency, and with Rondo out, the Celtics are now facing a little bit of heat (no pun intended). The team’s recent streak of losses is already proof that they might not be strong enough to make it to playoffs, and with Rondo gone, their chances of getting into the postseason are questionable. There are talks about trading Pierce for Bledsoe and Butler, but I think they won’t be making any roster moves until the offseason.

Bledsoe is a super backup point guard, but his long-term future as a Clipper is up in the air (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).
Bledsoe is a super backup point guard, but his long-term future as a Clipper is up in the air (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).
2) During the early parts of the season, especially on the team's 17-game winning streak, Eric Bledsoe was proclaimed to be an NBA starter stuck behind an NBA superstar in Chris Paul. Since Paul has been out, the Clippers are 2-4. Why do you think Bledsoe has struggled during his time as the Clippers' starting point guard, and what do you think his future with the Clippers?

Budrovich: Paul has spoken out numerous times about Bledsoe’s future as a starting point guard in this league, and I think his claim is accurate. The Clippers have struggled without Paul as a team, but that does not diminish the exciting talents that Bledsoe offers. Despite his sensational quickness and athleticism, I do not expect the Los Angeles Clippers to sign him to a long-term deal. Bledsoe has a great contract, only owed $6.3 million over the next two years, making him a moveable commodity. In the first stint without Paul, Bledsoe played spectacularly and carried the Clippers to a winning record without Paul. Therefore, I have little doubt about his future as a starting NBA point guard.

Ghosh: After sustaining a hip injury a month and a half ago, then returning and starting after Paul got injured, there has been a lot of change in Bledsoe's world along with the swirling trade rumors. Bledsoe has the capacity to develop into a star player if given the opportunity he's getting now to start. However, Paul's shoes are big to fill, and let's face it: Bledsoe can't draw the defense like Paul can. Unless they can get an exceptional deal, the Clippers would be making a mistake in letting him go, although the organization has been known to let promising talent go to save money in the past. Bledsoe's struggles come down to making the adjustments to his game after suddenly being called on to start and replace a superstar. These growing pains will likely go away, but it takes time.

Tavidian: The Clippers bench is the strongest bench in the NBA this season, but with Paul sitting out during the past couple of games the Clippers have shown some signs of struggling. However, the team has the ability to pick up another winning streak due to their exceptionally talented bench, and a big part of that is Bledsoe. Some would agree with me that Bledsoe is as good of a player as Paul, but in order to shine he just needs to act as a leader while on the court with the team. It takes time, and once he grows as a player he will without a doubt have the skills to lead the team, even without Chris Paul.

Steph Curry has the right to be miffed over being passed for an All-Star game berth (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).
Steph Curry has the right to be miffed over being passed for an All-Star game berth (Keith Allison/Creative Commons).
3) Bigger NBA All-Star Snub (and why) : Brook Lopez or Stephen Curry? Editor’s note: Lopez was named an injury replacement to the All-Star team on Tuesday for the Celtics’ Rondo.

Budrovich: Now that Lopez has replaced Rondo on the roster, Curry is officially the biggest snub from the all-star game. Take away that point from the discussion, Curry still deserved a bid to the all-star game. The argument of bigger impact goes to Curry because he was the main cog behind a team with less talent. Plus, Curry is averaging over 20 points per game, while playing some of his best basketball against the elite teams like the Thunder and Clippers. Curry has also been strong as a distributor, dishing out the seventh-most assists in the Western Conference (6.4). Lopez has played well, and deserves his newly-found spot on the All-Star squad, but Curry was playing more outstanding basketball and has a legitimate case of being robbed from making the game.

Ghosh: There's no question both of these players should have been voted in, so it's hard to say since both are leaders on their teams. In terms of expectations, Lopez has exceeded expectations this season. He's been leading the Nets, and has a great offensive game. On the other hand, Curry is the most valuable player on his team, and is shooting an impressive 45 percent from 3-point range. It's interesting that fellow Warrior David Lee got voted in, whereas Curry got snubbed. Not to say Lee doesn't deserve it, but Curry is undeniably the Warriors' leading player. The voting system, in terms of determining who the true "all-stars" are, is definitely flawed to a certain extent.

Tavidian: Curry was definitely the bigger snub. Although he is always prone to injury, Curry is young, versatile, and does a great job of assisting the Warriors with his quick and amazing offensive skills. His leadership and strength is what is leading the Warriors to the playoffs. Curry is exciting to watch and obviously among the NBA’s most improved players this year, and has plenty of time to prove that he’s an All-Star caliber player.


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