Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rondo No D



Just throw SI's Rondo ranking in the trash.  That is where it belongs.  If Rondo under-performed when he basically  led the league in assists upon his return from ACL injury, what do you SI sages say about Dwight Howard (just to grab one NBA underachiever by the nape of the neck), yet another in the growing list of 'super' stars who demanded that a team be handed to them on a platter and then failed to win a championship or even smell one?  Rondo's done nothing but work with what he was handed, and he's done demonstrably amazing work.  It's pretty clear in retrospect that Rondo more than anyone made Danny's Big (Oldster) Three gamble look good, and what is his reward?  He's being treated like a nobody by SI, and he's being humiliated by his own team, which seems to be treating him like a player on tryouts, or on probation.   Rondo has handled all this with what looks like consummate grace.  That kid may be stubborn, but he's also fast learner.

I've got to agree with the Haters, though, that this is a key year for Rondo.  It's not just about showing that he has had a complete (we very sincerely hope) recovery from his ACL injury.  It's about being on the verge of superstardom.  That doesn't seem to be a place you can just stay.  You need to either jump across that line, or you need to recede into some kind of suitable role.  It's hard to stay right on the verge.  Probably impossible.  I think the key to this is defense.

Of course the Haters talk about Rondo's defensive decline constantly, and of course they ignore what is brilliant about his defense - the way he reads opposing offenses and not only directs his team's defense accordingly, but plays off his man in ways that disrupt the other team.  The notion that he just doesn't bother to play defense is such a ripe load of bullocks.  But for several years now he's been playing his man so loosely that he looks like a madador.  I mean, jeez, Rondo, it's not football and it's not bullfighting - it's basketball!!  Gotta dig in on the D sometimes!!   The hope that Rondo, Smart and Bradley could be historic as a defensively savage backcourt is about the only thing that gives one a reason to look forward to the Celtics' coming season.

Play it in the key of D, Rondo.  That's the way to make some beautiful music this season.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why even rank Rondo, and why we shouldn't care




For me, rankings don't mean much, but they sure make things interesting for some people. I'm not pro football fan, but I love college football. I hate the ranking system, and thankfully some kind of playoff system is in place. So what about Rondo being ranked as the 40th best player in the NBA? Sports Illustrated is ranking the top 100 players in the NBA, and Rondo's place isn't shocking to me. Rondo is worthy of more respect, but you can't always get what you want. As for Sports Illustrated's comments, here you go..


"We know how good Rondo can be. He's dominated playoff series. He led the NBA in assists in back-to-back seasons. He's sly. He's athletic. He makes jaw-dropping plays through magnetic creativity...The complete Rondo, however, can't be contained so neatly in a highlight reel, not when he drifts, mails in games and comes with a mess of baggage...Rondo is one of the most difficult players in the league to value"...


"Rondo regularly ignores the right play for a flashy pass. No point guard hunts assists so overtly, as Rondo will shrug off open layups to find a teammate for a worse shot. Bad judgment diminishes the value of his all-world court vision...Folded into this is Rondo's aversion to shooting...To make matters worse, Rondo's defensive contributions are hugely overblown based on a dated reputation...Not since the 2009-10 season have the Celtics played better defense (as measured by points allowed per possession) with Rondo on the floor...To add one more complicating layer to all of this, Rondo has established himself as the kind of personality that makes running a team difficult."

You can click on the link to see who finished better than Rondo. It's an easy way to get all of us worked up. At least for the fans that enjoy and respect Rondo's game. I understand in some ways why Rondo is ranked 40th, but when you see guys like Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, and Mike Conley ahead of Rondo. You need to question a site, or magazines integrity. Rondo's resume speaks for itself. Also he wasn't the best for the 30 games that he played, but he was still showing a great deal of progress. He should be the Rondo of old, if not better heading into the season. Selling Rondo short will only get him going.

So why should we care about his ranking? We know he's better, and Rondo knows he's better than 40th. Especially against the talented players ahead of him. Rondo is the best point guard in the game. Maybe not the best scorer, but Rondo's the best passer, and rebounding point guard in the game. Who can really question that?? I think Rondo will have some great material to get him worked up this season.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stevens speaks about Rondo, and the season ahead



For the past few weeks I've called out Stevens about his lack of comments on Rondo. Last summer it was a love fest for the All-Star, but this year Stevens hasn't said much about Rondo. Until now at least.

Berkshire Eagle

"I love him. I really think he's a big part of what we're doing. Hopefully, he can have a great year right from the get-go. I thought last year was tough from the standpoint that he never did have a chance to do any drill work or to rebuild habits."

"He just had to be thrown into the fire. He's been great. He's been very active. He's been in and around Boston most of the summer. He just got back from a trip to China. He was back mid-last week. He's been in the weight room and been around every day."

It's what you should expect coming from Stevens. I wasn't sold from the comments, but it's great that Rondo is still being active, and not showing that he's bugged about the rumors. Stevens also needs to make Rondo a focus of what he has planned.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Can James Young connect with Rondo?




James Young had some kind words for the All-Star point guard. He hopes that he and Rondo can connect. This summer has been about Marcus Smart, and very little about James Young who was drafted at the 17th pick. James Young is a wing, and he'll likely see little playing time with Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace ahead of him in the rotation.

ESPN Boston

"Playing with [point guard Rajon] Rondo," Young told the team's official website during a recent video Q&A. "He's a player I looked up to growing up, and he sees the floor very well and has a high IQ for the game. So just getting open with him and seeing if we have can have a good connection."

Young and Rondo are both Kentucky products and Young is clearly eager to see if Rondo's playmaking can generate some open looks at the NBA level.

Asked about his first interaction with Rondo, Young added: "I met him two days ago in the weight room. We talked a little bit, nothing too serious... and we had a chance to play with each other a little bit in the open gym."

What can Rondo do for Young?

"By seeing me when I'm open at all times," added Young. "He sees the floor very well, so I'll just try to get open and he'll deliver me the ball."

I love his eagerness to play with Rondo, and the way he looks up to him. Finally a young player who gets it. I know Smart has mentioned Rondo, but Young seems to understand Rondo, and wants to work with Rondo. In reality this duo is likely faraway from happening. Young needs to worry about his rookie season, and to understand the NBA game. I love has mindset, and it's the right one to have. Will see if they actually play together as the season starts.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Big statements made about Stevens from a former player




Who hasn't said kind words about Brad Stevens? He took a low key Butler school from the bottom to back-to-back National Championship appearances. He overachieved, but he also had the coaching skills to succeed. Now Stevens has made his way to the most storied team in NBA history. Stevens will be heading into his second year with a team still looking for a culture, and a core of players to build around. I like Stevens, but I'm not sold on him as the next great coach in the NBA. I still view him as a college coach.

CSNNE
"It was great being able to work with some of the talented players and coaches on the team," Hayward said on his website. "Coach Krzyzewski and Coach Thibodeau are very detail oriented — very similar to Brad Stevens, my coach at Butler. They make sure you’re focused on everything being sharp and precise. When we practiced, they weren’t necessarily long practices, but it was intense. I like that. When you practice, it should be focused and tough training."

At then end of the day the Celtics won 25 games last year. If the Celtics can't win 30-35 games this year than I may question even more if Stevens is the right coach. When you go into a season with Rondo healthy. You should win more games off the bat. I may be a little harsh, but Stevens hasn't won me over just yet..

Friday, September 12, 2014

A lot of hype for Jared Sullinger heading into the season




I'm a fan of Sullinger, and it's great to see that Sully has taken the summer seriously. He's been working hard on his game and body. Will see in time how the trimmed down Sully compares to the bulky Sully from a year ago. I think he looks solid. The weight loss doesn't seem like it's going to hurt his play. With the Celtics missing out on Love. Sullinger has become the future big man for Boston. I think it's still possible that Sully could end up being Al Jefferson 2.0, not in actual play,but as a trade..


"I think I was a little afraid at the beginning of training camp due to my back, contact and all that stuff," Sullinger said. "I was afraid what was going to happen in the middle of the season. But now, I know what I can do. I know how my back is going to hold up. The beautiful thing about is I have another year to show who Jared Sullinger can be."

Read the article here from CSNNE

I have one issue about Sully. That's his lack of playing in the post. He's in love with the three ball a bit too much. I want him taking them, but like booze you drink in moderation. He needs to play inside and out. Jared needs to mix up his offense during the game.

The NBA and racism, and why David Stern was bad for the game



Okay, I may not touch everything in that title. But I got you now, and so I will speak about what's going on. I will try to get my point across. This article is basically about Stern. The NBA has made billions, and billions off of black athletes. But at the same time they have the biggest issues with racism? That's odd to me, but now with Stern out of the way all of these stories are seeing the light of day. Stern was always eager to hide everything that he could.

So my question is this. Are these issues coming out now because of Sterns exit this past winter? Is Adam Silver this knight and shining armor? This could all be odd timing, and the day and age we live in. Technology is a major part of everyday life, and it continues to improve by the second. So now people are being tapped or found out in other ways because of technology. The latest issue in Atlanta is unacceptable, and it's shocking that this still goes on in today's world. But, there are still a lot of ignorant people out there who don't accept peoples sexual preference or they don't accept other races.


You can read the Danny Ferry Story here

Thursday, September 11, 2014

An uncensored approach





A man comes to a point, or a woman comes to a point in their lives. That point for me is now. I've been doing this since April 2011. The old blog "Celtics Title Town", and now Celtics Today has been a wild ride. I found myself the other day ready to call it quits. I started this blog for me, and I did it for me. Of course I wanted readers, and I wanted readers who got me. After awhile my motives changed, and maybe I set myself up for disappointment. For the first 2 and a half years I posted a lot of stuff, and I spent a lot of time doing it. For the past 8 months. My life has changed a bit, and my passion has gone down. For the past 3-6 months I've been driven to do this for the wrong reasons.

But, now I say fuck it! I'm back to writing my way, or more or less not worried about others feelings. I'm not concerned about views or readers anymore. I'm a competitive guy, and at the same time I'm not like that. After rethinking giving up the blog. I thought why not do this for me. I will say what I feel with no filter. I don't care about being featured on ESPN, or about praise from other blogs. I have never been a follower, and I have always done things that I believe in. So why take the unhappy route.

I won't do this forever. But I know I'm not done yet. If I'm going to be known for this, no matter how small or large. I want to do it my way. As always "Go Celtics"!, and thanks to those who read my crap.

The numbers are in, and nobody wants to watch the Celtics next year




Nobody wants to watch Boston next year because they don't know if Rondo will be in green. That may not be the reason, but it's possible. The Celtics honestly don't have a roster that's worthy of national television. They don't have a bunch of young athletic guys, or a system that's exciting. Do we even have a a style of play? I'm not saying that we need one, but if we do, it's boring because we're not allowing Rondo to do what he needs to do.


Don't get me wrong I enjoyed every game, but for the non everyday NBA fan. The Celtics are boring. So that's why USA Today ranked the Celtics 29th in teams to watch.

USA TODAY ARTICLE HERE

Trading Rondo may not be about basketball

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Rajon Rondo may be traded for reasons other than basketball. Rondo may fall victim to a regime change that took place last year when Ainge traded KG and Paul, and drove Doc out of town. Rondo is the final player from the 2008 championship team, and with a new coach running things. Rondo may find himself outside looking in, or just shipped out of Boston. Your probably thinking why does this even matter when it comes to Rondo? He's in his prime, and one of the best point guards in the NBA. Well, yes that's true, but when it comes to new regimes. They tend to want a clean slate. Danny Ainge, and Brad Stevens are in love, so Stevens will just sit there and take it. Ainge wants to give Stevens a new set of players, and Ainge could careless about who plays for him.

I like Stevens, but come on guys. This guy is a little to green for me. I won't judge Stevens by the Celtics record last year, but I will by how he handled things. He's not a coach that's made for the NBA. I was trying to drink the Kool-Aid last year, but I'm not impressed with him so far this summer. Along with his spineless attitude. Also let's be real. Free agents don't want to come to Boston because Doc is gone, and we have a coach who hasn't proven anything. Let's not blame Rondo for free agency issues. That's Ainge's issue now, because he hired a coach that doesn't have the resume to attract big name guys.

Ainge doesn't care for loyalty. Unless your his coach, and then maybe he'll listen. Something rubbed Doc the wrong way towards the end of his days in Boston. They both took jabs in the media at one other. Like most stories there was more to it then we know, or will ever know.Of course until someone writes a book ten years from now. As for the regime change. It's all around us. It's in our government, and it's in corporate america. Usually when a new CEO takes over a company he'll bring his buddies in, or other executives that worked for him or her at their past company. The same goes for government. Republicans tend to bring in other republicans, and the democrats bring in other democrats when they lead the nation.

I understand all of that and I get it. But it doesn't make it right in basketball. Maybe my thinking isn't factual about what's going on, but it's the feeling I get. The Celtics draft a point guard, and don't give me the BS about the Celtics drafting the best player. If, or when Rondo is traded. This site may just change to Rondo today..

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Zeller, Thornton now eligible to be traded by Boston

The Celtics have made minor trades this summer. The biggest trade could have been the trade that brought Zeller to Boston. Then in turn that allowed Cleveland to sign James, and to trade for Love. So the Celtics to me knew what was next after they helped Cleveland. Is Danny Ainge this summers Kevin Mchale in assisting Cleveland?

Tyler Zeller and Marcus Thornton, were both acquired on July 10. With that being said they are now eligible to be traded if Ainge has something in the works. The Celtics used the $10.3 million trade exception from the Nets trade in 2013 to get the three team deal done over the summer. That exception pretty much aided the the three team deal that helped Cleveland.

The Celtics are likely sticking with Zeller this season. Thornton is another story with Boston loaded in the backcourt.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Are things falling into place for the Celtics as the season nears?




The Celtics have been working over the summer. Will wins translate from the extra work this summer? Walter McCarty believes the coaching staff has a better chemistry and understanding. The Celtics President Rich Gotham believes this team will be more competitive this season. I still have no feelings either way on how the season may play out. I think Rondo is poised for a great season, and after that I don't know who will step up.


CSNNE

"The future will come a little bit more into focus this season," Gotham told CSNNE.com. "The roster is a little more well-rounded and I think Brad (Stevens, the Celtics' head coach) has more to work with and we will be more competitive."

I'm keeping my expectations low this season. I just want to see how well Rondo leads with this young team. I also look forward to Sully and Kelly's growth Walter McCarty seems ready for the season, and maybe the coaching staff knows something we don't.


ESPN Boston


"We’ve just all been on the same page," said assistant coach Walter McCarty. "I thought we did a really good job last season coming together, getting to know each other before the season, and getting our assignments and learning how to work together. But we’ve really developed a great chemistry and learned how to work efficient. It’s been a great summer, we spent a lot of time together at summer league, and just being in the office -- all just trying to make our team better. It’s been a really good summer for us."

McCarty and the fellow members of Stevens' staff have stayed busy this offseason with a steady flow of players visiting the gym for offseason workouts, everyone working towards a goal of being on the same page in Year 2.

"It’s been great. Guys have been in, they’ve been working hard, they’ve been eager to be in and be around," said McCarty. "They want to learn as much as possible and work on their games and see how they fit into our system. It’s just been a good summer having these guys in. Getting your guys to come in, it’s tough in the summer. But we’ve had a lot of guys in all summer, it’s just been awesome to see."

Another story heading into camp will be the roster cuts. Keith Bogans still in green? I thought Danny was dropping this guy and his contract. The Celtics have massive roster heading into camp, and cuts will be made.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Danny - Let Rondo Go!


One of the best comments that I've seen in the wake of of the Mac Attack (Jackie Macmullen's statement that Rondo 'wants out') is that Rondo and Danny seem to be having a staring contest.  I think that in a way that is exactly what is going on between these two strong willed men.   Danny must be sensitive, cold as he is to his players feelings,  to the fact that Rondo paid his dues for this team, toiling in the shadow of the Big Three even when he really was the team's best player, and never really having the chance to be the main guy, and now he's looking at his replacement sitting right behind him, and he's being told (at least by the media and such) that he is on trial this coming year, auditioning for some place in the future of this team.  Danny must know this situation isn't quite right or quite fair.

  Rondo, for his part, is like a promising artist who has never quite had that big hit album, or that big museum show, the one the critics and fans both adore.  For several years now he has always seemed to be right on the cusp of something really amazing, but something seemed to hold him back.  Haters pointed to some red herrings (he pounds the ball too much, he wants selfish assists).  More discerning and constructive critics - the kind Rondo deserves - pointed out that his defensive play had become a bit too gallant,  while his offensive play had become  a little too studied.  That is, he had become a bit of a matador on defense, and on offense, he slowed the pace too much, rarely pushing the ball, rarely getting out in transition.  Those are things that Rondo really does need to change about his game.

But really, the notion that this next season is some kind of audition for Rondo is just obnoxious, and it's even more obnoxious in the context of the adulation that has been heaped on Marcus Smart.  Smart does look good, but really, has he played even one minute of real NBA ball yet?  One one hand we have Rondo, a proven NBA star, someone already considered to be a possible HOF player (depending on how the rest of his career goes), a man who has led a team of aging big name players deep into the playoffs, repeatedly.  On the other hand we have a totally unproven rookie.  Now which of those is on trial and which is being covered with praise?  Not only did Danny set up this bizarre situation, but he seems to have encouraged it.   Did he, for example, reach out to Rondo, as the draft approached, to share thoughts about who the team was thinking about and what it might mean?  Apparently not.  One might almost think that Danny wanted to put Rondo under pressure to see if he would snap.  So far, Rondo has been a perfect gentleman about it.  He has had only positive things to say about the team's situation and about the new players.   It's hard not to notice, though, that earlier in the summer he seemed to be making a point of getting out into the media, in an assertive and almost ebullient way and now he seems  reticent.  Even on his Anta tour of China Rondo seemed reticent.

The other day I was watching an old highlights film of Rondo, over at Red's Army, and it made me think about how silly the nostalgia   for the Rondo-of-old is.  It seemed to have been posted as a reminder of what a great player Rondo was in the past, but  Rondo is a much, much better player now.  There are problems, as mentioned above, but the basis is there, not just for a good player, but for a superstar.  He toys with opposing teams, sometimes on both ends of the floor.  He is more like a great actor looking for the right part than a ham actor who ruins every part.

The idea that Rondo has to somehow prove himself this year is just obnoxious.  Danny already knows if he really wants to build around Rondo, and I'd say that we already  know the answer to that question too.   This situation is obviously going to be dragged out, but it shouldn't be.  Work out a trade to a suitable team now, Danny.  Sure, as Jackie said, you won't even get 80 cents on the dollar, but that's your own fault, at least in part.  Rondo's name has been dragged through the trade-rumor mud some many times over the years now that he seems perpetually surrounded by a cloud of questions, and drafting Smart has only enhanced those.
It's long past time for everyone to move on.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Sullinger ready for camp, and ready to team up with Evan Turner



The Celtics have a few guys who may have breakout seasons. Sullinger, or the slimed version could take a big step forward. Evan Turner, the new Celtic is looking to restart his young career after being picked 2nd overall a few years ago. This duo come from THE Ohio State Buckeyes, and that makes me proud personally. I hope these two guys can help Rondo,and maybe they can become a mini "Big 3" for now.


CSNNE


And there may not be anyone more happy about this than Jared Sullinger who, like Turner, was an All-American at Ohio State before becoming a first-round pick in the NBA.

This summer, the two spent time working out together back at their old stomping ground in Columbus, Ohio, reminiscing on how they missed playing with each other by one year.

Had Turner elected to return for what would have been his senior season instead of leaving for the NBA, he and Sullinger would have been Buckeye teammates.

"It would have been special," Sullinger said on Friday.

Turner made a wise decision, being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the No. 2 overall pick.

He spent three-plus seasons with the Sixers and was traded to Indiana in February at a time when statistically speaking, he was playing his best basketball as a pro.


"Everybody is down on (Turner) because of how the 'trade' happened and what happened in the trade and how Indiana played," Sullinger said. "People misunderstand Evan. He's a great basketball player, a great teammate. I've known him for years. He's all about winning. That's his main goal."

Friday, September 5, 2014

A slimmed Jared Sullinger looking ready for new challenge in 2014



Sully is slim looking, but not in the sense that he won't be effective. I think this is a good look for Sully. He should be able to hold his own in the paint, or at least I hope so.

ESPN Boston

Jared Sullinger smiled wide, but wouldn't bite when asked if he'd dropped any weight this offseason.

"Maybe," a trimmer-looking Sullinger playfully offered Friday at the Hennigan Elementary School after leading some students through an afternoon hoops clinic as members of the Celtics organization joined more than 150 volunteers from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and City Year to revitalize the school's grounds. "I can’t tell you everything, but maybe."