|Posted by paul on January 28, 2013 at 4:00 PM|
I didn't much like Rich Levine when he wrote that Kyrie Irving was the future best pg in the NBA. I feel that we have a pretty amazing candidate for that position ourselves. But today, I have to give him kudos for possibly the best piece so far on the Rondo injury.
At the tail end of Sunday’s win over the Heat, long after Rajon Rondo’s torn ACL had been confirmed by Doris Burke, the Celtics point guard told Cedric Maxwell: “I’m coming back to play in two weeks.”
And you know what? I kind of believed him. Despite all the logic in the world. Despite the fact that it’s literally impossible to bounce back from a torn ACL in two weeks' time. I saw that quote, and for a split second thought: “Well . . . it is Rondo . . . so maybeeee . . . maybe?”
There are two kinds of sports fans/media personalities in Boston.
The first group doesn't like basketball very much. They're Celtics fans (maybe), but not NBA fans. They don't get today's game. They don't even try....
This group hates Rondo. They've treated him as a scapegoat for years. As an easy target on which to dump all the Celtics problems without having to give it more than two seconds of thought. To be honest, this group will be rooting for the Celtics more now than have in years. They'd love for the Green to succeed without No. 9 so that they can run with the narrative of how much better Boston is without him.
The second group loves basketball. They love the Celtics and the NBA. They know that Rondo may be one of the biggest pains in the ass to come through this city in a long, long time, but that he's also one of the most unique and mesmerizing talents to ever wear Green.
Even though he didn't bring it every night, with Rondo there was always the chance — the expectation — that you were going to see something that you never have before. He sees the game in ways that very few ever have. ... the bottom is that for those who truly love basketball, Rondo's absence goes far beyond wins and losses.
It takes away from the game itself.
What I want to see from the media at this point is an insider, not Jackie, who can tell us why Rondo and this team never clicked. How did the gap between this team and its best player become such a rocky gulf that Rondo's injury seems to be a relief in some ways? How did this season turn into such a train wreck?
I guess Boston's experience with transitions from one era to another has been a little strange. Either the transition is impossibly smooth, or it's an absolute tragedy. From Russell to Cowens, from Cowens to Bird, from Pierce to KG ... so smooth. Barely a hiccup. There might be a year or two inbetween two eras where the team struggled, but once the new leader arrived, he established himself immediately.
And then there were the unspeakable tragedies. Bias and Lewis.
What we haven't had is what we had this season; the handoff from one era to another completely bobbled. Was it that the old timers couldn't let go? Was is that the heir-apparent wasn't up to the job? Were there too many newcomers who thought that just maybe they could be the New Leader? Was everyone waiting for Avery Bradley? Was Rondo overcontrolling the team? Were the others failing to step up?
Not all legendary NBA leaders step smoothly into their roles. Magic had a showdown with his first coach. Jordan went almost a decade before he won his first championship. Ditto for Isiah. So it's not always a storybook when new leader comes on the scene. But why did this season turn into a trainwreck? There has to be a reason beyond just Rondo Is A Jerk. Yeah, we know that there are many in Boston who can't get enough of that explanation. But I want to know what really happened. Something happened here that we haven't been clued into. I still think that Bradley's taunting tweet about Rondo's defense gave us a hint, a glimpse. But to what?
Bill Simmons and Sean Grande had a good discussion today of the Rondo situation...
There seems to be a growing conviction that the Celtics may play better without Rondo. Simmons comments that maybe Lee, for one, has been unhappy with Rondo dominating the ball. I think that's been obvious, and I think it's also been obvious that Lee's not been the only one.
Simmons also talks about the immaturity that Rondo seemed to continue to show this season, the inconsistency, and about Simmons' hope and the hope we all had that this would be the season where Rondo would be more mature, where he would be consistent enough to really be the guy the team would form around. It just didn't happen. There were times when it looked like it might happen, but then ... it wouldn't happen. Simmons thinks that this forced layoff might be what Rondo needs to take the next step as a player.
I can't deny it that I'm angry with Rondo. I want to yell and say, 'do you finally see now how important it was to take full advantage of the opportunities you had? Do you finally understand why games like that Clippers game where you barely showed up upset people?' But what good does it do to yell? And the way the first half of this season went wasn't all Rondo's fault. Why did so many guys on the team seem to only make a full effort when Rondo wasn't playing? I just can't see how that can really be explained. It sucks that things went that way.