" />
EST. 2011

Celtics Title Town

"IN RONDO WE TRUST"

Celtics Blog Post New Entry

KG Steps Up For Rondo

Posted by paul on February 8, 2013 at 6:40 AM

Leave it to KG.  


I criticized KG the other day for saying that Pierce was always understood to be the Celtics' leader, even though KG had repeatedly asserted, in the not-too-distant past,  that the team followed Rondo's lead.  Perhaps KG was leaning on semantics a little.  His literal words were that 'this was always understood to be Pierce's team', or something like that, so maybe he was relying on shades of meaning.   I think he was being a  bit shady.


So I was pleased and impressed that KG stepped up last night, and became (to my knowledge) the first guy to acknowledge that the team should have played better while Rondo was still here:

Scott Souza ‏@scott_souza (twitter)

#Celtics Kevin Garnett: when you have a Rajon Rondo, who does everything you get lackadaisical, like if someone's always cooking for you.

I think there was actually more to it than that, KG.  I think you are right when it comes to your game, that you relied on Rondo to the point where you became less aggressive than we really needed you to be, but I think some of the other guys came very close to out-and-out refusing to adjust their games to play with Rondo, despite loud protestations that they admired Rondo and looked forward to his leadership.   We all know that Rondo ended up controlling the ball too much, considering how little he accomplished with it, relative to how much he controlled it, but was that all his fault?  I think it was a Rondo tendency that became more extreme as Rondo was left to feel more and more like he had to carry the team almost by himself (which I think in turn led to his injury).  Guys were bricking wide open shots.  Guys weren't hustling, weren't moving without the ball, weren't running the floor, weren't active on D.  When asked to pass the ball around, they often did it sluggishly and without purpose.  Again, I'm not claiming that Rondo had no fault in what happened this year.  Around here, we've been talking about the problems with Rondo's D, and the way he slows the ball down on Offense, for longer than most of the Haters, probably.  I'm just thrilled to see KG begin to acknowledge openly that it can't have been, and really wasn't, all Rondo's fault.    


Watching Nash last night, I was reminded of Rondo.  Early in the game, he tried to stay in the flow of the offense, but Bryant was invisible, and Howard was acting the clown - I'm sorry, Rondo gets raked over the coals for his free throw shooting, but at least he tries -  and as the game began to slip away from the Lakers, Nash began dominating the ball, trying to break down the Cs' defense, attacking the basket, trying to make clever passes, etc..  Bryant, meanwhile, also began trying harder, but that meant going into his iso mode, ala Paul Pierce.   The worse things got, the more Nash dominated the ball, dribbling endlessly at times, looking for something, anything.  He ended up making passes that got picked off, and wild shots that didn't quite go in.  So, blame it all on Nash?


I'll repeat what I've said before.  I think the basic conflict on this team has long been between Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo, not between Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo.  People see the superficial gaps, and what they don't see is that there is a deeper fissure causing them, or exacerbating them.  I think the difference between the almost crazily bad way Pierce was playing before Rondo went down, and the intense, focused way he is playing now, might be the most extreme change on the team, even if his stats were great before.  I think that the big weakness of the eighties' Celtics was that Mchale and Parrish never really quite learned how to play off each other.  They ended up basically taking turns.   I see the basic problem with the recent Celtics being that Pierce and Rondo have never quite learned how to play off each other.  I think that other players come into this situation, sense the tension between Rondo and Pierce, and see space for their own egos.  Problems ensue and grown.


I suppose it doesn't matter.  The team is playing great now.  They may even be playing championship level basketball.   Who cares if it took the subtraction of Rondo to get there?  Now Pierce is the undisputed leader, the room for other egos to cause further splits and cracks has disappeared, and voila... now we see the deep, active, talented team we thought we'd see.


I'm sure KG wouldn't agree with any of my 'analysis',  but it just was nice to see him recognize that the team should have been playing this hard and this together and this urgently  when Rondo was still around.


--------------------------------------------


One of Celtics Blog's Head Haiters reports that not only might Rondo return earlier than expected, but sources report that he has learned the error of his ways and no longer wants to obsess over his assists:

http://www.celticsblog.com/2013/2/8/3966900/rondo-and-the-celtics-future-best-news-heard-in-a-while

To give credit where credit is due, at least this Hater has the habit of holding out the pining hope that Rondo might learn the error of his ways.  Most Haters don't even allow for that possiblity, I'd say.  It hardly matters though, since such expressions of hope almost invariably amount to demanding that Rondo stop being Rondo, while blaming everything on him.  True to form, this writer doesn't allow for the slightest hint that maybe Rondo's teammates need to learn some lessons too, and that maybe they played some role in the trainwreck that the first half of the season turned into.  


I doubt if Rondo will be back any time soon.  I'd love to see him come back, of course, provided he is really healthy, and provided he really does learn the error of his ways, but I'd also have to believe that the team would have learned the error of its ways, and so far, I see no sign of that whatsoever, apart from KG's comment last night.   Frankly, the team generally seems absolutely thrilled that Rondo is gone, and shows virtually no sign of remorse for the way they played earlier in the season, nor any awareness that, by playing so badly earlier, they may have contributed to the problems in Rondo's play, and to his injury, or that they had any responsibility to make things work before.  Some of the comments, such as Bass appearing to blame Rondo for his difficulties this year, have been egregious.


So basically, the best empathy for Rondo that the best of the Haters can manage is the hope that he will crawl back on his knees like the Prodigal Son, only not so proudly.


And then there's Bob Ryan.  Apparently Bob Ryan has made it official, declaring that Rondo's assists prove his selfishness.  Oh these are heady times for Haters.  Well here's what I think, Bob.  I think Rajon Rondo is one of the most talented players I have ever seen.  He may be the most talented.  I think he fell into some very bad habits, and SO DID HIS TEAMMATES AND HIS COACH (kudos again to KG for beginning to acknowledge this).  Blaming Rondo alone may be the simplest solution;  just get rid of Rondo and you've gotten rid of the problem.  But you've also gotten rid of a tremendous talent that the Celtics and the game need.  


So I wonder if we could consider not dumping all the blame on one guy?  I know it's  a crazy idea, but how about it?


When you see the way Rondo loves passing the ball, the way he defends his teammates, the way he dives to the floor after loose balls, the way he tries to rise to the occasion when the team is struggling, I don't see how anyone can in good conscience claim that Rondo's heart isn't in the right place.  And does anyone think that KG would be so close to a guy who was as selfish as so many claim?  But the bottom line for me, in a sense, is that I just don't think you can be someone who throws some of the beautiful passes Rondo throws if you don't love team ball.  They call it flash, showing off, razzle-dazzle.  Their hearts must be blind.

Categories: None

Post a Comment

Oops!

Oops, you forgot something.

Oops!

The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In

19 Comments

Reply Franklin
11:48 AM on February 8, 2013 
Good piece Paul. KG got it right.. KG has stepped up with Pierce. The others seem to follow those two,and not Rondo.
Reply paul
12:26 PM on February 8, 2013 
Franklin says...
Good piece Paul. KG got it right.. KG has stepped up with Pierce. The others seem to follow those two,and not Rondo.


It seems clear now that that's exactly right.

Got to admit that part of me wishes that KG would corner Pierce about how he managed to become so sick with 'screw up' disease before Rondo went down, only to have a miraculous recovery.
Reply Greg
12:42 PM on February 8, 2013 
Rondo we need without question. Rondos next step is playing off the ball. And of course he needs to return to all NBA defesne also.
Reply jlil89
12:59 PM on February 8, 2013 
Keep eating that humble pie Rondo. Came back and lead this team to multiple championships!!
Reply GeeZeeCeltics
1:40 PM on February 8, 2013 
This is an altogether very interesting topic to discuss. It always did seem to me like this season Rondo used up too many seconds on the shot clock for dribbling while guys ran off the ball. I don't want to put the blame on only Rondo, or only Jet/Green, but those two need to touch the ball often to be effective. It is no coincidence that both are playing reinvigorated basketball since Rondo went down. It simply is a conflict of playing styles, you can't even fault either side. They just don't fit as they currently are. The question, therefore, is - can Rondo adjust, or will he even see the need to adjust, to this playing style, where the ball swings around and he facilitates, but doesn't single-handedly direct everything? This is something he did in 2008. I think he can do it, and if he can, then we would be a force to reckon with (most likely from next season and beyond).
Reply Morena
2:04 PM on February 8, 2013 
Wow!!
Great read, and the final paragraph is wonderful!!
"Their hearts must be blind" - such a great line!! You made my heart smile.
Reply paul
3:04 PM on February 8, 2013 
Greg says...
Rondo we need without question. Rondos next step is playing off the ball. And of course he needs to return to all NBA defesne also.


I don't care so much about him playing off the ball, Greg, though I think he should be more active when the ball isn't in his hands. I don't mind him dominating the ball. It's just that he's got to accomplish more with it when he has it.
Reply paul
3:04 PM on February 8, 2013 
jlil89 says...
Keep eating that humble pie Rondo. Came back and lead this team to multiple championships!!


Yeah, some humble pie won't hurt him - would help him right now. He's been way too stubborn, about the wrong things.
Reply paul
3:10 PM on February 8, 2013 
GeeZeeCeltics says...
This is an altogether very interesting topic to discuss. It always did seem to me like this season Rondo used up too many seconds on the shot clock for dribbling while guys ran off the ball. I don't want to put the blame on only Rondo, or only Jet/Green, but those two need to touch the ball often to be effective. It is no coincidence that both are playing reinvigorated basketball since Rondo went down. It simply is a conflict of playing styles, you can't even fault either side. They just don't fit as they currently are. The question, therefore, is - can Rondo adjust, or will he even see the need to adjust, to this playing style, where the ball swings around and he facilitates, but doesn't single-handedly direct everything? This is something he did in 2008. I think he can do it, and if he can, then we would be a force to reckon with (most likely from next season and beyond).


I don't agree with you on this, GeeZee. You are putting all the onus on Rondo to adjust to Lee and Green. You are making the same assumption that Rondo is to blame that everyone else is making. EVERYONE OF THEM KNEW THIS WAS A RONDO CENTERED OFFENSE coming into this. I believe that every single one of the claimed loudly that they had bought in. But what they showed on the court, in my opinion, was that they hadn't, and their words betray this too. You say you don't blame either side, but really, you blame Rondo. For this to work, if Rondo were to return, which I don't see happening, he would have to change his game some, but so would they have to.
Reply paul
3:11 PM on February 8, 2013 
Morena says...
Wow!!
Great read, and the final paragraph is wonderful!!
"Their hearts must be blind" - such a great line!! You made my heart smile.


Thanks Morena. It's just so frustrating the way everyone keeps claiming that Rondo was ruining things for all his teammates. Dammit, they all knew what the deal was.
Reply paul
3:31 PM on February 8, 2013 
I really don't quite see how Rondo can even come back to this team at all. How does he get the start over either Lee or Bradley? He can't. Those guys are starters now, unless more injuries happen. And how does he radically change his style now? He's a ball dominant player. His problem was that he didn't do enough with the ball when he had it - too much pounding, too much walking it up - not that he handled it too much. No one will accept him coming back and being the same player he was, or anything remotely like it. They won't be happy with him making needed improvements to his game. Nope. They'll demand that he become a different player.

I think Rondo's whole future is in jeopardy now. Now he has the cancer label, whether or not he deserves it. He has an awful lot of negative labeling to overcome. I don't really see how he can do it.

Let's face it: Avery Bradley is the Celtics' starting point guard now. Rondo? Can he come off the bench when he comes back? Is that an adjustment Rondo can make?
Reply Morena
3:42 PM on February 8, 2013 
paul says...
I really don't quite see how Rondo can even come back to this team at all. How does he get the start over either Lee or Bradley? He can't. Those guys are starters now, unless more injuries happen. And how does he radically change his style now? He's a ball dominant player. His problem was that he didn't do enough with the ball when he had it - too much pounding, too much walking it up - not that he handled it too much. No one will accept him coming back and being the same player he was, or anything remotely like it. They won't be happy with him making needed improvements to his game. Nope. They'll demand that he become a different player.

I think Rondo's whole future is in jeopardy now. Now he has the cancer label, whether or not he deserves it. He has an awful lot of negative labeling to overcome. I don't really see how he can do it.

If he's really eating the humble-pie I think he'll be able to come back and be our starter again.
Reply GeeZeeCeltics
4:18 PM on February 8, 2013 
paul says...
I don't agree with you on this, GeeZee. You are putting all the onus on Rondo to adjust to Lee and Green. You are making the same assumption that Rondo is to blame that everyone else is making. EVERYONE OF THEM KNEW THIS WAS A RONDO CENTERED OFFENSE coming into this. I believe that every single one of the claimed loudly that they had bought in. But what they showed on the court, in my opinion, was that they hadn't, and their words betray this too. You say you don't blame either side, but really, you blame Rondo. For this to work, if Rondo were to return, which I don't see happening, he would have to change his game some, but so would they have to.


I understand what you're saying, but the thing is that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. I am currently talking mostly about Jason Terry, who, to me, is critical to our success, and for him to shine, he needs the ball in his hands. That's basically all there is to it. I'm not asking Rondo to revamp his game. All it takes is facilitating the offense, not running it from the top of the key.

The onus is indeed on Rondo just because I don't think Jet or Green can change their games much. They are who they are. An underrated part of this whole thing may be that, before this season, we never had bona fide scorers on our roster. We had role players who depended on their point guard to set them up in order to score (think Pietrus). Now, we have scorers here, who probably heard a lot of praise about Rondo (rightfully so), so they thought they'd have a good time here. But it proved to be somewhat of a misfit.

If Rondo is the talent that we all think he is, he must recognize this and captain the ship accordingly. Jet and Green aren't good enough to change their games to fit the style Rondo was running, we've seen plenty to say that. Yet Rondo has so much in his chest of skills that he should be able to change his game to suit these players. Great leadership also involves that.

To sum up, I don't mean to put the blame on Rondo. But it is rather clear to me that the way they played earlier was a misfit, and there is an opportunity to fix that. If Rondo, Terry, Green & Co. use it, there are great things in store.
Reply rcraig617
7:20 PM on February 8, 2013 
paul says...
I really don't quite see how Rondo can even come back to this team at all. How does he get the start over either Lee or Bradley? He can't. Those guys are starters now, unless more injuries happen. And how does he radically change his style now? He's a ball dominant player. His problem was that he didn't do enough with the ball when he had it - too much pounding, too much walking it up - not that he handled it too much. No one will accept him coming back and being the same player he was, or anything remotely like it. They won't be happy with him making needed improvements to his game. Nope. They'll demand that he become a different player.

I think Rondo's whole future is in jeopardy now. Now he has the cancer label, whether or not he deserves it. He has an awful lot of negative labeling to overcome. I don't really see how he can do it.

Let's face it: Avery Bradley is the Celtics' starting point guard now. Rondo? Can he come off the bench when he comes back? Is that an adjustment Rondo can make?

I believe rondo can come back I just don't know if this year would be ideal. Rondo would have to run the floor more w/o the ball and I think rondo would have to hit more jumpshots. He can shoot but it seems like so many times when we actually did move the ball and it eventually ended up in rondo's hands he would dribble back out and reset the offense. But to be honest I think that would be all rondo needs to do and we can't expect him to come back and be a lockdown defender off of acl surgery.
Reply rcraig617
7:22 PM on February 8, 2013 
GeeZeeCeltics says...
This is an altogether very interesting topic to discuss. It always did seem to me like this season Rondo used up too many seconds on the shot clock for dribbling while guys ran off the ball. I don't want to put the blame on only Rondo, or only Jet/Green, but those two need to touch the ball often to be effective. It is no coincidence that both are playing reinvigorated basketball since Rondo went down. It simply is a conflict of playing styles, you can't even fault either side. They just don't fit as they currently are. The question, therefore, is - can Rondo adjust, or will he even see the need to adjust, to this playing style, where the ball swings around and he facilitates, but doesn't single-handedly direct everything? This is something he did in 2008. I think he can do it, and if he can, then we would be a force to reckon with (most likely from next season and beyond).

I agree jeff green needs the ball more. When he's on the floor with paul he usually has a mismatch because the other teams primary perimeter defender is on paul. That knick game that we won when rondo was out and green was attacking novak is exactly what we would need and for jet i just think we need to continue to run and he will get his offense through transition and when the defense rotates off of him in the halfcourt. I hate when we run sets with basically just terry running around it's no different in my eyes from what we had ray doing and makes the pg who was rondo last yr look like a ballstopper when he really isn't.
Reply rcraig617
7:23 PM on February 8, 2013 
jlil89 says...
Keep eating that humble pie Rondo. Came back and lead this team to multiple championships!!

Why would rondo need to be humbled? I just feel this should be a learning experience
Reply paul
10:52 PM on February 8, 2013 
GeeZeeCeltics says...
I understand what you're saying, but the thing is that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. I am currently talking mostly about Jason Terry, who, to me, is critical to our success, and for him to shine, he needs the ball in his hands. That's basically all there is to it. I'm not asking Rondo to revamp his game. All it takes is facilitating the offense, not running it from the top of the key.

The onus is indeed on Rondo just because I don't think Jet or Green can change their games much. They are who they are. An underrated part of this whole thing may be that, before this season, we never had bona fide scorers on our roster. We had role players who depended on their point guard to set them up in order to score (think Pietrus). Now, we have scorers here, who probably heard a lot of praise about Rondo (rightfully so), so they thought they'd have a good time here. But it proved to be somewhat of a misfit.

If Rondo is the talent that we all think he is, he must recognize this and captain the ship accordingly. Jet and Green aren't good enough to change their games to fit the style Rondo was running, we've seen plenty to say that. Yet Rondo has so much in his chest of skills that he should be able to change his game to suit these players. Great leadership also involves that.

To sum up, I don't mean to put the blame on Rondo. But it is rather clear to me that the way they played earlier was a misfit, and there is an opportunity to fix that. If Rondo, Terry, Green & Co. use it, there are great things in store.


I kind of agree with that, actually. I was gobsmacked when the season began that Rondo and Doc didn't seem to have come up with any ideas to change the offense to suit the new talents, and as the season went on, nothing seemed to develop, even as Rondo presumably began to get to know his new teammates better. I was equally shocked, though, by the new teammates, who didn't seem to be making much effort themselves.

Russell studied his teammates. Rondo should have been doing that.
Reply paul
10:54 PM on February 8, 2013 
rcraig617 says...
I believe rondo can come back I just don't know if this year would be ideal. Rondo would have to run the floor more w/o the ball and I think rondo would have to hit more jumpshots. He can shoot but it seems like so many times when we actually did move the ball and it eventually ended up in rondo's hands he would dribble back out and reset the offense. But to be honest I think that would be all rondo needs to do and we can't expect him to come back and be a lockdown defender off of acl surgery.


rcraig, I really don't think Rondo has to handle the ball that much less, though I agee he should play off the ball more and better. But really, he IS the guy you want handling the ball, when he's aggressive with it. It's the passivity that kills us. And I don't just mean scoring. I mean always doing things that keep the opposing defense off balance.
Reply paul
11:05 PM on February 8, 2013 
rcraig617 says...
I agree jeff green needs the ball more. When he's on the floor with paul he usually has a mismatch because the other teams primary perimeter defender is on paul. That knick game that we won when rondo was out and green was attacking novak is exactly what we would need and for jet i just think we need to continue to run and he will get his offense through transition and when the defense rotates off of him in the halfcourt. I hate when we run sets with basically just terry running around it's no different in my eyes from what we had ray doing and makes the pg who was rondo last yr look like a ballstopper when he really isn't.


I really agree with that. Rondo is not at heart a ball stopper. If anything, he's the exact opposite, a dynamic player who loves to run and loves to create and loves to connect with his teammates. I wish that instead of there being so much focus on how horrible Rondo is, there would be more focus on how such a gap developed between such a talented player and his team. I think it's something Kobe understands, which is why Kobe has come to his defense, only Rondo has a different personality than Kobe...