|Posted by paul on June 17, 2013 at 11:15 AM|
I'm sure it's no surprise to Rondo fans that Bob Ryan is the first 'journalist' (that I've seen) to blame the Doc Affair on Rondo…
I happen to agree with Ryan on this. Rondo is the point around which this whole drama revolves. Strip this situation down to its basics and I'd say you have Doc and KG looking to switch out Rondo for Chris Paul, for really the second time in three years. In a way, this is understandable, given the season that just ended. In some ways, during this last year, Rondo struggled valiantly to take up the mantle of team leader, despite what looks now like constant opposition, and difficult circumstances, but in other ways, Rondo's stubbornness seemed to get the best of him in 2012-2013, especially as regards his play on defense. There were times this season when we thought we were going to have to start calling him Rono, as in, Rondo-no-D. Rondo continued to play defense, most of the time, as if he still had a healthy Perkins and a (relatively) young Garnett backing him up. The result was at times a feast for opposing offenses. At times it seemed as though Rondo simply refused to recognize that Perkins is several years gone and KG isn't the defensive monster he once was (still a great defensive player).
So, in a way it's understandable that Doc and KG might have convinced themselves that the grass could be greener in LA, playing with Chris Paul. Why not go for less drama and more beef, right? Only, Paul has already torched two coaches, I believe, and gotten into bad relations, one hears, with Blake Griffin; what if Paul turns out to be as big a Drama-dary as Rondo? And what about you guys taking some personal responsibility, Doc and KG? This team looked unprepared and clueless for much of 2012-2013, it seems to me, and that can't be blamed entirely on Rondo. And what happened to the two-man game you and Rondo worked out at the end of the 2011-2012 season, KG? That seemed to be part of what saved 2011-2012, but it seemed to have been forgotten during much of 2012-2013. That question might lead into a bigger question: why, seven years into Rondo's career, do we still not have an offense tailored to our best player? Nor, for that matter, do we have a defense tailored to him. Rondo is still trying to make the best of a situation that is not designed with his talents in mind. How does that still make sense? I'll never forget a play from a couple of years ago where Rondo was trying to get a fast break going, and he had to literally push Paul Pierce up the floor.
One can go on and on with questions like this. Why is Paul Pierce still the captain? Shouldn't he and Rondo be co-captains by now? Pierce too needs to take some personal responsibility, doesn't he? He's still a great player, at times, and he's an all-time Celtics great, for sure (I'd rank him forth or fifth, behind Russell, Bird and Cowens).
More than anyone else (well, equally with KG) Paul Pierce rescued Celtics Pride. Some of the best basketball plays I've ever seen have involved Pierce and Rondo. Some of the magic those two guys have made together has been otherworldly. How many times have we seen Rondo slip a pass through traffic that only he could throw and only Pierce could catch? That's the basketball I love, the basketball that keeps me a fan. I guess I'd just like to have seen more of that magic. I know it can't be forced, but it just seems like two players so creatively gifted could have done more by somehow symbiotically blending their talents more. It' s understandable that Pierce can't be the highflying gazelle that Rondo might really want to play with, but then isn't it incumbent on him - with Rondo - to make the most of the talents which do lend to symbiosis? Are both these guys just too stubborn? Is there still time? Will anyone recognize that a raging Blame Game doesn't make last year's debacle better?
Danny seems to have decided pretty firmly that he is all in with Rondo. Reports seem to indicate that he'll only consider trading Rondo for a genuine superstar. If I were him, I'd make it clear that no trades are to be considered at all. Let's make a commitment. Also, unless one assumes that we want Bledsoe in order to replace Rondo, which I'd like to think is silly, acquiring Bledsoe looks like the opening move towards a larger trade, maybe - as Simmons suggests - towards someone like Josh Smith? I'd say that if we went for Josh Smith, that would be a pretty big sign that Danny wants to build a team around Rondo, and I think that's the right thing to do.
Frankly, I don't understand the debate around Rondo. There's really no question that he is a guy you can build a contender around - this last playoff debacle pretty much seals it, I'd say. Rondo's uncanny creativity, his Prime Time Rondo extra gears, his passion and smarts, all make a big difference when the big show starts. As Bill Walton said last year, during Rondo's struggles to lead the team, the next step is to do it more consistently. To accomplish that, Rondo needs to change something about his attitude, surely, but also the team needs to be designed in a way that is more friendly to his talents.
The thing is, Rondo is more than a great player. He's a transformational player. What exactly does that mean? Well, we won't know until he's done exactly what that means.
But for now, what it means - in my opinion - is that Danny shouldn't design a team for Rondo - if that's what he is doing - without working pretty closely with Rondo on that project. The way I see it, that's part of what you do when you have a transformational player. You allow them to take the lead more than you would with other players.
I'd like KG and Doc and PP to stay, but there need to be some changes, and those need to begin with folks looking at things in a different way, it seems to me.