|Posted on November 28, 2012 at 11:15 PM|
There's been a lot of hype about the Deron Williams - Rajon Rondo matchup tonight, because the NBA is a point guard centered league now, or so we hear. A lot of the hype is legitimate. Point guard is certainly the hot position in the NBA, but the pundits act like this is some amazing new thing, never seen before, and they are attributing it all to rules changes, led by Doc Rivers...
That's especially true when you see more and more teams build their rosters around point guards - something that was unheard of during Doc Rivers' days as a player.
Rivers believes the shift has more to do with rule changes than anything else.
"I don't know if I could have played in the league with these rules, or I could have been great," Rivers said.
Rules regarding what's allowed defensively have made the NBA game one in which players who have the ball in their hands the most - usually point guards - will have a significant impact on games.
"It's brought the quick guard back in the league, the small guard back in the league," Rivers said.
I guess Doc wanted to show the world that he can talk as much crap as anyone. Doc, do you remember the eighties at all? Do you remember Magic and Isiah? Your career took place in a point guard era!!! The game always changes, but it never really changes. That was a point guard era. This is a point guard era.
We also hear that Centers don't matter anymore. I'd say that's a good reason to keep an eye out for strong centers. It won't be long before someone comes along with a full basket of skills and shows the world that centers do still matter. Meanwhile, thank goodness Sully and Rondo don't seem to have bought into the "centers don't matter" hype. Those two guys think that both centers and point guards matter. Silly sods.
It was all about pick-and-roll defense during Tuesday’s Celtics practice.
It was once again about pick-and-roll offense for Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger long after the team workout was over.
In what has become a ritual for the pair, Rondo called Sullinger over after the 90-minute practice to run about 15 minutes of pick-and-roll, and pick-and-pop, sets. The goal of the drill is to get Rondo better used to shooting off of Sullinger’s picks, and to get Sullinger more used to being in the right place to set the right screens at the right times, while also getting him more comfortable with firing the mid-range jumper on the pick-and-pop.
“That’s been our routine for the past month and a half now,” Sullinger said. “It’s just getting our shots up in game-like situations.”
Like most everything else in a game that’s wise beyond where it would be for most 20-year-olds, Sullinger has picked it up quickly. But Rondo has also been quick to give the rookie a sigh of disappointment and a stare of admonishment in games when he’s been late on screens and the play has broken down.
“You’ve just got to understand that Rondo wants certain things,” Sullinger said. “You’ve got to know his tendencies as a basketball player. Sometimes they’re unexpected tendencies. But at the same time, you’ve got to expect the unexpected with Rondo. You just have to keep playing, and always have your hands ready.
I'd like to see Rondo too learn to expect the unexpected more. Sometimes teammates pass back to him, and he's usually not ready. Rondo, you've got to change that. Some of our best plays could come from you passing off and then getting the unexpected pass back. It's time to be ready for that.
Meanwhile Flannery writes a screed that seems intended to demonstrate that PER is really the tenth commandment of basketball, and advanced stats always win...
We are even told, by this sage, that Rondo basically had an off year last year, and all thanks should rightly go to KG for our late season surge, and also an off year the year before!!! See, the stats never lie. Only your mind lies. Your eyes lie. Stats don't lie. But Flannery is willing to give Rondo a bit of a prop this year because PER likes him better. Isn't that cute? It is very important to have the blessing of advanced stats. Or even semi-advanced stats.
Personally I could care less about PER. I could also care less about whether Rondo is a top point guard in the NBA. He's one of the top PLAYERS in the league. The whole debate about where he stands amongst point guards is a nice red herring for those who seek to drag their heels when it comes to acknowledging Rondo. The only reason I care about matchups with CP3 and Deron Williams, et al, is that I know that if Rondo can control them with his D, and play well offensively, we'll beat those teams. Well, honestly, there is another reason. I hate the way Rondo has been denigrated for years in comparison to those others, on the basis of his playing with 'three HOFers', or on the basis of overall statistical comparisons (ie, Rondo doesn't score as much). I especially hate the hypocrisy of those criticisms now that Paul and Williams have been basically handed contending teams on platters, while Rondo is trying to stitch together a great team out of a lot of talented players, none of whom are dominant in the game today, but all of whom love team ball.
Frankly, it makes me sick that no one is claiming that Paul's success with the Clippers doesn't mean as much since he now has powerhouse teammates, ditto for Deron. So I hope Rondo shows Deron that you don't have to be a coach killer and a team stripper to accomplish something in the game of basketball. I want Rondo to show what two teammates like Sully and himself can accomplish by working extra hard because they love the game, and what a team can do when they keep working on playing better together, and no one goes whining off to another team looking for brighter days when they can make brighter days at home, except for 'that guy'.
I'm sick of Rondo getting ripped for his attitude, when his attitude is that of someone who is dedicated and cares, while someone like Williams gets hype and glory, and no one says anything about his attitude, even though reportedly he's been sulking about not being united with Howard for easy rings, and even though he apparently basically ended one great coach's career. Look, it's fine that Williams tried to get himself into a situation that was to his liking, but let's just stop with the hypocritical put downs of Rondo and hypings of Williams. Rondo took the hand he was dealt and won a championship, made it to the finals once, almost made it another time, and is working hard to make it to the finals again now, and he's doing it all with creative play, determination and teamwork.
And Rajon, keep working on that skyhook. I swear, you'll be killing teams with it some day... and they'll find some way to say it's wrong!