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.
But it may well be an even more encouraging sign for the Celtics and their future that Rondo is working on more than just his right knee. He has been on a quest for intracranial improvement, as well, reaching out to a number of sources as he seeks to become a better leader, as recently when he wondered how much to get involved when two teammates had a disagreement.
“And it’s not just being a leader here,” he said. “If I want to go into coaching afterwards, it’s the next step to that, being a leader on the court and knowing how to talk to guys. You know, you can’t coach every guy the same way. Guys don’t take criticism the same. It’s a learning process, and I’ve been learning every year I’ve been in the league.”
A born competitor, Rondo is rarely one to admit shortcomings. He opened the door a bit when asked if there are specific aspects he needs to improve.
“Yeah,” he said, “the way I talk to guys. I’ve got to find better ways to get my point across. That’s in life though. It’s not just basketball; that’s in my relationships off the court. I’ve got to work on my delivery. My message is always good. It’s just the way I say it may be a little bit harsh.
“You know, it’s hard to control sometimes when you’re in the moment competing. You mean well, but if you’re out there at war on the court, it may not always come out smoothly.”
There is no question about his talent. There has never been a question about his talent. But as the Celtics shape their future, there has to be at least some measure of concern about whether they can build on a foundation of Rondo, about how he will handle being the strongest veteran voice on the club.
Knowing this day was coming, the club has, over the last few years, sought to groom the complex point guard for the larger and more public role. Behind the scenes, Rondo has been loved and respected for his warrior approach to the game. But, as he intimated, others in the room have seen him as dour and wondered whether he could be positive enough to handle the spiritual leadership of a basketball band.
The earliest returns have been very good, and Rondo’s influence off the court is expected to increase now that he’s playing.
Boston Herald - Rajon Rondo understands his role
One of the biggest concerns and/or criticisms of Rondo has been his demeanor and leadership. According to Danny Ainge and Rondo himself, Rondo has learned quite a bit while having to sit and rehab his injured knee. Sometimes injuries can have positive ancillary effects like this and if this is one of those situations than the Celtics and Rondo are all the better for it. Simply by admitting his shortcomings and realizing how important it is that everyone reacts differently, or needs to be worked with differently is a big step. Remember, KG was famous for his “you get one shot with me or I’m done with you” approach to leadership. If you paid attention and were on board, you were good with Ticket. If not, well, Mikki Moore and Patrick O’Bryant have some nice stories about how lovely it is to earn millions at home while doing nothing but tell stories about how you used to get berated by KG at practice everyday.
As Bulpett notes at the end of his fantastic piece, this is a huge evaluation period for both Rondo and the team. I do believe that named him captain was a subtle/not-so-subtle sign that Ainge and Brad Stevens not only want Rondo on the bus, but they want him to be the driver. It remains to be seen if he’s that odd, crazy bus driver we all had as kids at some point, or if he’s more of the Keanu Reeves type, guiding an unsteady vehicle in the right direction in the movie Speed (wait, wasn’t Sandra Bullock the bus driver in that movie? Just work with me here ok?!?!). It’s very early in the process but so far it appears Rondo is on board with being the captain of the green bus and leading it back to contention.
Page 2: Kris Humphries wants to re-sign with the C’s and be a part of the long-term rebuild
Humphries sounds like a man invested in Boston’s future, although this is the final year of his contract and he could be trade bait in the next few weeks.
Regardless, Humphries said he wants to remain a Celtic or even re-sign this summer.
Having lacked an interior defensive presence since the departure of Kendrick Perkins and the failed experiments of Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal, the Celtics could use Humphries’s guile and production in their rebuilding efforts.
“I want to be a part of this whole, building this team and doing all that stuff with the new coach and all that, I want to be here,” he said. “You never know if they want you or they don’t want you or what their plans are, but I like Boston, my teammates. I’m just getting a chance to play with Rondo a little bit now.”
The two have become friends, and Humphries admits his opinion on Rondo has changed dramatically.
“Yeah, I’m not going to lie, I never liked him until I got here,” Humphries said. “And then it took me a minute to like him once I got here. He’s a competitor, even if he’s not scoring points, he’s getting assists, he can really rebound for a point guard, and defensively I was surprised what he was doing in the first quarter [Sunday].
“The more he plays, the more we’re going to grow as a team. Someone new comes back, he’s gotta figure out how to do the most he can in 20 minutes, it’s kind of tricky, and I think you can expect better from him and better from us as we keep going here.”
My my, how quickly things can change. Funny, didn’t we always hear players say the same thing about Kevin Garnett? You know, they hate him until they are teammates with him and then they love him? Looks like Rondo learned a lot from his “big brother.” I was surprised when the C’s first acquired Humphries at how many felt that he would never play here or that so many people didn’t think he could play. He’s always been a hard-nosed bruiser type of a player and would have been a perfect role player during the recently expired “New Big Three Era.” Even back in his Toronto days he’d rough up KG and Pierce, and even get into it with Perk. In New Jersey, he once set a crushing screen on Rondo well before the fight last year.
If he truly wants to remain in green beyond this year then it would depend on how much money he’s willing to sacrifice. There’s no way Ainge will offer him close to what he’s making per year, but he’d be a fantastic mid-level exception type player on a contending team. He’s likely more valuable to the C’s to simply let his contract expire at the end of the season, unless Ainge gets an absurd offer prior to the deadline. Either way, it’s always nice to see when a non-Celtic comes here with preconceived notions and does a 180 in terms of his view of the team and city. It’s equally as nice when the fans do the same with a player.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston - Grading the Boston Celtics at midseason
MassLive - Rajon Rondo of Boston Celtics more focused on keeping body right since injury | Chris Johnson will ‘probably’ make Boston Celtics debut against Miami Heat | Rajon Rondo admits Boston Celtics and Miami Heat ‘don’t have a rivalry right now’
CBS Sports NBA: Eastern Conference Midseason Report: Lock it up