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Could Rajon Rondo be the next Dennis Johnson?

Chuck - Red's Army March 6, 2012 Uncategorized 10 Comments

RondoDJ

The Globe's Chad Finn delivers an excellent column on the similarities between Rajon Rondo and Dennis Johnson.

While the two players have/had different games, they do have one trait in common – attitude:

And I'm not suggesting Rondo is DJ's peer as a Celtic, though I think it's someday possible provided this storm passes and Danny Ainge finds a way to reload the roster without losing a couple of seasons — and Rondo's interest — in pursuit of lottery ping-pong balls. I don't dish comparisons to DJ lightly; he is probably my favorite non-Larry Celtic of all time, depending upon which flashbacks I've seen on NBA TV recently. He's in the starting five for sure.

But it must be remembered that DJ was not a Celtic lifer. He built his career and his reputation — for better and worse — in Seattle and Phoenix before coming to Boston in what would be a heist of Lowe/Varitek-for-Slocumb proportions, arriving for Rick Robey in June 1983. There's a reason Johnson, the 1978-79 Finals MVP for the Sonics, a six-time first-team All-Defensive choice and four-time All-Star before he ever took the court for the Celtics, was available.

He was an incorrigible pain in the neck. And that's the watered-down DJ fanboy version.

Finn's premise is – if the Celtics move Rondo, they may come to regret it. A valid point.

But… would DJ have turned into a Hall of Famer had he not been shipped to Boston? Sometimes it takes a trade to slap sense into the player. 

To all the card carrying members of the Rondo fan club – I'm not saying Rondo must be traded or that he needs sense slapped into him. I'm just throwing out discussion points.

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  • Danno

    I think DJ would have been a Hall of Famer anyway. You don’t win Finals MVP and not make it into the hall too often, and he did that before he came here.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mdsample greenbeand

    rondo’s just fine being himself.. co-captain would be a nice addition

  • Danno

    Being Captain is more about being the glue that holds the team together in the Locker room, not about being the guy who puts on the biggest show on national TV.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/redslovechild1 Redslovechild

    Tell that to Cedric Maxwell {1981} and Jo Jo White {1976}.
    Not that he wasn`t a major contributor…but winning two championships in Boston, while surrounded by Hall Of Fame talent, helped DJ`s career immensely.
    He just as easily could have been traded to NJ in 1983, and finished his career in obscurity.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/sothewind Lee in Oregon

    DJ didn’t need the C’s to make the HOF, The C’s needed him to make it to the finals 4 years in row. But yes, I like the comparison.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/licktheglassitol Classless

    Hmm a good comparison i suppose. One can only hope Rondo can reach those heights like DJ did.

  • http://jtshoopsblog.blogspot.com JT’s Hoops Blog

    OMG, you guys are so full of $h1t. First you call for this poor guy’s head on a platter and now you’re worshiping him. Please! That’s why I’ll say it once, i’ll say it a million times–Celtics fans are a$$h0l3s

  • http://profile.typepad.com/rtcoaster Shawncvd

    Go Away Troll.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mannoperry Perry Manno

    Read this piece yesterday and while I understand Finn’s conjecture I’m not sure about drawing a parallel. I tried to think of a trade over the past 30 years that compelled a GM to make a deal for a player that would specifically address their arch rival’s scorer. At the time the DJ trade wasn’t about value or his demeanor. He was coveted because no guard could lock down Andrew Toney. Hypothetically if Rondo was traded to the Lakers would it be about stiffing Westbrook in a 7 game series?
    More importantly Phoenix was not in the position the Celtics find themselves in today. At the time the Suns had Adams, Davis, and Lucas playing at their prime with rookies Nance and Macy waiting in the wings. Hence, they could afford to let Johnson go and not require an elite player in return in lieu of their depth. Obviously we’re in totally different situation, and the Rondo trade talk is all about whether they can build the next generation around him.
    So it is legitimate to debate his leadership or lack thereof. This is a tough franchise to play for, and unless Howard is bought in to share the spotlight the entire burden of being the face of the franchise falls on Rondo’s back. So far he hasn’t handled adversity very well playing in the shadows of 3 future HOF’s. Maybe if shipped to another team, in a less demanding environment, he could grow into a true leader. Or maybe it’s just a case of the veterans retiring, Rondo assuming the mantle and embracing the role. Bottom line is Danny will not trade him for a bunch of good players. He makes a deal if it’s for elite talent. That’s how much Rondo is valued by management.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mannoperry Perry Manno

    The great Zach Lowe lays out a framework for how this debate should be discussed.
    http://nba-point-forward.si.com/2012/03/06/quantifying-rajon-rondos-trade-value/#more-15913