Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The Celtics president of basketball operations knows that Rondo was paying attention when he was out, seeing how the team did better at first when not relying so heavily on one ballhandler and then noting how much he was missed during the postseason.
“I think Rondo is a smart guy, and he got to see the strengths and weaknesses of our team and the players,” said Ainge. “I think he actually started to see it even before he was out, but when you’re out, you can see things in your team and your teammates that maybe you didn’t see before. You see players that are capable of doing some things that maybe you weren’t sure they could do. I think that’s always helpful. Doc and I have both talked to Rajon about what he can do to get better and what he needs to do.
“And Rondo’s a smart kid on his own. He doesn’t listen to everything you say, but he’s got his own ideas of what he can do to get better, as well. He’s very observant, very street-smart and very basketball-smart, too.
“I always think he’s getting better.”
It’s possible Rajon Rondo looks at how well the Celtics played (14-4) for the first six weeks after his knee injury and says, “This offense is lethal when the ball is moving. I need to adjust my game.”
He looks at how awful the offense was during the playoff series vs the Knicks and says, “This team sucks without me. I need to dominate the ball and do my thing.”
Either way, the Celtics need Rondo. Even the most ardent Rondo bashers must admit this team is significantly better with him on the floor, grouchy personality and all.
I’m expecting the steady progress we’ve seen over Rondo’s career to continue. Two areas where I’m hoping for drastic improvement are free throws and on the ball defense.
As for Rajon’s rehab, Ainge wouldn’t offer a timetable but did say:
“He was doing his rehab in Louisville, and then he went back down to Florida to work with Dr. (James) Andrews for a while,” said Ainge. “Rajon is looking good. We’ve mostly been texting lately. Look, this kid is motivated. I mean, he’s really motivated. Rajon’s a competitor. He wants to be back before Adrian Peterson was back.”
I think he’s ready for Game 1 of the regular season.
The rest of the links: