|Posted by paul on April 16, 2012 at 4:20 PM|
Who is Rajon Rondo? The media and many fans persist in presenting an indelible image of Rondo as a perpetual tagalong. One would have thought that last night's game against Charlotte would have stopped a lot of that, as a demonstration of Rondo's ability to excel without the Big Three on hand, but instead much emphasis has switched from the Big Three to Stiemsma-and-Bradley. Rondo, it seems, remains consigned to the role of tag-along.
One blog even claims that Rondo's recent remarkable assist numbers don't help the Celtics' offense, and that this is the case even though the Celtics offense is supposedly now built to suit Rondo!! This writer would have us believe, it seems, that bringing Hollins on board for an alley-oop now and then has turned this Celtics team into Rondo heaven! Ah, no. This is still a slow, old, J-happy team that does not seem to particularly suit Rondo. The main change has been that, with Bradley starting, Rondo has a reliable cutter to work with, and can run a little more. The idea that this relatively minor change turns the Celtics into Rondo paradise is just absurd. In this Brave New Rondo World, Rondo's best passing option in the paint is Avery Bradley! Rondo's best finisher all season has been Wilcox, a journeyman! Such are the dreams of Rondo?!!
No. Rondo is doing as he has done throughout his career so far: he is adapting brilliantly to making the most out of the players on hand, and the scheme imposed by the coaching staff. It doesn't matter, though. Even when the Big Three are gone, people will continue to argue that Rondo is at best the third or fourth best player on his team. Knowing Rondo, he'll probably see the hidden compliment there; is it not, in a way, the best flattery a facilitator could hope for?
In time, the quasi-religious fanaticism of the worshippers of 'advanced metrics' will presumably force their ideology onto reality. They will reconstruct all sports, including basketball (the last hold-out), according to regimented principles, where individuality is suppressed, where everyone becomes a cog in a machine. Then everything will be as quantifiable as they could hope for. They'll be able to use computer programs to decide thorny problems like who should get MVP awards. Why leave such important matters up to fallible human judgement? In a world where everything has its niche, and all important qualities are reduced to what can be enumerated, judging can only be a matter of more or less complicated measurements and calculations.
Rondo is a paradox, though. He is an unrepentant individualist who also happens to represent the epitome of team play. He doesn't seem to care about his PER. When it comes to stats, he seems to keep his eye on the simple ones: wins and assists. He seems to love the game for itself. He's a throwback. Thank goodness a few still appreciate that. For the time being, there is still room in the NBA for a modern Houdini of the Hardwood (Cousy's nickname, back in the day), for an Artist of the Arena...