How much blame does Rondo get? | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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How much blame does Rondo get?

Rondo dunk pistons
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As Rondo goes, so go the Celtics.

How many times have we said that around here?  We usually say it after he drops a triple double, dashes around the court relieving opposing guards of the basketball, and generally wows just shy of the point of drawing up blueprints for his post-retirement statue outside the Garden.

Yet when the Celtics don't play well, we don't seem to be as willing to look to our budding young star as a reason. 

Can we have it both ways?

If the seeds of Rondo as the driver of the Celtics bus were planted earlier this season, the first negative bud sprouted at Celtics Hub after the Nets game… where Zach Lowe said:

Rajon Rondo has gotten a pass for the team’s turnover problems. I do
not understand why.

Rajon Rondo turns the ball over a lot. There are 94 guards in the NBA
who have played at least 1000 minutes so far this season; of those,
only six have turned the ball more often—per possession—than Rajon Rondo

And he backs that up with a good amount of evidence to show that while those particular numbers are a little askew because of how much Rondo has the ball, he IS part of the problem.

On last night's edition of Boston & That Sports Babe, we dove into some of the "boredom" discussion that has been swirling around the Celtics.  And that discussion has centered almost exclusively around Rasheed Wallace and the other Celtics veterans.

But what about Rajon Rondo?  What about a 24 year old kid who is blazing fast, crafty in transition, and the kind of defensive menace that starts fast breaks?  How excited must he be to see a lineup of guys who were all playing pro ball right around the time he was in middle school?  If anyone is going to get bored with things, it's him.

Rondo is a greyhound and the rest of the Celtics are St. Bernards.  They are workers, they get the job done, but they're not runners.  Rondo needs big, wide open spaces… not half court sets.

But in the end, it is Rajon Rondo's responsibility to play the style of basketball this team demands.  He can push it when he's got it, but he still needs to get Ray the ball… and Ray needs 3 picks to get open.  He still needs to get KG the ball… and KG needs to set up shop in the post and make his little shimmy move to get a shot off.  He still needs to get Paul Pierce the ball… and Pierce needs to often run a pick and roll with someone else.  

So Rondo needs to find a way to do all that stuff and do it as crisply as he does all the exciting stuff we love.  Because losing his focus in what he might see as the mundane beginning of some half court set causes him to be sloppy…. which leads to turnovers… which leads to runs… which leads to evaporated leads…

No, it's not all Rondo's fault.  But some of it is.  And if you're going to be the new leader of this team, Rajon… you've got to accept some of the blame along with some of the glory.  It's like a marriage:  In sickness and in health… for better or for worse.

As Rondo goes, so go the Celtics.  It's time for Rondo to go off.

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  • James

    Um have u guys noticed hes the only one still ballin and keeping them in these games? The whole “we go as Rondo goes thing” was true when KG and Ray could actually hit their shots and be dominant, and Pierce didn’t get stripped everytime he drove the ball. Plus the team D was once way better. Rondo has his flaws, but he is far from the reason the Celtics have been playing like crap. SMH…

  • He’s not THE reason.. but we can’t dismiss him as A reason. He’s made some sloppy plays. He’s not excused from this.
    And don’t get me wrong… I love Rondo. I’m perfectly happy with him getting the keys to the team. I’m just saying that he needs to step it up a little too.

  • Danno

    I love Rondo too. But it’s kind of hard to be critical of him on here, because certain other regulars will have an absolute shitfit over it if you say anything even remotely negative about his game or a particular performance.

  • thetitleisours

    We forget how young he still is. The honeymoon is over now we need to work on the marriage
    I know we will probably get Finley but Almond had another nice game and 5-6 from 3’s

  • BA

    Rondo has had a tough time finishing games strong but he is still learning. The biggest factor that nobody is looking at with these losses is BIG BABY DAVIS he sucks. The celts are 22-6 without him and 15-16 with him. What was he doing launching up 14 shots last night? Was he drunk? Was his college buddy in the building? BBD is at the bottom of the list of efficient big men he needs to step it up big time.

  • Perry

    Sober assessment, which I concur with.
    There appears to be a tug of war between those who believe Rondo has taken over the leadership mantle (Grande/Max seem to think so), and those who still feel it’s Pierce who we must count in a must score possession. On the other hand as Kevin goes so does our hopes to win a championship.
    What I’m trying convey, in an awkward sort of way, is the changing of the guard has accelerated a little faster than many of us thought. This is why your points are so well taken because if Rondo is the end justifies the means then he has to bring it every night. Sure he can fill the stat sheet, but his game is not as measured as some people think. It’s not a knock on him — he is improving in those suspect areas, but turnovers are endemic of his road to maturity.
    Can he take over a game? I think yes. But he can also get into that ‘Hero’ mode Doc talks about.
    Also agree with DRJ defending his A/T ratio. That could be a by product of him being too crafty when the situation calls for a more fundamental pass.
    Like you, I want to be clear. I love Rondo, and he’s the juice we can’t live without. He’s not Couz yet, but he’s traveling on the right road.

  • Well said Perry. You're seeing it the same way I am. Nice reply. 

  • Doesnt get much blame, hes been playing much better, has improved more then anyone from the championship team…and the term “As rondo goes so goes the celtics” was appropiate the last 2 seasons, but not this one, because hes pretty consistent, its How good is KG gonna feel tonight, and Paul, and ray, etc… we never know what we’re gonna get out of any of them.
    The whole leadership thing is a farce, while he has improved in that category, its impossible to be the leader of this team at 24.
    I find it incredible that when everythings going well, he gets no credit of leadership whatsoever, KG or paul do, but when things go bad we’re all looking for rajon to be a great leader to guys 10 years his age? where has the big 3’s leadership gone?

  • Funny, this idea has been floating around in my head the last couple of days. In no way is Rondo the reason we lose games, but there is a correllation between his advancement and this teams demise. The thing that really effects this team sometimes is that Rondo NEEDS the ball in his hands to really be effective. He demands the ball from anybody at all times on rebounds and fast break situations which is understandable, but in half court sets I still feel like Rondo out there really puts a kink in what we want to do UNLESS he has the ball in his hands and is breaking down the defense.
    My gripe is that you cannot ask a guy to break down the defense every single possession and get all his teammates shots throughout the entire game. The problem lies in this, where if he is not doing this, even at short instances in games, this team comes to a screeching halt when he is on the floor. The half court sets become jam packed and the spacing breaks down when the ball isn’t in his hands.
    When we won the championship 2 years ago, Rondo lost a lot of playing time down the stretch of games because of a couple reasons
    1) His inability to consistently hit free throws. You cannot have your main ballhandler down the stretch of games shoot 60% from the line.
    2) His lack of a jump shot to stretch the floor. When the game slows down you need your money guys handling the ball and you need good spacing. Doc would choose to go with House because he can space the floor with Posey on the floor along with Ray and KG. created space for a deadly pick n’ roll between Pierce and KG. Very hard to guard.
    3) His unwillingness to take the big shot. You can’t expect Rondo to take and make big shots down the stretch of games still at this point, which means passing the ball to him does nothing, which proves that unless he has the ball in his hands he is useless (and you cannot have him handle the ball all the time because he shoots poor from the FT line.)
    This team still needs Pierce to close out games to be effective IMO. Rondo does tons of great things and puts up great numbers and is a great passer and ball handler. But still in the NBA everything comes down to spacing, and this is what kills the celtics sometimes with Rondo. Unless he is holding the ball and consistenly breaking down the defense he is actually somewhat of a hinderance on our team.

  • Shawn-cvd

    Unfair as it is Rondo’s position equates to a leadership position. Especially with Rondo’s skill set and ability to run our offense.
    It’s not like he’s Mo William’s defaulting to Lebron to run point forward. Rondo directs traffic, cuts hard, dishes. He touches the ball more than anyone on this team.
    Rondo’s is a borderline top tier PG. And soon I believe he will be one of the elite in this league. For now if he’s credited for winning then he deserves criticism when we’re losing. Welcome to the magnifying glass Rajon.

  • Shawn-cvd

    +1…excellent commentary

  • JD

    It’s been very interesting to watch how Rondo’s play has an effect on the team, especially over the last few weeks.
    In the first Lakers game, in the last Magic game, and in the Cavs game, the Celtics had their largest leads when Rondo was absolutely dominating. Not just playing well, but dominating the game and dictating the flow of the offense. Of course, in all three games, Rondo dominated in the first half and the Celtics had a big lead; then he disappeared in the second half and the Celtics lead disappeared with him.
    So the question is: is it Rondo’s fault for not being as aggressive in the second half, or is Doc/coaching staff taking the ball out of Rondo’s hands in the second half?
    I tend to think a little of both; Rondo did seem more reluctant to attack in the second half of all three games and instead differed to his teammates. But it also seems that the team was making a conscious effort to put the ball in Paul’s hands in the second half, as would even be taking the ball up the floor to set up the offense with Rondo in the game. Also, the fact that the game slows down considerably in the latter stages of the fourth quarter hurt Rondo’s game.
    I think the fix is to tell Rondo that he should be in attack mode whenever possible, especially if he was the best player in the first half (like in Lakers, Cavs, Magic games). But in the late stages of the fourth quarter, when the clock slows down, Paul can still make the big play as he has been doing it for years. And if teams double off of Rondo, I trust him to hit the jumpshot.
    But we can’t just all of a sudden go away from Rondo to incorporate Pierce in the offense, because whenever we seemingly attempt to do that, the offense falls apart and the defense follows soon after.