Originally posted on Celtics Green ...a boston celtics blog.  |  Last updated 8/26/13

LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 22: Rajon Rondo #4 of Kentucky shoots the ball around the reach of Glen Davis #34 of LSU during the game on January 22, 2005 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 89-58. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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I suggest that the most valuable Celtic this year will not be a player.  This is a building year.  The most valuable Celtics’ builders will not be players but the coach and GM.  Danny must finagle the pieces and Stevens must develop, groom, and build a cohesive chemistry.  This organizational process will be far more important for the course of this franchise than this year’s leading scorer, rebounder, or assist leader. Even so, there are two players whose seasons are likely just as critical to this development process.  One, as might be expected, is the floor general Rajon Rondo.  His attitude and leadership can go a long way toward integrating the multitude of unfamiliar parts and Brad Stevens’ process oriented progress day-by-day.  While Rondo may not even be playing games in November, or even December, he will still be a vocal coach on the sidelines and in less-than-full-speed practices.  His embracing the coaches growth policies is critical and his Three-Musketeers buy in will go a long way towards preventing the competition of five shooting guards and five (or more depending on how you count) power forwards from turning destructive.  Rondo too must buy in to the development year; seeing the big picture and the longer term goals that will involve considerable flux in his surrounding cast. I, for one, believe the basketball marriage of Rondo and Stevens is a match made in a hardcourt Mensa Valhalla.  These two guys may arguably be the most cerebral player and coach in the league today.  I can envision a lot of late-night brainstorming sessions filled with “What if we,” “or even,” and “if they, then.”  The keys, I think, are Brad’s enlisting Rondo as a partner in development, and Rajon maintaining a strategic, rather than just tactical, mindset.  Rondo has always been a fine tactician but I hope there are frequent sit-downs with Ainge, Stevens, and Rondo mulling over future developments to bring Rajon’s vision beyond the problems immediately at hand. The other player needing to take growth steps is Jeff Green.  Not so much his direct skill set as how he employs that skill set.  His emergence late last season was welcome and impressive, but it smacked of the hero ball that ultimately limited Pierce’s game.  There will be a terrible temptation for Green to take the bit in his teeth and make his season a quixotic tilt against the NBA windmill.  If he can (with Stevens’ and Rondo’s help) resist this urge and incorporate his emerging excellence to grease the team play and set up his teammates, then I think the table will be set for a huge jump in performance for this Celtics team over the next two years.  I really have no idea whether this growth in Green is likely, or even possible, but I will eagerly be looking for positive signs this year. Still, the key “players” in the Celtics’ growth this year will be Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens.  The leader of the front office, court sidelines, and on the court (Rondo) are all basketball mentats (see Dune, Frank Herbert).  Each is playing chess while their competition is liberally sprinkled with checkers players. I’m quite excited to see how this unfolds; and, in truth, we should all be eagerly watching the development this year, rather than the won-loss columns. [Discuss on CG Forums!]
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