Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Rondo in Love
Rajon Rondo basically sent Boston a love letter yesterday. Did you get the letter, Boston? Did you get the letter, Boston fans? Did you get the letter, Danny?! The guy said 'I am a Celtic'. He said he loves Boston. He said that he sees Boston as his home. He said that he doesn't want to change his situation. He made it clear that he wants to be part of something special, in Boston. It's long past time for fans to wake up, for the journos and quasi-journos to wake up and for Danny to wake up: let's give this guy some love back. And Danny, some Love too.
The lack of respect for Rondo around the Celtics continues to shock me. Danny, it appears, continues to shop him. The fans continue to demean him. League cognoscendi question if he is even a top ten pg! For God's sake, he is clearly the best playmaker in the league, and he clearly has a serious shot at establishing himself as one of the best playmakers of all time!! Were folks blind this last season? The best guy Rondo had to pass to was probably Brandon Bass. BRANDON BASS! Remember him? Remember the guy who had to take five seconds to gather himself for a shot even when he knew the pass was coming to him? I like Bass, but for God's sake, if Chris Paul averaged 11 apg passing to the likes of Brandon Bass, and Chris Humphries, not only would the league have instantly inducted him into the HOF, but he would be accompanied everywhere he went by choirs of angels. But somehow the league cognoscendi, in their wisdom, have come to the conclusion that Rondo isn't even a top ten point guard anymore. Meanwhile fans here in Boston say that Rondo may be our best player, but that's part of the problem, and besides, he's no Paul Pierce.
Right. That's because he is better than Paul Pierce. Pierce was one of the best scorers in the game. Rondo is the best playmaker in the game.
The best news that came out this weekend was that Rondo is staying in Boston this summer. That suggests strongly that he wants to commit to improving his game more than ever before, and that he also wants to commit to his relationship with Boston and with the Celtics more than before. Rondo says that he is working on rehab during the day and free throw shooting at night. I sincerely hope he is working on a lot more shooting than just free throw shooting. He has got to solve his shooting problem this summer. We know that the kid has a strong will. Now is the time for him to apply that will to the key problem in his game.
Shooting is more art than science. Those who teach it seem to claim that it's all about technique - and, to be sure, technique does matter. But perfect form doesn't make a shooter, and great shooters can have idiosyncratic form. Just as a great passer has to feel what is going to happen in a play as it happens, before it happens, a great shooter has to feel the basket. It is, as I've mentioned before, a romance. Rondo gets into his own head about shooting - I think this is clear. He becomes fearful when he has missed a few shots, I think. How does one overcome fear? With love. When you love the feeling of connection you get when you shoot, that overcomes your fear of missing. You start to think of the basket not as a target, but as a place. You sense that it reaches out to your shots like the open hands of someone you are passing to. Put aside the fear of missing. Embrace the joy of feeling the basket and watching the ball drop through the net.
It takes time and commitment for a non-shooter to become a shooter. There are many let downs and false starts. It is like a courtship. Half the battle for a wannabe shooter is showing up. Keep trying. Put up shot after shot after shot. Then it is like a wave breaking. One day you realize that you are a shooter, and you have been a shooter for a while. All the struggle that for a long time seemed hopeless comes to fruition. The false starts were promises, not failures. The shooting streaks that turned into slumps are finally shown to be bumps on the road, not setbacks. The pieces finally start to knit together. Your release is faster. Your touch is surer. Opponents unmistakably begin to show signs of dreading your shooting as much as your passing. You have reached a higher level. You don't fear shooting anymore, even when you miss a few. You love it.
But use some common sense while you are at it. If you have already established the elbow jumper as a bread and butter shot, try to add another to it. Find a spot on the three point arc that you really like. A player with two sweet spots for Js is already much more dangerous to defenses than a player with just one. If you are someone who loves using the glass, work on bank shots from medium range to the left and right of the basket, Duncan style. Got a good hook shot? Make it into a bread and butter shot you can use anywhere near the basket.
I think that Rondo should score 15ppg. Hopefully we'll see that next year. It sounds like he's putting in the work and intends to keep on doing it. That's the best Celtics news we could get. Better than Kevin Love.