|Posted by paul on February 10, 2012 at 1:35 PM|
A lot of Celtics fans don't like Rondo, but those who do see the same thing, I think. We see a player who, when he is on, is one of the most most creative, intelligent, aware, skilled and athletic players in the league. We see a player who renews our love for the game, who inspires us. We see a guy who may affect a game in more ways than any other player in the league today.
But the fans who don't like Rondo see a different player, and that player is real too. They see the Rondo who gives up on plays defensively. They see the Rondo who disappears from the offense, even though he is supposedly the heart of the offense. They see how the team's energy stagnates sometimes when Rondo is on the floor. The endless arguments between Rondo fans and Rondo haters really comes down to this: which is the 'real' Rondo?
It's funny too, how this works out. Have you ever noticed that Rondo haters are forever waiting for The Trade? They get excited everytime there is a Rondo trade rumor, and if there aren't any rumors around, they make them up constantly. Meanwhile, Rondo fans are constantly waiting for The Breakout Game. I've called for Rondo to score 40 points in a game. One feels like if he could just truly explode in one game, like Jeremy Lin, but more, maybe he would establish a new threshold for his game. Maybe he would never look back.
More and more it looks like we are all waiting for some definitive solution to a struggle that appears to go on inside Rondo. How can one square the Rondo who controls all aspects of both ends of the game, with the Rondo who shrinks to nothing and disappears on the court? I've thought for a long time that a lot of it has been caused by Rondo's no win situation, and by bad luck. Last year, Rondo played incandescent basketball CONSISTENTLY in the early going, but then began to rack up injuries that played havoc with his game, and then The (Perkins) Trade happened, and since then he's constantly been on the trading block; all this has happened in the context of a larger situation where the vets on the team, and Doc, and the brass, and the fans seem themselves to vacillate between demanding that Rondo do more, and then criticizing Rondo for trying to do too much, for not keeping to his role - even though he no longer has a clearly defined role! Rondo is in a tough situation, for sure. If he does well, it's said that it's all because of the Big Three. If he does poorly, it's all his fault. If he pushes the ball, he's criticized for not controling the pace. If he slows the game down, he's criticized for taking the air out of the ball. If he tried a tough shot or pass, he's blamed for gambling too much. If he doesn't, he's criticized for being too passive. He's in a situation that is a no win situation on so many levels.
I think that we as fans need to CONSISTENTLY call on Rondo to step up into team leadership, as clearly the best player on the team. We should consistently praise him when he does, and criticize him when he doesn't. Of course I know that won't happen, but I wish it would. After last night's game, where Rondo seemed to disappear when his aggressiveness was most needed, I really wondered if Rondo's rollercoaster play isn't something that is so inherent in him that it can never change. If that's true, I don't think he should be a starter. But I still don't think it's true, and I think that if we fans could just consistently call for him to excel, maybe the message would get through to the team that what Rondo needs is consistent expectations. What would happen if everyone consistently expected Rondo to lead, and to excel. Would he live up to it? Would he break through his pattern of vacillation? Or would he fail? I'd like to see.
I blame Rondo a lot, but I have to wonder how anyone would be able to cope with all the mixed messages he gets about what is expected of him.
If Gary Washburn is right (and I would call anything he says close to official) Rondo does NOT have the backing of the team, which would help explain his vacillation:
“I don’t think that they feel that Rondo is like a franchise point guard. I think that they think they need a franchise big man, but I don’t see why you would trade a 25, 26 year old Rondo for a 31 year old Gasol who is probably on the down side of his career.”