|Posted by shawn cassidy on October 18, 2013 at 5:15 AM|
It had to end.We had all this success, and just like that. We are back at square one. It had to end, and now were faced with a new era of Celtics basketball. I feel confident in the direction, if Rondo is the true player that Danny builds around. The glimmer of all possible change is hard to handle.
Rondo's voice with this team is clear, and it's right to the point, and it's genuine. He seems at ease right now, and it must be hard. For the first time in his career he is the guy. He's the one that everyone looks to, and he's unable to go out there. His coaching on the sideline throughout this injury has been an inspiration for his team.
Some players retreat into the seclusion of the trainer’s room when they’re injured, but say this much about Rajon Rondo.
The Celtics guard is at every game, every back-to-back, and in his coach’s ear, fully invested in establishing his position as leader of this fluid, imprecise team.
But he’s not on the floor, maybe not until sometime in December. His clout has limitations in that respect. The players who have been out there for the C’s 1-5 exhibition start need empowerment — one of the many tough jobs facing coach Brad Stevens.
It helps, though, when the empowering comes from the players. That’s something Doc Rivers never had to worry about over the last six years of his Celtics reign. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen policed the locker room, keeping all concerned in line.
Garnett had empowerment in mind last season when he told the media that Jeff Green could be one of the best players in the NBA. When word filtered back to Green, the Celtics forward beamed in genuine surprise. Endorsements aren’t common from KG, and are motivational gold.
Pierce seemed to be on a similar mission when he visited his old team prior to Tuesday’s game in Brooklyn. He made his way through the visitors locker room as if he still belonged there, talking to old friends and encouraging them to take care of themselves.
Pierce, now in the odd position of watching from the outside, wants to like what he sees.
“They’ve got a lot of good young talent,” he said. “I’ve had a chance to watch them a couple of times on TV. Obviously, their big rookies, you see (Jared) Sullinger, he’s taken the next step, he’s finally healthy. Then when they get Rondo back, this team has a bright future.
“Jeff Green, I expect him to emerge and really have a good season,” Pierce added. “Courtney Lee is comfortable out there. Avery (Bradley), it’s time for him to really step up. They really have some great young pieces to build on.”
But Pierce went further. He approached Green, Bradley and Brandon Bass, just as when he still occupied the main seat of authority in the locker room.
“I told Jeff he’s the veteran of the locker room now,” said Pierce. “Me and Kevin aren’t there, he’s the veteran. I told Brandon Bass he’s the veteran of the locker room now. I think they’re ready to assume that leadership position. I think they learned well, saw the things we were able to do in Boston and they’re ready to take over that role.”
Garnett’s ability to make his words stick is something that Rondo needs to get under his belt. KG changes cultures, and Rondo needs to believe in that. He's the one player that's being looked at in Boston. Rondo's a leader, and now it's time to take it higher. Rondo needs to change the culture, even if it's something that we don't want to hear.