Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Goodman Takes on Rondo


Rondo has been the recipient and star of a mostly positive media push lately.  Basically, I think that this is because Danny is concerned to keep Rondo's trade value up while selling season tickets, that it has precious little to do with any commitment the team has made to Rondo.  At best their only commitment is that they aren't in a hurry to trade him.  I'd respect Danny more if the team WAS in a hurry.  Trading Rondo mid-season will likely torpedo yet another year of his prime, while making it more difficult for Rondo to latch on solidly to another team.

At least one good thing has come out of the Rondo media blitz:  Celtics Blog finally cornered one of the most prominent Rondo Haters and pressed Jeff Goodman to make some attempt to explain and back up his views.   I'd like to see someone confront Bob Ryan this way, as he seems to be the prime culprit.  I'm sure the result would be similar.  The best Goodman can say for himself is that Rondo isn't invited to slumber parties around the league so he must be a bad guy that you can't build a team around.  He also complains that Rondo plays lousy defense (he's on the money there and Rondo fans will admit as much - I don't know how Rondo still  has a rep as a good defender) and that he makes the flashy pass rather than the simple one.  That last one strikes me as nuts.  When Rondo unleashes the flash, it's usually a marvelous play, and when you study the play, it generally seems to be the best way to make the play.

I talk to a good amount of players in the NBA - and have known a ton of them since they were in high school, when I first began covering them. They tell me things off the record. Many of them trust me because I have watched them in AAU, in college and now in the NBA. Many are not enamored with Rondo. Sure, there are some who clearly like him (i.e. Kendrick Perkins) and others who say positive things about him (K.G. Pierce, etc.). I'm not counting DeMarcus Cousins, because it's actually worse for Rondo that Sacramento's big man came out and said he thinks he's the best point guard in the league. Cousins is a complete knucklehead and just about everyone in the league knows it. Many of the opinions I have heard come from players throughout the league who either do not have much of a relationship with Rondo - or have heard negative things about him through other players. The problem is word gets around, and his reputation isn't exactly stellar with his peers. The landscape of the league has changed - as was evident when LeBron partnered up with D-Wade and Chris Bosh. These guys talk to one another, hang out together and text constantly. Rondo does not have that relationship with many players in the league - and that hurts him. One instance I will give you is that when he tried out for the Olympic team a few years back, he didn't exactly make a positive impression and the staff basically sent him home. There are, of course, differing accounts of what happened - but my sources told me that the coaches wanted him gone.

Goodman raises the issue of Rondo's supposedly bad leadership.  But different people lead in different ways, and sometimes it takes a while for a player to figure out how they lead, and a lot can depend on context too.  How has it helped Rondo's leadership efforts to be constantly in the shadow of the Ainge Express?  To see the players he does bond with traded away, one after another?   Some players are like the popular kids in high school.  Smart seems to be one of those.  He's got a magical smile and a lot of energy;  you could almost say he's Magic Johnson to Rondo's Larry Bird.

It sounds like the overall group think about Rondo now is that Danny wants to see how Rondo plays this season in order to decide whether to keep Rondo or not.  So this  season is to be a kind of audition for Rondo.  I find that bizarre.  The guy has to essentially audition for the leadership role of a team he's been basically leading for about five years?  Ridiculous.

Meanwhile, touring  in China to support his shoe line, Rondo is continuing to maintain a very professional demeanor...
“They make me feel old,” the point guard said {of the Celtics new draftees}. “I’m very excited to play with them. They have a lot of energy. James Young is a great shooter, and what Marcus Smart is known for is his defense, so we’re going to need that energy from the young guys. I look forward to playing with those guys.”
...

“(Smart) will play a lot of minutes, but starting at a rookie age at the guard position is probably impossible, or one of the toughest things to do,” Rondo said. “Only a certain number of guards have done it in the past, especially playing at that high level. But he’ll be ready. He’ll come in ready. He seems pretty humble, and we’ll get to work.”

Rondo's attitude has been pretty amazing this summer.  According to reports he has been putting in a summer of hard work on his body and his game, and he has stuck to the high ground when it comes to commenting on the team situation.  For a guy who has been put into a no-win situation, he has been handling things with aplomb.  He may turn it into a win-win situation yet.

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An interesting take on the 'ice bucket challenge' can be found here ...
Total administration costs, as seen in the pie chart above, were just under $2 million. “Other salaries and wages” (Part IX line 7) were $3.6 million, with another half million dollars in “pension plans” and “employee benefits.” Expenses for non-employee labor were about $4 million, and “travel expenses” exceeded $1.3 million.
So total costs for labor to run the association was around $12.5 million, from revenues received totaling $24 million.
Over 50% of what the ALS Association receives appears to support salaries of people working for the Association, based on these tax returns.
I'm not saying that the ALS Association isn't a good cause.  Maybe it is.  But we are often naive when we are told something is a 'good cause'.

2 comments:

  1. Goodman must be from Bob Ryan's seed. These two have some odd feelings about Rondo, and they will never get over Rondo.

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  2. Well, I will say this, though: if Rondo gets back to playing tough defense, he can win a lot of people over. I know that a lot of what he does comes from reading offenses and playing his man loosely, but he's got to know when to get tough on his man.

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