USA Today is ranking teams on their watchability. In their opinion, the Phoenix Suns will be the least watchable team in the NBA this season. Following the Suns in unwatchability are the Jazz, Bobcats, Sixers, Magic, Bucks, Lakers, Kings and Hawks. That brings us to #21 in their watchability rankings: The Boston Celtics.
They believe that we should watch them, at least after watching the 20 other teams above them, because this is now Rondo's team:
The Rondo takeover: The Celtics point guard is surly, cutthroat and one of the most gifted players in the NBA. Now he has his own team to return to when his knee is ready. It's unlikely he'll top 10 assists a game for the fourth consecutive year because his teammates aren't as talented as in past seasons, but he may showcase more of the talent that has led to so many triple-doubles and gaudy stat lines. And you know he'll be out to prove something. In the off chance that Rondo doesn't return this season, a la Derrick Rose last year, you can drop the Celtics at least five spots in these rankings.
It's clear that the NBA feels that the Celtics aren't going to be very watchable this season. The Celtics will be on national TV just 6 times this season, after almost 30 appearances on national TV last season. There are no TNT games scheduled, no ABC games scheduled, and only 3 ESPN games and 3 NBA TV games on the schedule. If you want to watch the Celtics this season and you don't live in Boston, you are going to need League Pass.
Now, with the Celtics obviously rebuilding, it's not really all that surprising that they would be ranked 20th in watchability, or passed by for the coveted national games. But, the team they ranked just ahead of the Celtics is rather surprising: The Brooklyn Nets. The Nets have star power with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez. They have a future Hall of Fame player as their coach in Jason Kidd. They play in Brooklyn in a big market. They have a big rivalry brewing with the Knicks, who share the New York market with them. They have a high profile Russian billionaire owner and have a decent bench starting with Andrei Kirilenko and, unlike the Celtics, they are considered to be contenders this season.
The Nets are scheduled for 24 national TV appearances including 8 on TNT, so the league feels that they are at least way more watchable than the Celtics. But, USA Today ranks them just one spot above the Celtics, who ranked just 1/3 as many national TV appearances as the Nets. But then again, the Lakers, ranked 3 spots below the Celtics are scheduled for 29 national TV appearances, including 5 on ABC. The Lakers have Kobe coming back from an Achilles tear and Pau Gasol and not much else. They don't even have any exciting rookies to follow. For not being very watchable, we are going to have to watch them a whole lot. Maybe the league feels that they are airing Kobe's final season or something. Featuring them that much doesn't make much sense otherwise.
As far as the Celtics, I'll definitely be ordering League Pass and watching the Celtics this season. In fact, I'm looking forward to it. In spite of their record, the 2006-07 was a fun season to watch because we had so many young players who went all out every game and they were in most games till the end but couldn't quite get the win. But, they were fun to watch. Give me a team of young players and players with a lot to prove who play hard ever game over a veteran laden team that coasts through games and then tries to turn it on at the end any day.
I'm looking forward to watching Kelly Olynyk developing as a player and becoming a low post threat. This kid is going to be fun to watch. I'm looking forward to watching Jared Sullinger coming back from the back surgery to prove to the 20 teams that picked before the Celtics that they made a mistake. I'm looking forward to Phil Pressey and MarShon Brooks developing as players. I'm looking forward to watching Avery Bradley and Jeff Green take that next step toward stardom. I'm looking forward to the camp invitees working hard to make the team and maybe, just maybe one of them will be the surprise of the league.
I'm even looking forward to Kris Humphries redeeming himself and showing that all his hard work this offseason is paying off as he tries to earn that long term contract with the Celtics. I'm looking forward to watching the differences in coaching between what we have seen from Doc Rivers for 9 years and what we will see from the newly hired Brad Stevens. And I'm excited to watch Rondo this season. I want to watch him as a leader both on and off the court. He may not get as many assists as in years past because his teammates may not be as good at scoring as in previous years. But, I believe he is going to be a better all around player and that will be fun to watch.
No, the Celtics don't have big names like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, but they also won't be considered too old to win any longer. I can't tell you how many times I watched the Celtics get out to a big lead last season, only to run out of steam and lose the game. They seemed to coast way too much. All of the Celtics have chimed in this season saying that tanking isn't in their vocabulary and they won't have any of it. I believe that. I can't wait to watch this team, that isn't given a chance to be watched on TV, let alone win, fight and claw for everything they get. And, that in my opinion is worth watching.
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