|Posted on November 18, 2012 at 8:05 AM|
There was such an explosion of words about Rondo from his teammates after last night's game. It was surprising and striking. As impressive as the win was, and as impressive as Rondo's 20 assist outburst was, it was more the way the team seemed to play, and the way it seemed to feel about the game that mattered. This team remains a sketching, still being developed, game by game, but last night we saw some of the magic that we anticipated this summer, a team deep with talented individuals, all of whom 'buy into' Rondo's leadership, because they seem to appreciate his vison for the game just as we do.
KG, in particular, had some amazing things to say about Rondo after the Raps game. KG spoke very emotionally about his young protege, even traveling down memory lane to the first time he realized that Rondo had a special talent, three days into his time with the Celtics, during a pickup game, which Rondo dominated in his own inimitable way. KG even went so far as to put Rondo on the same level as Kobe and Lebron! But I think KG's most important words were these; I think these were words aimed more at Rondo than at us:
I’m not saying he was scoring the ball, but he was dictating a lot of plays from both ends. I evaluate the game from not just a scoring perspective, but a defensive perspective, too. I told him a long time ago, when I first met him, that he had the potential to do both — that he had the energy and the IQ to do both — and it was up to him. Obviously, you all see what this product is coming out to be, and the future is whatever he wants it to be. I’ve always said with Rondo it’s always between his ears, and consistency is everything. Whatever you put into this, that’s what your’e going to get out of it, and he’s doing a great job of it.
I think KG is reminding Rondo that offensive numbers may bring him glory, but that his leadership is needed on BOTH ends of the court, and that his greatness as a player, and above all, as a leader, depends on the unique way he puts both ends of the rope together. Rondo first established himself as an elite player in the NBA on the defensive end. Then he rose to the foreground on the offensive end. A lot of what happens this year depends on Rondo focusing equally on both ends. It's a lot to ask of a player. But how could it be any other way with Rondo? His twoway game, which somehow blends into a oneway game, is part of his gift, maybe the biggest part.
Consider yourself reminded, Rondo! The Guru has spoken! Keep both streaks going; the double digit assist streak and the control-oppoing-point-guard streak. Keep those two streaks going, and this season can be legend, for Rondo, and for the Celtics, and really, for basketball.