Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Love Ya Rondo


One really has to love Rondo.  Asked by the Globe's Baxter Holmes to comment on the state of the Celtics, he admirably takes the high road:

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said on draft night that picking Smart means nothing for Rondo, and he’s maintained that stance.
Rondo takes a similar position on the matter.
“I don’t think nothing of it,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “I am who I am.”
...
“No. That’s fine,” Rondo said, adding, “I don’t have too many feelings involved in this business. I’ve played my heart out for the game, but business is business. I can be here today, gone tomorrow. You never know. For me to get bent out of shape, or to feel threatened by the Celtics drafting a point guard, it means nothing.”
...
“I think we got some good picks, some really good picks,” Rondo said. “What I like about Smart is that he competes. He kind of reminds me [of myself]. I like the guys that compete and remind me of myself, guys like [Kendrick Perkins]. That’s not to say that nobody on the team this year didn’t compete. Avery [Bradley] is one of the best competitors that we have in this league.
“But not a lot of young guys come in and you can get that feel right away that they will compete. So I think that’s a big pickup for us in that aspect. I think having a guy on the wing that will defend along with Avery and myself, and has a lot more size and strength, that will be big.
“And then Young, I’ve been watching him since he played at Kentucky [Rondo’s alma mater]. He’s a knockdown shooter. I’ve heard that he’s even a better shooter than what we’ve seen in the games.
“It’ll be fun to get to practice with both these guys, to get to know them, to get a feel for them, what they like to do, where they like the ball, and just continue to grow.”

Good for Rondo.  I'd say that he is clearly trying to embrace the situation.   Jay King reports that Rondo has been out to the Celtics' practice facility again, the other day;  this can be taken as confirmation that Rondo is embracing the situation positively.  One hopes that it will be as Rondo's hs coach suggests:
Doug Bibby, Rondo’s coach at Eastern High School in Louisville and also the director of Rondo’s camp, offered a somewhat similar take when asked about the Celtics’ drafting Smart.
“It won’t affect [Rondo],” Bibby said. “If anything, it just woke up a beast.”
 Baxter Holmes' headline, however ...
Rajon Rondo appears comfortable with Celtics’ drafting of a point guard
... is, typically, such ludicrous spin.   Yeah, Rondo is clearly not demanding a trade, as I suggested he should, but his comments amount to a plaintive cry, where the key not is resignation, not comfort.  The heart of the matter is this statement from Rondo:
I don’t have too many feelings involved in this business. I’ve played my heart out for the game, but business is business. I can be here today, gone tomorrow. You never know.
 For me to get bent out of shape, or to feel threatened by the Celtics drafting a point guard, it means nothing .
That is quite beautiful, isn't it?   Obviously, the fact that the Cs, instead of bringing Rondo some much needed help, have drafted a rival pg, with their tanked-for pick, can't mean nothing to Rondo;  but he seems to be saying that it's caused him to focus his thoughts on his deepest motivations for doing what he does, on his love for the game itself.   He cannot control his circumstances.  He is a sailor on seas that can be calm one  moment, and stormy the next.  What he can do is focus his thoughts on what is essential - the game of basketball itself.  

I don't see that as normal athlete-interview cliche-ridden boilerplate.  It sounds more like a manifesto.  It is the perfect approach for a creative person to take in a situation that threatens the progress of their career:  focus on what is essential.  Go deeper.  Set aside concern with trappings.

For his part, Danny looks to be setting up another tank season, presumably angling for one of the centers that supposedly is coming out next year.  If he keeps Rondo on a string, presumably trying to increase his trade value, it will chew up yet another year of Rondo's prime.  To make it worse, Rondo - it seems - will be thrust into the position of training up his presumable replacement.   What a mess.   Rondo's right to take the approach of focusing on the most basic aspect of this:  he is one who plays the game because he loves the game.  Watching Rondo play basketball, when he's on, is like watching a musician sing a beautiful song.

Whatever you do next year, Rondo, and wherever you are, listen to Heinsohn's advice.  Push the tempo more.  Own the transition game.  One way or another, it's a transition year.




2 comments:

  1. Nice read by you again. Let's hope Rondo is here.

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  2. Thanks, Franklin. I was really touched by what Rondo said. And I think his coach, Bibby, had it right. Perhaps the beast has been awakened, and if that's true, and Rondo comes on next season as the player we know he can be, regardless of where he finds himself, he will blaze a path.

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