So, umm, some people are still defending Rajon Rondo’s three-pointer the other night? I just don’t get it.
The latest that I’ve seen was John Schumann from NBA.com. He noted that “Rondo had no choice but to take the shot he never wants to take, and that both teams were willing to live with the consequences.”
Before I continue, Schuhmann is one of the best and most informed NBA writers in the world. I respect his opinion and value it.
But to think Rondo had no choice but to take the shot? No choice??? That’s simply false.
There were seven seconds left in the game when Rondo started his motion to shoot. Rondo was wide open (really, wide open doesn’t properly do it justice), and some people offer that as an excuse for Rondo to take the shot. Some people even opined that Rondo HAD to take the shot. (A notion to which my buddy emailed me, “Yeah, and my grandmother would have been left wide open too. That doesn’t mean I would have wanted her to pull the trigger.”)
The fact of the matter is, Rondo had plenty of time to find another shot. He could have dribbled around Pierce to the hoop, or he simply could have passed the ball to Pierce in front of him. Pierce was being defended by Jason Kidd, a mismatch, at the elbow, Pierce’s sweet spot.
“We were begging him to shoot it,” Pierce told the Boston Globe. Wait, what? They were begging a 24.9% career three-point shooter to take a three-point shot, with the team down two and only seven seconds remaining? What is this I’m living in, Bizarro World? What is it, opposite day?
Gary Washburn wrote that Rondo’s decision to take the shot should instill confidence.
But this early season is as much about establishing roles and confidence as it is about winning. The next time, Rondo won’t hesitate to launch that 3-pointer and perhaps it will go down. But the Celtics have been begging Rondo to be more assertive with his shot, and he has reluctantly accepted the pleas.
How is a brick going to establish confidence? Won’t it cause him to continue hesitating, just as he did before he shot the three the other night?
And another thing: I don’t even want Rondo to be confident in his jumper. Not if it means he’s going to be launching three-pointers in crunch-time. Even if he’s wide open, I’d much rather see Rondo do something else — anything else — rather than shoot a three-pointer to decide a game.
When I was in college, one of my team’s brick-laying big men launched at least two or three 17-foot jumpers every single game. He almost always missed. Finally, my coach got fed up with the shot, yanking him out of the game and berating him on the bench. The confused big man muttered five words in response: “But I was wide open.”
To which my coach replied, “Yeah. And there’s a fucking reason for that.”