|Posted by paul on November 1, 2012 at 11:55 AM|
I'll start by acknowledging what is blindingly obvious. Doc is a tremendously successful NBA coach and former player. I, by contrast, used to splash through puddles on the local outdoor court during rainstorms trying to perfect my woeful J. So, far be it from me to contradict Doc Rivers.
Today, Doc Rivers was on WEEI for his regular weekly spot, and part of his interview had to do with Avery Bradley, his defense, and Rondo.
First, on Bradley.
“The ball pressure he can supply takes up clock… When Avery is on the floor, (teams) don’t typically start their offense until 14 to 12 seconds (left on the shot clock). Right away, your defense is better because you have less time to defend. The second thing is you can put him on the best guard, and you don’t need a lot of help with him. The less you have to help a player, the more your team can sink in and be a better team defensively.
“Physically, mentally, he’s tough. He has great anticipation. He has great feet. He was blessed with great feet, great athleticism, but more importantly, he has great instincts.”
Make no mistake about it, Avery Bradley is one of the NBA’s best wing defenders. What I love about his defense is that he uses intense, in-your-face pressure to mitigate things like height advantages. He’s a difference maker on the floor.
And then the follow-up question: “You don’t think Rondo could do what he does if he put his mind to it?”
“Yeah, he could, but I think it would be hard to run the team and be as aggressive as I need him to be offensively and do it full-time. I think that would be asking a lot.”
Look, we can all agree that no one guy - even Lebron - can do everything. I would add that the smaller the player is, the harder it must be for them to do everything, because everything they do takes more energy. Lebron gets a lot done just by being big and being there. Everything is a matter of balance. If only folks who hate Rondo were criticizing his man-to-man defense, that would be one thing. But I think a lot of folks who really love the guy are saying it, including Scal, possibly Rondo's biggest fan. It's a matter of balance. There is no way that Rondo can play defense the way Avery Bradley does. But I think he can and needs to play MORE that way than he does.
And here's the thing; the Celtics offense will become easier if their defense becomes more powerful. Again, it's a balance thing. We need more defense now just to get our offense going and make things easier for our offense. We may need to give Rondo a different rest pattern. But he needs to bring it on defense more. We need that badly. It's not always a zero sum situation. It's not always true that effort put out on defense takes away from effort put out on offense. The opposite can happen. I think the Celtics offense needs more defensive intensity from Rondo now, not just the defense.
The whole discussion by Rivers, about the state of the Celtics, is a good listen. My favorite thing is that Rivers defended Rondo against Wade's punk accusations:
Appearing Thursday on Boston sports radio WEEI, Rivers noted that Wade has "given a lot of hard fouls" in his career and pointed out that Rondo's gruesome elbow injury during the 2011 playoffs was "created by Dwyane Wade."
Added Rivers: "I don't think [Rondo's flagrant] was a 'punk' move unless [Wade's foul] was, too."
I'd like to see Rivers continue to do this. I'd like to see him point out not only that Wade as given Rondo a lot of hard fouls, but also when other players try to hurt Rondo and get away with it. Too often we've seen opponents not only foul Rondo hard, but in a way that seems intended to injure him. If Rivers doesn't speak up about it, how can he expect Rondo not to react at some point.
My God! I can't believe it!! While interviewing Rondo, a member of the media finally acknowledged that Rondo gets hammered a lot and doesn't get the calls!!!!!
I never thought I'd see the day!!! And Rondo finally brings up Wade's history of dirty plays. Right on, Rondo. It's about time someone called out LeThug. And I'd like to see someone other than me point out that LeThug always seems to clobber people from behind...