I’ve never been a big fan of resolutions. My thought has always been that you shouldn’t wait until the New Year to join that gym or read that book or start being nice to your boss. You shouldn’t have to do these things at all, frankly, and you certainly shouldn’t have to listen to your friends cry and moan on social media about how things are really going to be different this year.
I don’t like making resolutions, but that changes when the resolution is for someone else. Getting on someone else for not doing things right is much easier than facing up to my own deficiencies. Without further ado, and from the comfort of my office chair, here are my 2014 resolutions for some of the Celtics.
Rajon Rondo: Get better Notice how I didn’t say “get back on the court by Feb. 1” or anything like that. Rushing back is foolish for Rondo in a lot of ways. It could jeopardize his health, and the Celtics don’t need to put their star player at risk during a season in which the playoffs are not a priority. Danny Ainge has admitted as such. Rondo’s health may be the single most important factor to the future of this franchise, whether the Celtics decide to build around him or send him elsewhere this summer. Get better, Rajon.
Jeff Green: Be more consistent I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been watching a game this season and thought, sometimes out loud, “Where’s Jeff Green?” Green is capable of putting up big numbers — 31 points against Cleveland, 29 against the Clippers –but he’s just as likely to throw up a dud. His point totals in games in December: 15, 16, 19, 29, 8, 8, 13, 13, 11, 19, 8.
Green is averaging 15.9 points per game, up from the 12.8 he averaged last season but nowhere near the 20.3 he averaged last spring in a playoff series with the Knicks, which some saw as a precursor to bigger things.
Kelly Olynyk: Be patient And this goes for fans, too. Olynyk’s talent is obvious, especially on the offensive end, but he’s struggled with his shooting in his rookie season (.404, .281 from three). On defense he remains a work in progress. It will take time for his skill set to come together. The flashes of brilliance are there; Olynyk runs the floor well and sees it even better. He’ll be a regular rotation player for years to come. For now, though, give him time.
Avery Bradley: Keep building Bradley has rebounded nicely after a difficult season last year. Not playing point guard has helped, as has much improved shooting (.454, .388 from three). Bradley’s a player I’ve never given up on. His one remarkable skill, his on-the-ball defense, is so much above that of the average player that he’ll have a place in the league for a long time (imagine Bradley as the third guard on the San Antonio Spurs or some other contender, for example). Bradley doesn’t need to do everything. When Rondo comes back and with more scorers around him, he should be just fine.
Jordan Crawford: Keep driving Crawford has done a nice job sliding into the role of the team’s No. 3 scorer, but his old nemesis — shot selection — has come into question recently. Crawford was 3 for 15 last game against the Hawks, making 1 of 7 3-pointers. Threes have never been his strong suit (31 percent for his career), and that’s still true this season.
Look at Crawford’s shot chart.
Why settle for threes with that kind of a mid-range game?
Jared Sullinger: Play your game All NBA players have slumps. Sullinger is going through his first one now, averaging 5.3 points on 28 percent shooting his last three games. That’s got to be frustrating for a guy who takes most of his attempts three feet from the rim.
Sullinger has shown he can step out and take the occasional 3-pointer this year, but that doesn’t mean he should abandon his junk game. Pound the glass, seal guys off, and throw in some more of those half-hooks. It’s worked at every level of his career, and there’s no reason to think it won’t continue to.
Brad Stevens: Appreciate the process By all accounts, the first-year Celtics coach has exceeded expectations. The Celtics weren’t supposed to be good — and they still sort of aren’t — but they’re playing a respectable brand of basketball. Stevens has the Celtics playing hard. They’re 10th in the league in defensive rating and 12th in total rebounding. They’ve lost more games than they’ve won, but they haven’t looked bad doing it.
Stevens has turned around the fortunes of Bradley and Courtney Lee. He’s gotten through to Rondo and kept him engaged. He’s made Kris Humphries likable and helped turn Sullinger into a rising star. The wins will come, Brad, but maybe not this season. And there’s nothing wrong with that.