When you’ve got the skill set of a guy like Rajon Rondo, it’s easy to get knocked for not using all of those skills all the time. Often, people see these guys on the floor as NBA 2K characters rather than actual people who get tired. Unfortunately, we can’t turn off fatigue in these games.
Today, Doc Rivers was on WEEI for his regular weekly spot, and part of his interview had to do with Avery Bradley, his defense, and Rondo.
First, on Bradley.
“The ball pressure he can supply takes up clock… When Avery is on the floor, (teams) don’t typically start their offense until 14 to 12 seconds (left on the shot clock). Right away, your defense is better because you have less time to defend. The second thing is you can put him on the best guard, and you don’t need a lot of help with him. The less you have to help a player, the more your team can sink in and be a better team defensively.
“Physically, mentally, he’s tough. He has great anticipation. He has great feet. He was blessed with great feet, great athleticism, but more importantly, he has great instincts.”
Make no mistake about it, Avery Bradley is one of the NBA’s best wing defenders. What I love about his defense is that he uses intense, in-your-face pressure to mitigate things like height advantages. He’s a difference maker on the floor.
And then the follow-up question: “You don’t think Rondo could do what he does if he put his mind to it?”
“Yeah, he could, but I think it would be hard to run the team and be as aggressive as I need him to be offensively and do it full-time. I think that would be asking a lot.”
Doc may have said it before, but I don’t recall it getting much attention. It’s an interesting acknowledgement from the coach that Rondo’s most important contribution is pushing the offense and running things in that regard rather than pushing as hard as Bradley does defensively.
Everyone’s got a role. And we know when Rondo needs to ramp up the defense, he can do it. But it’s clear that the coach isn’t exactly pushing Rondo to expend all of his energy on the defensive end. The Celtics need Rondo to spend it running the team, diving into the lane, and making sure the Celtics score points.
The beauty of Bradley in the starting line up, and why there will be no controversy when he comes back and takes the spot from Courtney Lee, is that it allows Rondo to both conserve energy on the defensive end while still roaming free safety-style to pick off errant passes caused by Bradley’s pressure. In tandem, because of what each allows the other to do, Bradley and Rondo are a great team.
You can listen to the full Doc Rivers interview here. Doc also touched on the KG and Ray situation, and Dwyane Wade calling Rondo’s foul a “punk move.” Let’s just say he echos this sentiment pretty clearly.