|Posted by paul on September 17, 2012 at 8:10 AM|
One of the most intriguing things about Rondo is the way he manages to 'steal the show', as Kris Joseph put it the other day. This was the summer of Dream Team 2.O, the Ray Allen Betrayal, the Summer of Dwight's Big Move, the Summer of the Brooklyn Nets, the Summer of The Unibrow, and so on. There were so many glitzed up stories this summer. The thing is, a lot of folks are tuning out the hype.
Then there is Rondo. He's a whisper in a room of shouting voices. He's the name loudly not mentioned by Ray Allen. He's a guy who had a team built around him without going crying to the media and threatening to leave (ala Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, etc.). Rondo didn't show off any slamma jammas this summer, but he did let the basketball world know that his leaping ability is back. He interned at GQ and not only look like he belonged there, but produced a comedy video that is way better than anything Steve Nash has done. The scene where Rondo is loaded up with bags and cups of coffee and is trying to get through the fancy plate glass door of the GQ office is top notch physical comedy. Charlie Chaplin couldn't have played it better.
Rondo became a star this summer, and - as always - he did it his own way. My favorite Rondo moment of the summer was the pickup game he played in Taiwan. What's so fun about this game is that Rondo makes no effort to overawe the guys he is playing with. He's just messing around with some guys, and he focuses on passing the ball to his teammates, same as he would in an NBA game. Compare this to the game Redsarmy had two years ago, where Dwayne Wade is running a basketball camp for kids, and he makes a big point of bullying and intimidating what look to be 8 year old children! I presume that Wade isn't always such a ****, and that Rondo can be as much of a **** as anyone, but still, the contrast seems telling. Remember, Rondo is a guy who is being tabbed as an MVP candidate for 2012-2013. But he doesn't seem to be a guy who feels that he needs fireworks accompanying his every move in order to make an impression.
Others jump and scream for the spotlight. Rondo draws it to him.
The rest of the league is dimly aware that something is brewing in Beantown. Celtics fans can feel it coming, though. We can't wait for this season. We know it is going to be special. We can feel that a legend is about to be crafted. Doc called Rondo a genius. If this summer represents Rondo's introductory notes for the season to come, can you imagine what the real thing will be like as it unfolds? It won't be a dreary and tired repitition of what we've seen before so many times. It will be a revelation. Why shouldn't it be? Why have we come to expect less than that from sports? You can tell that the Celtics players feel it, even the rookies -- that they are about to become part of something very special. This will be a team in every sense of the word. It won't be a collection of superstars. They will go ten deep, not three. Each player will be constantly looking for ways to make the players around him better.
But it begins and ends with Rondo. This is a team that will have to run to win. They'll have a strong halfcourt game, but their real strength will be in transition. To run, they'll have to play strong defense, and that starts with Rondo. A lot of folks are talking about the importance of Rondo stepping up as a shooter and scorer this year. Or course, that will be important, and we can be fairly sure that Rondo will step up there. Hardly anyone is talking about defense.
Over the last few seasons, the sight of some guard blowing past Rondo on his way to the basket has become all too familiar. Hubie Brown could barely contain his desire, at times last year, to stray from the script, pointing out how weak Rondo was on defense at times. Btw, anyone who thinks that media folks don't work from scripts, watch how Hubie struggles to call out Rondo without calling him out by name. Watch that and wake up people. Every bit of 'information' you get is scripted, more or less.
Rondo is a great defender. Those who think he's 'overrated' are blind. But the time has come for Rondo to refocus on defense, after two years of focusing on offense. His game, and the Celtics game this coming year will rise as high as a strong and solid foundation of defense allows.
I don't mind being a broken record. Rondo will be DPOY this year. He'll win the MVP, and he'll do it his own way. It's become a truism that we are in the era of the point guard. That truism has been overplayed, of course; did the team that won the championship last year have a great point guard? But it also has a lot of truth to it. In today's game, a great point guard can shred an opposing defense. But what about the flip side of this? If a great offensive point guard can dominate a game, what about a great defensive point guard? Avery Bradley gave us a taste last year of what a great defensive point guard can do to an opposing team. I think Rondo will cook up a feast of defensive play for us in 2012-2013.