Will the Celtics hop on Rajon Rondo’s back again this season?

For the final installment of this year’s Summer Forecast series, we wanted to close with a focus on the key element of the Celtics’ 2012-13 season, the one topic that will be in the spotlight more than any other, and the one that would ultimately dictate the success of this year’s team.

SUMMER FORECAST


We’re breaking up the summer doldrums by trying to predict exactly how the 2012-13 season will play out for the Boston Celtics.

We had to close with Rajon Rondo.

During our 15-part series, we’ve touched on a variety of key topics, including who will emerge as the team’s starting shooting guard, whether a rookie like Jared Sullinger is ready to make an immediate impact, and if this is the year that Boston finally gets a much-needed boost from its bench.

Along the way we also debated who would emerge as the team MVP and it was a landslide victory for Rondo. It’s not hard to see why: The 26-year-old point guard is vital to the success of the team and will be the focal point on a star-studded roster.

It also seemed appropriate to end with Rondo given the way the Celtics offseason played out. Sure, the team put its core back together and added some supplementary pieces, but the biggest story line was the departure of Ray Allen — officially ending the Big Three era. In the aftermath, Celtics coach Doc Rivers came out and again hammered home the notion that this Rondo’s team.

Our panel, which did a spectacular job carrying this series all summer long, nails it again with this one. We’ll let them do most of the talking. But one theme jumped out and it’s something we’ll spotlight here before passing the microphone.

The most intriguing aspect about Rondo is his continued growth and development. We’ve seen him morph from a deep-on-a-bad-depth-chart rookie to the spunky young point guard that defenses ignored on a championship team to now the focal point of a title-caliber team littered with Hall of Famers. And we’re all left wondering the same thing: What’s next?

Each year, Rondo has taken a step in his progression. Each year, he wows us with something new in his arsenal or an improvement in another area of his game. He’s come far in six seasons, but there’s this excitement about what still lies ahead.

And it’s with that growth that the Celtics jump on Rondo’s back a little bit more.

Read on as our panel explores the importance of Rondo.

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