We are finally at the end of this long and draining season. I know that if it was draining for the fans, it had to take a lot out of the players. We saw a lot of lows this season with so many injuries that started in training camp and never let up. As of tonight, the team has lost 304 player games to injury, a figure that has to rate up there at the top for games missed by a team. We saw Telfair regress from starter to 3rd string and Ratliff play exactly 2 games while watching Brandon Roy lead the ROY race. We lost Red just before the season began and we lost DJ in the middle of the season. We had the league's longest losing streak with 18 consecutive losses. Finally we have to endure all the tanking talk and accusations leveled at the Celtics, along with comments from Gomes and Doc that validate these accusations.
But it wasn't all darkness for the Celtics this season. The brightest spot has to be the emergence of Al Jefferson. He has averaged a double double for the season and of late has become a handful for any team to cover in the paint. We haven't seen low post moves like his since Kevin McHale walked through those doors. And we hear him say that he hasn't even scratched the surface of what he can accomplish. We hear about how hard he is going to work this summer and we can't help but get excited.
Another very bright spot is the play of Rajon Rondo. Danny has been looking for that perfect point guard for this team. Marcus Banks wasn't it. Gary Payton wasn't it. Sebastian Telfair wasn't it. But with the recent play of Rondo, we are seeing the point guard of the future. He has instincts that you just can't teach and even as a rookie has impressed. His only knock has been his shot but he has been working hard on his shot all season and we have seen a great improvement as the year has worn on. He just has everything it takes to become a top PG: instincts, the ability to see the floor, great decision making, huge hands and incredible defense. He is for real and another reason to be excited about next season.
Finally, we have a chance to draft one of 2 franchise players expected to be in this season's draft. For 20 years this franchise has been under a dark cloud starting with the death of Len Bias and continuing with the death of Reggie Lewis, the Pitino fiasco, the loss of the 1997 lottery and on and on. It is time for things to turn around and the sun to shine on the Celtics again. Next season, we will have a top draft pick in the fold. The patience with the young players will begin to pay off and the luck of the Irish will be back with the Celtics. This season was dark, but the future is very bright.