As this thread seems to be showing, our record in the big three era has been better without KG than without Rondo. Claiming that we tend to win games without Rondo while waxing poetic about how irreplaceable KG is fairly ridiculous given the circumstances.
I'm telling you right now that our most critical players are Pierce and KG.
Pierce (not Rondo) is our most important offensive player, because he is the one and only consistent offensive threat on this team. The only guy who can demand double teams every time he touches the ball, and the only guy who can score pretty much at will when he gets hot.
KG is our most important defensive player, becuase he is the anchor and the orchestrator of our defense. He talks, gets everybody in the right spots, and is the only big we have who's capable of protecting the paint. His net defensive rating of (-8.58) currently ranks 4th in the entire league. Our defensive rating with KG off the court (108.03) is pretty close to the worse defense in the league, while our defensive rating with him on the court (99.46) is among the best.
Rajon Rondo has a negative defensive rating AND a negative offensive rating according to the numbers right here:
More importantly than individual numbers though is the lineups.
Yes, if you look at all of our rotations that have played together, the majority of our top rotations feature Rondo as the PG:
1. Terry, Pierce, Green, Sullinger, Garnett (+51.67|9 mins)
2. Rondo, Lee, Green, Sullinger, Garnett (+49.51|22 mins)
3. Rondo, Bradley, Pierce, Green, Garnett (+37.04|18 mins)
4. Rondo, Lee, Pierce, Green, Garnett (+33.81|31 mins)
5. Rondo, Barbosa, Pierce, Bass Garnett (+33.33|15 mins)
6. Terry, Lee, Green, Sullinger, Garnett (+27.12|95 mins)
7. Rondo, Lee, Pierce, Sullinger, Garnett (+25.61|41 mins)
That said, we have two strong lineup options here (#2 and #6) which have so far been extremely effective despite Rondo not being in those rotations.
An interesting thing to note is that while Rondo is featured in 5 of these 7 lineups, the same can be said for both Pierce and (surprisingly enough) Jeff Green.
Look, it's obvious that Rondo has an impact on this team, but the point I'm trying to make here is that he doesn't have as big an impact as everybody says. We are not immedinately doomoed without him - if guys like Terry, Lee and Green step up, we can easilly make up for his loss.
In fact I think those stats I quoted earlier showed that the Celtics average 23 assists per game with Rondo on the court, and 20 assists per game when he's not on the court. This is actually a pretty small defecit ofonly 3 extra assists per game that we record as a team when Rondo is playing - clearly the other guys (be it Pierce, KG, Barbosa, etc) are upping their assists when Rondo isn't there.
I honestly think we are going to be roughly about as good as we were with Rondo. While we will miss his talents, I think we will change our style of game with him out (which may make us less predictable and harder to prepare against) and I get the feeling one or two guys (I think Barbosa, Terry, Lee or Green) are going to lift their game in his absense.
We shall see!