MANILA, Philippines – The Boston Celtics, one of the NBA's most storied franchises, made some radical changes to their roster this off-season and plan on adding new wrinkles to their offense, but for their All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, the team's goal remains the same.
"I expect to win (a championship) every year I play," Rondo said in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News Monday at the Titan basketball store. "We have the talent."
"The team we have, the talent that surround me, the coaching staff, the organization... We expect to win a championship each year," he added.
The Celtics last won a title in 2008, when the Big Three – Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen – came together.
They reached the Finals again in 2010 but lost to fierce rivals Los Angeles Lakers, and last season, they bucked expectations by making it to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the eventual champions Miami Heat in seven games.
This off-season, the Celtics lost Allen to free agency, as the three-point specialist opted to sign with the Heat. It was considered a huge blow to the organization, especially as they lost Allen to a conference rival.
But even without Allen, Rondo is confident that the Celtics have enough talent in their line-up to win the NBA title.
The Celtics' most high-profile move this off-season came when they signed free agent guard Jason Terry from the Dallas Mavericks, but they also improved their bench when they signed Courtney Lee. They are also counting on the returning Jeff Green, as well as the continued improvement of Avery Bradley.
Rondo said that with their new, revamped roster, Boston fans can expect a more exciting team.
"I see the Boston Celtics scoring a lot more points," he said. "We didn’t put that many points on the board last season. I expect us to be a better rebounding team."
According to Basketball-Reference, the Celtics scored 91.8 points per game last season, ranking 26th in the league. Their offensive rating, a measure of points scored per 100 possessions, was 101.0, rankings 27th.
"(We'll produce) a lot more highlights this season," Rondo said. "We have a lot of athletic young guys – Courtney Lee, Jeff Green who is coming back."
"We'll get out on the fastbreak and run a lot more, and we'll be a really exciting team to watch."
The Celtics will still have Garnett, their defensive stalwart, and Pierce, the team’s leading scorer last season.
Rondo, who is entering his seventh season in the NBA, expects the upcoming season to be more difficult than the last.
"Each year has gotten more difficult for me as a player, and (for us) as a team," Rondo said. "Since the Big Three came together, we’ve had a big bull’s eye on our back."
"Every night, we have to go out and play against a team's best effort," he added.
Last season, the Celtics surprised many pundits when they made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. They were one game away from returning to the NBA Finals, leading the Heat 3-2 in their series, but Miami won the next two games.
"We fell short of our goal. Our goal was to win a championship," Rondo said. "We made it to the Eastern Conference Finals but we didn't come out with a victory... But we gave it all we got and we will continue to do so."