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Building around Rondo is a must, trading him would set the C's back

Posted by shawn cassidy on January 17, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Celtics / Rondo / Instagram

I've been pro Rondo since my very first post almost 3 years ago. Have I always been a big fan of Rondo? No, but in time he became my favorite player. If I put aside the fact that I'm a Rondo fan, can I look at him in a constructive way? Do I put too much stock into what Rondo can do? For the Rondo fans out there. Your going to deal with other Boston fans who want Rondo out of town, and who probably dislike him as well. I do get the sense that fans who are nor typical Rondo fans, have been longing for him to play this season. Some may have hidden agenda's, like showing other teams how good Rondo still is, so Danny can trade Rondo.

I could type this up until I'm blue in the face, giving you reason after reason on why the Celtics shouldn't trade Rondo. But the final say goes to Danny Ainge, does he believe in Rondo? He says he does, and honestly, until Rondo signs an extension. Rondo could walk, but if Ainge feels like Rondo will walk, I would expect a trade. I feel like Danny is committed to Rondo, I think bringing Brad Stevens to Boston was a sign of that. They've connected perfectly, and at this point, both will enter the next phase of their relationship this Friday. Rondo will finally hit the court in a new system.

I'll leave you with a few reasons why the Celtics need to rebuild around Rondo. Reasons you've seen written by me many times, but here's a refresher.

  • How often do you get a player like this? He's the best true point guard in the NBA. If his offense or jumper improve, he's easily in the top 3.
  • He's a big time player. He's been one of the best playoff performers in the past 5 years.
  • In 2010 Rondo was the leader of this team, and he was the one that got them over the hump. all the way to game seven in the NBA Finals. He knows how to drive a team to a Finals, and he was apart of the 2008 championship team, of course.
  • Rondo wasn't a leader, or the leader type during the early stages of his career. He learned the role, and he bought into the role. 

I believe that players want to play with Rondo. Guys like Kobe and Melo have wanted Rondo. He makes guys better and he takes a lot of pressure away from big time players. Some writers out there, who are not named Bob Ryan, actually believe the Celtics should keep Rondo.

Dear Danny Ainge: Build around Rajon Rondo - WEEI | Ben Rohrbach

This is why you build around Rajon Rondo. He turns 27 on Feb. 22, the same age as Paul Pierce when the Celtics tanked in 2006-07. (If you’ll recall, Pierce had his share of detractors at that point in his career.) Any NBA team with championship aspirations needs multiple All-Stars, so what’s the logic behind trading Rondo? Hope two or three of their 29,233,380 draft picks turn into top-25 players? Doesn’t landing one or two with all these assets to pair with Rondo seem like a safer bet?

Exactly, the Celtics had Paul Pierce to help bring guys like Ray and Kevin, even if they were from trades. Kevin basically came to Boston as a free agent. He was the one that said okay to the trade. Once the Celtics landed Ray Allen, KG wanted to come. Rondo is that All-Star that will help Celtics bring in guys. If your a player that wants to get shots, then playing with Rondo is a dream.

Celtics fast tracking rebuild thanks to Danny Ainge - NBA - Chris Mannix - SI.com

Is Rondo a natural leader? Probably not. Is he, when healthy, one of the five best players at his position? Absolutely. Before Boston decides to deal him, they should think long and hard about how difficult it will be to replace him. You build around players like Rondo, who by the way can't be a free agent until the summer of '15. You keep this year's pick, hope the team sinks far enough in the standings to get into the Jabari Parker-Joel Embiid-Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes and you build around them.

The Celtics, meaning the players and coaching staff won't go out there and tank. Danny has taken that burden, I'm still ensure if he intends to tank, but the latest deal may suggest that. The Celtics lose their 6th man (Crawford) for a big man (Anthony) who can't score the ball, and on defense has dropped off. Danny seems hell bent to get this team where they should be before Rondo gets a bit old. He's going to be 28, and his clock is ticking. Rondo will be elite, barring any major injury, until he's 34-35. Basically Ainge has a 6 year window with Rondo, and around 2 years to build.

Ainge, I have a love-hate relationship with that guy. I believe, or want to believe that he's working this hard to build quick. We can't wait until Rondo is 30-31, sorry guys, for Rondo's sake. I hope Ainge is able to get this team back on the map by next year, or the year after. Rondo has earned this team, he's been in the shadow of great players, and now that struggle of power is gone. It's Rondo's time to shine without the "Big 3" around. Trading Rondo would set this rebuild back further. I think it would take the Celtics years, if not longer to recover.

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1 Comment

Reply paul
8:42 AM on January 17, 2014 
We championed Rondo long before anyone else did in the blog world, and now we will be proven either right or wrong, I would say. I think the haters must be people in and around the Celtics organization who have felt personally slighted by Rondo.

Danny has only made one move that I disagreed with strongly: the Perkins trade was indefensible. I remain convinced that Danny was forced by ownership to make that trade. Most of his moves are well thought out. It's virtually impossible, in my opinion, that he made such a bungling move of his own volition.

The way Danny is handling this season is very smart. I think the first moves he made, trading KG and PP, were forced by the fact that PP was never fully willing to adapt to playing second fiddle to Rondo. There was no other way that the team could become Rondo's team. Compare the way KG learned to play off Rondo to the way PP never quite did. Doc's departure was also necessary, regardless of how it came about. Doc was always ready to cater to the HOFers. He was never ready to give Rondo the kind of respect we've seen Stevens give to Rondo. It seems to me that Stevens relates to Rondo somewhat the way Red related to Russell. Doc was never going to do that. I'm not even sure that Doc was smart enough to keep up with Rondo. I'm not saying Doc is dumb by any means - I have no doubt that he is way smarter than I am - but Rondo is wicked smart.

As the season has approached and then unfolded, Danny's strategy seems to be a half-tank strategy. He has built a team that could go either way. I think he will continue to ride the line between competing and collapsing. If this team puts together a run, he will lean towards move that could solidify the team as a contender. If the team collapses, he will probably make more tankalicious trades, such as the recent ones. This is one of my favorite things about Danny. He clearly watches the way the season unfolds and he makes moves in response to that, partly. To some extent, the players always have their destinies in their own hands.

Whether or not Danny trades Rondo should come down to this: does Danny truly believe in Rondo, and does he truly want to build around Rondo? Only Danny can ultimately answer this question. It goes beyond numbers and rational calculation. On some level, it's almost like reading someone's soul. There should be no question about Rondo's talent: it is of the highest level. His athleticism, his skills and his creativity are at as high a level as anything the game has seen. Rondo's superstar fanbase testifies to this. The question now relates to his intent. How much does this young man love the game? How determined is he to redeem the game? That is always the ultimate determiner of greatness.

The Rondo we have come to know this season seems rejuvenated, confident, determined. He seems to have become a better shooter. He seems ready to not only return, but if rehab goes well, to redefine himself. As I have said before, I think there are two key indicators to look for. Will he push the ball more on offense? Will he dig in more on defense?

I do not expect Rondo to push the ball all the time, by any means. At his best, he is a master of tempo, and he loves to lull the opposing team, because he is a master of deception as well. But he must push the tempo more than he did with the Old Uns. Allowing the defense to set every time down the floor is a recipe for disaster. The key to good offense is to probe the defense, to force the defense to move, to react, to stretch, to strain - a good offense forces the defense to come out of the posture it prefers. You make them react and then you break them down. No one has ever done this better than Rondo at his best. But we've also seen Rondo get into the habit of walking the ball up and letting the defense set.

On defense, no one is looking for Rondo to turn into Avery Bradley. Even Bradley has discovered that he cannot play defense at the same level of intensity all the time. On top of that, Rondo's approach to defense is based on deception, a team approach, free-wheeling and free-gambling, attacking passing lanes and looking for deflections (not just stat-padding steals as many have claimed). We need to see more Bradley in Rondo's game, though. Last season, Rondo's matador defense was actually nauseating at times.

I think we will see a Rondo who has expanded his skillset, who has stepped firmly into the leadership role, and who has a better and more flexible understanding of his game. Together with Sully and Bradley, he gives us two thirds of a powerful starting five.