|Posted by paul on January 10, 2013 at 12:25 PM|
It had to happen. After a loooong third of the season, in which Rondo failed to impress either his fans or his critics, Avery Bradley came back from his injuries, and seemed to turn the Celtics into contenders once again overnight. Right away the ongoing groundswell of talk about trading Rondo exploded into a tidal wave. For the first time, perhaps, I really have to admit that the arguments for trading Rondo are strong. They may even be irresistable. I'd be upset if Ainge traded Rondo now, but I wouldn't necessarily say he was wrong to do it.
This season, Rondo has looked like what he has looked like for so many years; an immense talent who simply is not good enough, or consistent enough to lead a team. But that's just not good enough anymore. He's too talented to be a role player, and maybe he's just not good enough to be a guy you build around. Based on the quotes Shawn posted earlier today, even KG may be getting tired of Rondo. Even in last night's game, where by rights Rondo should surely have been motivated to make amends for being suspended, the Cs were outplayed in the two quarters Rondo mostly plays in, the first and the third. Frankly, it's hard to escape the suspicion that the Celtics are better off when Rondo isn't there. On offense, he demands control of the ball, but doesn't do enough with it most of the time. On defense, Rondo can be devastating when he's motivated, but for much of this season, he has been the go-at guy for opposing teams.
How else to put it? He's becoming known, like Metta, for the trouble he gets into more than for his game. At the same time, Rondo may have more trade value now than he has ever had, partly because of his (shrinking) league lead in assists. I'd hate to see the Cs trade Rondo, no matter whom we get back for him, but I think the key for him is defense. When Rondo is active on defense and on the boards, there's no question who the best player on the team is, and who the leader is. Will we see the Rondo we've been hoping for the rest of the way? I hope Danny gives him that chance, and I hope he comes through.
Rondo says the game is an emotional game. I couldn't agree more. Danny is often congratulated for 'taking the emotion' out of personnel decisions. I find that crazy and wrong. Those decisions are very much about emotion, along with other things. But plain old hard work goes a long way, and builds the foundation for a strong game. We've got to see more of that from Rondo, especially on the defensive end. We've seen enough of Rondo's loosy goosy 'defense', and his pounding the ball into the floor 'offense', for a while. It's past time or Rondo to turn on the switch.