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Your Morning Dump… Where Rajon Rondo is Andy Dufresne

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) January 13, 2014 Celtics News, Jared Sullinger, Jerryd Bayless, Jordan Crawford, Rajon Rondo, The Morning Dump 28 Comments

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.

andy-dufresne

PORTLAND, Ore. — Rajon Rondo was a rookie member of the 2006-07 Celtics team that lost 18 straight games.

The streak remains a franchise record, and as Rondo has watched this year’s team struggle through its ongoing eight-game slump while recovering from knee surgery, his words are strangely soothing. His teammates don’t have it as bad as he once did.

The Celtics have to cling to that now, coming off an 0-5 road trip through the Western Conference (they’ll return against a weaker collection of teams in February), stuck in their eight-game slide, and losers of 11 of their last 12 games.

Hope is a tool right now. Hope is what comes through in the voice of Avery Bradley as he attempts to make sense of all this losing.

“He’s one of the most positive guys in the locker room,” Bradley said of Rondo. “It’s hard to go through adversity. But veterans like him, Gerald (Wallace) and Keith (Bogans) are keeping us together.

“We all believe that we can turn this thing around. We can turn around and win (eight) in a row. . . . We would love to have Rondo back, but the main thing for him is to get healed all the way. We’re his brothers and we want him to be 100 percent.”

Herald: Eight games in, Celtics still at a loss

The Celtics didn’t quite take the road we thought to 13-25 and the fifth-worst record in the NBA mid-way through January, but this is pretty much where we thought they’d be.

The Celtics are currently oh-for-January, but the potential exists for a 5-and-5 finish to the month (Philly, Washington, Orlando, the Lakers, and Toronto all seem like possible wins to me), and that might be better if Rajon Rondo returns this month and makes an immediate impact.

Rondo is Andy Dufresne because like Andy in that scene, we can’t get the visions of him dropping spectacular dimes all over the floor out of our heads either.  Like Andy, those images provide us hope that there’s something on the outside of this eight-game slide… that there’s something out there that will make us feel alive this season (at least something out there that will wear an NBA uniform before July Summer Leagues).  And, like Andy, we know that he’s getting out of his prison of knee rehabilitation.  He’s going to break free at some point and stand at center court again… hands raised… as cheers rain down upon him.

For now, though, we have the hope.  And this season especially, hope is a dangerous thing.

Related links:  CSNNE:  C’s trying to stay positive as losses pile up |  Globe: Rondo wants to help however he can

Page 2:  Bayless is shaking up the entire backcourt picture

There’s no doubt that Lee was having an excellent individual season, shooting at career-high rates from the field and beyond the arc. But the numbers suggested the bench didn’t thrive when Lee was on the floor. As the team prepares for Jordan Crawford to shuffle to a reserve role with the impending return of Rajon Rondo, Lee and his bloated contract became expendable.

Enter Bayless, who in four games since joining the Celtics has handed out 17 assists. By comparison, Lee had 16 assists in the entire month of December.

[...] Along with Rondo’s return, Bayless’ arrival will diminish playing time for rookie Phil Pressey, who logged a rare DNP versus Golden State but played 11 minutes against Portland on a back-to-back. If backcourt minutes clog up, you can’t help but wonder if the Celtics would consider time for Pressey in the D-League to improve confidence in his shot and offer increased game reps. Pressey has been a quality defender and has the potential to be a nice low-cost depth option moving forward.

Bayless, meanwhile, is on his fifth NBA team in six seasons, a career path similar to that of the departed Lee. When he joined the Celtics, Bayless noted he would like to establish some roots with a team.

Even with his expiring deal, Boston will have a chance to retain Bayless this summer. At the right price, he could be a quality backup option. The Celtics have had success recently shaping combo guards and finding ways for them to thrive, whether it’s been Terrence Williams or Crawford.

ESPN Boston:  Jerryd Bayless can help Celtics

The addition of Bayless certainly changes the dynamic of the C’s backcourt.  There’s no doubt he’s an upgrade over Pressey, who is a half a foot shorter (at least), and nowhere near the shooter.  I appreciate what Pressey has done, and I know the Celtics have a soft spot for him, but if Bayless ends up staying, then Pressey is going.

So might Crawford, who might go from starting point guard to DNP in short order upon Rondo’s return.  At the very least, his 31 minutes a game will be whittled down significantly.  Bayless will have the opportunity to build some continuity with the second unit and work his way into the back-up point guard role that seemed to be destined for Crawford.

But the Crawford that won the Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors is gone.  His shooting has dropped, his decision-making has suffered, and his declining performance has a direct correlation to the team’s dive in the standings.

Enter Bayless, who at least has the shot to back up Rondo whenever Rondo returns, sliding Crawford back to the two, where he could potentially shoot his way out of the rotation.  Once Rondo gets back up to his normal 30+ minutes per game, he and Avery Bradley will be playing a bulk of the minutes at guard, potentially leading to a mostly three-guard rotation (especially on nights where Brad Stevens decides to go big more often with Jeff Green at the two).  The fourth guard, whomever it might be, might be lucky to see more than 10 minutes some nights.

The logjam at guard still exists.  There isn’t enough room for all of them to get the playing time they feel they deserve.  The question now becomes this:

Has Jerryd Bayless’ arrival shaken up the situation so significantly that it ultimately phases Jordan Crawford out of the lineup, or will it be Bayless who sees his minutes dwindle once the Celtics get their true point guard back?

And Finally

Thanks, Jared Sullinger, for starting to pick up KG’s slack not only on the boards, but in the food analogy department:

“When I was younger, two years ago, I would hold on to [the losses],” Sullinger said. “Now you just learn from it. You go into the next game with a clear mind. Every game has a different flavor to it. It’s not all the same Kool-Aid. So you just have to keep playing hard.”

The rest of the links:

ESPN Boston:  Sullinger set for NBA graduation  |  Globe:  Assistant coach Jamie Young to run marathon  |  CSNNE:  Blakely’s takeaways from west coast trip  |  Scoring droughts continue to plague Celtics

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  • bill_nair

    I just cant wait to see what he does down the stretch in close games. We’ve seen Rondo take over in playoff series, can he do the same time after time in regular season games? I’m just excited to see what Rondo does without the security blanket of KG and Paul.

    • Curt Hays

      You know he’s going to shine like platinum. Don’t even act like you aren’t certain, Bill.

      • bill_nair

        Hahaha boy do I hope so. If hes atleast 80% I predict a triple double in his first 5 games.

        • Curt Hays

          Rondo is going to be like Adrian Petersen. He’s going to come back, and in 2015 people are going to be rushing to get on his bandwagon.

  • NE_Celt

    I like what you did there…Shawshank = awesome movie.

    I like what I have seen from Bayless so far…he is already more productive then Lee and a good backup point guard. Crawford has done a pretty good job this year, but he is definitely having more and more Jordan Crawford moments. I think when his minutes get cut it will only get worse and we will see the bad Crawford rear his ugly head again. I like Pressey and think he has done great with the minutes he’s gotten…a stint in the D-league can only help him, and his shot. I hope Pressey can keep improving and have a career in the NBA…but his shot definitely needs improvement.

  • adam

    trade Crawford while we can still get something for him.

    • Curt Hays

      I’m just not sure it’s worth it. He IS quite young. Maybe we need to keep one or two guys on the roster…

      • adam

        he is young and relatively cheap right?

        • Curt Hays

          Cheap right now, which is why you’d keep him. But he’ll be getting expensive soon, I assume.

      • Curt Hays

        Can I at least have an explanation for the down votes? Pretty sure I didn’t insult anyone or say anything irrelevant to the post (which is the actual purpose for downvotes).

        • pierce Hart

          Its ok curt I’m here for you.

          • Curt Hays

            Hahaha, thanks for the shoulder to cry on! I’d just really like to understand what it’s about. I really expected to get like 16 more downvotes just for asking.

  • Curt Hays

    I would have loved to keep TWill, but Bayless may very well end up being a more cost effective option if we can’t keep Steez. This may end up being a very nice move indeed.

  • eddysamson

    What exactly is the point in letting Crawford hold the ball so much and jack up shots? Now that he’s not Mr. November anymore, there really isn’t one unless we are actively trying to tank. In both cases I’d still rather see Brooks get some of Crawford’s minutes, especially in a game like Friday night where Crawford and AB couldn’t hit a shot.

  • Joe

    You’re an idiot if you want the Celtics to win this season. The Celtics losing and getting into the lottery is the only thing you should HOPE for this season!!!

  • RedsLoveChild

    Rondo should definitely take the entire year off. Activating him this year is a catastrophic mistake waiting to happen…just ask Kobe & D-Rose!

    If you want to see him return—-while playing super cautiously, not fully trusting his right knee, over-compensating for it, then wind up injuring the now over-taxed left knee—-you have been warned!

    • bill_nair

      Cant say i agree with everything you say but spot on. The longer he stays out the more I think whats the point in bringing him back. Let him play the games in April as his pre-season.

    • eddysamson

      You forget that D-Rose was cleared to come back in what April 2013? He declined to come back at all through the post season in May. So Rondo sitting out now and coming back at the start of next season is actually a lot like D Rose’s situation.

      I agree, though, at this point I’m down for a lottery pick.

      • RedsLoveChild

        From Day 1, nobody has screamed louder than I have in urging the Celts to “tank” this entire season….and I honestly believe that activating Rondo would only HELP towards the tanking effort.

        He would return playing super-cautiously, very tentative, virtually no jumping allowed, trying hard to avoid injury, and opponents {smelling blood} will viciously attack his vulnerability.

        Let RR continue with rehab….RR at 65% is not as good as Crawford at 100%…plus his trade value will only suffer as GM`s see a slow-motion, “watered-down” RR.

        • Curt Hays

          I really hate when I agree with you. BUT, I don’t think he’d be as cautious or as low as 65%.

          However, if he does play slower, then it would be helpful all around.

          And this is not to say that I have supported tanking. I think I’m too snobby.

      • Curt Hays

        Reluctant agreement here.

    • Frank Aziza

      No way… I agree no need to come back this week but he needs to play a month or two and then next season he can be Rondo. It’s hard to take a year and a half off and come back like nothing has happened. He needs a few months nba action before the off season.

      • RedsLoveChild

        Rondo has already been away from the game a long time {354 days and counting}.

        Kobe returned after 241 days…played 6 games…looked awful…suffered a new injury.

        Rose returned after 549 days…played 10 games…looked awful…suffered a new injury.

        Further, neither Kobe or Rose dealt with Ed LaCerte {Dr. Death} as their trainer!

  • Curt Hays

    Don’t forget that we need to hold on to an extra guard for a rest and injury contingency plan.

  • KGino

    Just read an update that Brad Stevens says Rondo will return “sooner rather than later” and possibly this week!!!

  • Frank Aziza

    TRADE JEFF GREEN….I’ve been so patient with the Green experiment but now I’m done. I’d even trade him for Asik at this point.

  • Jester00

    I wish I could tell you that Rondo fought the good fight, and the Heat let him be. I wish I could tell you that – but the NB is no fairy-tale world. He never said who did it, but we all knew. Things went on like that for awhile – NBA life consists of routine, and then more routine. Every so often, Rondo would show up with fresh bruises. The Heat kept at him – sometimes he was able to fight ‘em off, sometimes not. And that’s how it went for Rondo – that was his routine. I do believe those first two years were the worst for him, and I also believe that if things had gone on that way, this place would have got the best of him.

  • CelticPride

    Does nobody else agree if we are planning on giving AB a large contract we still need to see how he plays with RR. They need more minutes together before I give AB 8 mil for 4 seasons. I don’t see RR getting traded we need him to draw free agents, we never would have had a championship if PP was traded when everyone wanted him traded before 08.