|Posted by paul on July 13, 2013 at 6:35 AM|
Much has been written about the forthcoming pairing of our young new coach and his young, established All-Star point guard. Will they get along? Will Rondo "sulk" if he can't play his way? Will he ignore his coach (as he seemed to ignore Doc, at times, last season)? Or will Rondo follow his coach's lead and do everything in his power to win games?
My take: RR will follow Stevens' instructions and lead -- or RR will be gone. Reason: coaches have only one major criterion by which they are judged: wins. They have no other or ulterior motives. Players can play to achieve certain statistical goals (e.g., Rondo's assists streak last season), and for other self-aggrandizing reasons that do not necessarily translate into wins. It's a safe bet that everyone in the Cs' front office knows this. Therefore, if it comes to a a clash between Rondo and Stevens, Rondo is likely to lose, and the net effect will likely be that he's traded away.
And in that case, I would agree with that end result. Here's hoping it never happens.
Interestingly too, this is what passes for a friendly perspective on Rondo. After all, the writer sincerely hopes that Rondo will get it through his thick skull that Coach is Boss, and Rondo is mere cog in machine designed by Coach -- if he's lucky. The writer's point of view is floated on a raft of assumptions, each of which is not in itself completely implausible, but each of which seems to be taken as proven fact. Thus we are supposed to believe that coaches do not have ulterior motives.
This reminds me of the claim that Doc gets along fabulously with everyone, so if he has any problems with Rondo, it's all Rondo's fault. I mean, come on!! I wonder how all the players who have ended up in Doc's doghouse might feel about the notion that Doc Rivers = Saint...
Apparently, we are also to believe that Rondo has no right to want to 'play his way', or, anyway, to insist upon it with any vigor. Does the utter absurdity of this not strike Rondo's opponents at all? How can a player like Rondo be crammed into a role or a niche? He can't be. So to demand that he not 'play his way', or else he's "gone", is pretty much exactly the same as to say that you want him gone. Yet the writer claims that he doesn't want Rondo gone. Like the Walrus, he tearfully hopes that Rondo will stay, even as he sets up impossible conditions for Rondo to stay.
On and on it goes. The writer takes it as proven fact that Rondo sacrificed the good of the team over a horrible obsession last year to extend his assist streak. That's nothing but an interpretation - and a highly prejudiced one - posing as a fact. The fact is that Rondo had an assist streak. A highly reasonable surmise, based on the one losing game where Rondo returned to the floor after the game had been lost, apparently in order to extend his assist streak, is that the assist streak had real meaning for him. It is a highly unlikely interpretation that Rondo dissociated that win streak from the good of the team. In fact, a more reasonable argument is that Rondo percieved there to be a important association between his assist streak and the good of the team. The bulk of his assist streak coincided with the mighty stretch run in 2012, and even amidst all the troubles of early 2012-2013, it coincided with a winning record for the team, and it was sacrificed by Rondo when he percieved - as he later averred - a need to reinvigorate an attitude of toughness on the team (which led to the fracas with Humphries, and Rondo's ejection, well short of ten assists).
It really is time for Rondo's haters to recognize that they have been SCAPEGOATING him. There is plenty to criticize about Rondo, but what we need is constructive criticism, and what we don't need are the short leashes, the set-ups to fail, etc.. I"m a bit shocked when I think about how incredibly unreasonable it is to say to Rondo, who has had to stifle his game in order to conform to Doc and the Three Saints for nearly the entirety of his career so far, that he now has to stifle his game for neophyte coach Brad Stevens and the Gang of Rascals that Ainge has gathered. Wait, people, at what point does Rondo get to be himself a little bit? This is a guy praised on every side for his basketball mind. Is there really to be no pressure on Brad Stevens to adjust himself to Rondo's game?!!! Are we really prepared to roll Rondo straight from the frying pan into the fire? DO YOU NOT EVEN WANT TO SEE WHAT A MORE LIBERATED RONDO WOULD ACTUALLY LOOK LIKE?!!
To me, this anti-Rondo attitude is silly, it's unfair, and it's hateful to the spirit of basketball, which embraces the creativity and vision of its best players. It's time for the scapegoating to stop. It's time for constructive criticism. I think most of us have a pretty good idea what Rondo needs to improve to break through to the 'next level' - which, by the way, would obviously be superstardom, would it not?. He needs to be more consistent. He needs to shoot better and to play more aggressively on offense while sharing the ball more. He needs to dig in on defense more. He and Bradley could be the most feared defensive twosome in the league, but only if Rondo toughens up on D. There is much work to do, and soo soo much reason to do it - with a positive attitude.
An article in the Herald might help Haters get it through their thick skulls that the Rondo-Stevens partnership might actually work brilliantly, because these are two young guys, chock full of ideas, who seem to have at least some ability to relate to each other.
Apparently Stevens spent the entire day at Rondo's camp, when he visited! That doesn't sound like just a PR visit to me. It sounds like a guy really trying to connect with another guy.
“I’ve always said that the one thing that rivals Rajon’s ability is his basketball intellect,” Bibby said. “Being young and energetic with a high basketball IQ is one thing that the both of them have in common. That’s what Rajon loved about Doc — that connection they had on the floor. I’m sure that’s what will happen here, too.”
Bibby, who coached Rondo at Eastern High School in Middletown, Ky., for three years before the guard moved on to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia for his senior year, knows all about that famous stubbornness. But Bibby can also speak to the other side of Rondo’s persona.
“He was basically my assistant coach,” Bibby said.