|Posted on November 21, 2012 at 10:10 AM|
Kudos to Cedric Maxwell for being the only person I've seen to make the case against Rondo's stat-stuffing in a reasonable and cogent way. Max's points are the ones we've all probably thought of. For Rondo to obsess over his statistical streak is in opposition to the Celtics Way, a way that has always scorned individual statistical accomplishments. As Maxwell rightly points out, we've had some of the greatest scorers in league history, but we've never won a scoring championship. We've won league championships. We put team first. Max argues that Rondo's streak has become a distraction, and that it also distracts Rondo from doing what the team needs at times. I think Max is right to point out that Rondo probably could and should have scored 30 points against the Pistons, and we probably needed that from him, but he seemed more concerned with getting assists. Max also makes the typical points, that Rondo could have been hurt, etc..
But, overall, I think Max's arguments are missing out on context. The assist streak has taken on an important motivational value for Rondo and for the team as well, it seems. This team is struggling, and the streak has become a kind of aspirational landmark for the Celtics, as a kind of reminder of how good we can be, how good we believe we will be. In that particular game, the Detroit Debacle, Rondo's streak extension stood out as a bright moment in anotherwise dismal affair, especially since it was a way that the team could show camaraderie, and also a way that Rondo and Sully could develop a little chemistry. Evaluating it reminds me of the Celtics Fans chanting "let's go Celtics" at the end of Heat Game Six last year. Never was a chant so wasted, as a way of encouraging a team to win a game. That game was long since lost when the fans chanted. How pointless. Yet, the chant was a spark of life in a hopeless situation, and it was something we'll all long remember.
But most importantly, I think it's very clear, so obvious, that Rondo is using statistical benchmarks like the streak, especially the streak, as a way to motivate himself to achieve the consistency that he has been called on, rightly, to provide for his team. I believe that anyone trying to do anything in life knows that the force of inertia is powerful in human affairs, and the daily grind is very distracting, and in order to accomplish anything, one has to play little motivational games. Doc said that he doesn't care about records like that, that he's made differently that way. That's the point. We are all made differently. Rondo is someone who has a very active mind that is very easily distracted, or so it seems to me. If the streak is a way he can help himself give the team what it needs, it's a good thing for him. When the time is right, he'll let go of it. It's a motivational crutch. Meanwhile, it's pretty darned exciting!
I actually think that Rondo will learn something from this incident, and that in tonight's game we'll see a somewhat different Rondo, a Rondo who is better focused on what the team needs, a more complete Rondo. Rondo is a player who never stops growing. Meanwhile, Max, you make good points, but remember, when it comes to motivation, one size doesn't fit all.