True story — Doc Rivers once thought Rajon Rondo was going to amount to nothing in the NBA.
We all thought Rondo playing behind Sebastian Telfair during Rondo’s rookie season was because he had yet to mature. Now we realize it might have been that Doc just thought Rondo was going to suck. (Although Doc did also say that it took Rondo awhile to buy into the Celtics’ concepts.)
“First [time I saw Rondo] was on film and I said, ‘Jesus guys, this guy can’t shoot.’ I was like, ‘He’s going to be terrible.’ I did,” Doc Rivers recalled to WEEI.com. “You saw the instincts, but just his shot being where it was at, I was thinking, ‘Wow, there’s no chance.’
“But then you could see when he came into the gym, you saw him personally and you said, ‘This kid’s different. He has a chance,’ because his basketball IQ was so high as a young player. He’s stubborn as hell, but you have to be a little stubborn if you’re smart. Then I thought there was a chance. Then we started working with him and you could see he was willing to work, I thought he had a chance to be really good.”
Even though Doc Rivers didn’t foresee Rondo’s potential, Scal knew it the first day he saw the young PG.
“I thought he was special,” Scalabrine said. “One drill that we used, Doc used him in a pick-and-roll drill, as in our starters need to stop him. … Literally, he could do what he wanted. He pretty much was scoring on three of our guys, or making the right play, or dumping it off, or getting to the basket. This is a pick-and-roll league, and for a player to be that good at the pick-and-roll is just amazing for us to get him where we got him.” [...]
Said Scalabrine, “He was special from the first day he was here and he’s gotten better at that every day. He has special qualities that no matter what, you can’t teach. I can’t believe people overlooked that, but they did, so it’s fortunate for us that we have him. But his level of basketball is just different. He’s like a star. He’s not just a role player or a point guard, like most people thought he was.”
You’ve got to read this story, by Jessica Camerato. It’s great. We need to enjoy having Rajon Rondo on our team and thank our lucky stars Doc’s first impression was very, very wrong.