We’ve heard a lot about the way the Celtics have struggled to allow Rajon Rondo control of the team, but what we haven’t heard a lot about is that Rondo’s control extends beyond his play. (Green Street)
[Danny Ainge said] I saw something in the Miami series where [Kendrick Perkins] and KG and Glen Davis that were arguing over something, over a pick and roll coverage is what I thought it was, and then here came Paul came in and they were still kind of debating. And then Rondo came in and just calmly sat everyone down, and it was amazing. They were all listening to him. Now, that doesn’t mean that KG doesn’t have a voice, and Paul doesn’t have a voice, because they do. They still have a major voice in things that we do, but I would have never seen that two years ago.
It seems like we’ve come so long since Rondo was the problem rather than the solution, but Ainge shopped him around like crazy before THIS SEASON. Remember the Rodney Stuckey rumors, the Tyreke Evans rumors and all the other ones? Rondo was considered a bad apple, uncoachable and not dedicated enough to his team. He skipped team meetings, came late to playoff games and butted heads with Doc Rivers.
Now he’s a leader both on the floor and off it. I remember a Rivers quote that put it perfectly. It went something like, “When Kevin Garnett follows you, that’s when you know you’re a great leader. And Kevin now follows Rajon.” Rondo has quickly matured and his $55 million contract is looking like one of the best bargains in the league. It isn’t out of the question that he will become the NBA’s best point guard, all while making $11 million a year. Hell, as Bill Simmons noted, if you had to win a playoff game tomorrow would you choose any other PG for your team? THAT’S how well he’s played, that’s how drastically he’s improved. And the development of his leadership skills has been just as rapid.
Nine months ago, we never could have imagined Rondo being as good a basketball player as he’s become. But it’s his evolution as a leader that makes the rest of his career so perfectly promising.