While so much uncertainty dribbling around the Celtics these days — uh, heard any good Doc Rivers rumors lately? — the club is fully expecting to be improved in at least one position next season.
Not only will they be better at point guard when Rajon Rondo returns from ACL surgery, but Danny Ainge believes this version of Rondo, when healthy, will be a notch above the one voted an Eastern Conference All-Star starter.
The Celtics president of basketball operations knows that Rondo was paying attention when he was out, seeing how the team did better at first when not relying so heavily on one ballhandler and then noting how much he was missed during the postseason.

“I think Rondo is a smart guy, and he got to see the strengths and weaknesses of our team and the players,” said Ainge. “I think he actually started to see it even before he was out, but when you’re out, you can see things in your team and your teammates that maybe you didn’t see before. You see players that are capable of doing some things that maybe you weren’t sure they could do. I think that’s always helpful. Doc and I have both talked to Rajon about what he can do to get better and what he needs to do.
“And Rondo’s a smart kid on his own. He doesn’t listen to everything you say, but he’s got his own ideas of what he can do to get better, as well. He’s very observant, very street-smart and very basketball-smart, too.
“I always think he’s getting better.”
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s likely because similar stories are written each offseason about Rondo. Some aspects are factual, as with the talk of his improved outside shot. Other aspects are essentially hope on the part of the Celts, who want/need to see Rondo become more of a leader.