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.
“He made shots,” Brad Stevens said after the game of Rondo. “They went under the ball screens and almost dared him to make shots and he has to make those. He’s a very good pull up shooter.”
Stevens admitted that it’s taken time for Rondo to get comfortable on the floor — and comfortable with his jump shot, more specifically — but the Celtics coach hinted at the fact that Rondo’s performance on Sunday could be a sign of things to come when it comes to that jumper.
“I felt pretty good, as far as moving-wise, able to get to the rim and finally put some balls in the hole,” he said. Pressed on the topic, he added, “It’s just one game. I made a lot of my shots. But I feel more comfortable around the basket. A lot of my flip shots went in today. But, like I said, I take it one day at a time.”
The “dare Rondo to shoot” is sort of like the “hack-a-Howard” approach. The perception is that it’s a good idea, and it might work just enough for people to say “yes, this is how you should play him, but the reality is that he’ll burn you more often than not if you try it.
That’s not to say teams should try to fight over screens with Rondo because he’ll just turn the corner and destroy the defense by forcing rotations, but teams will learn that they need to be a bit more aggressive in challenging Rondo’s jumper. He shot 47% last season from 15-19 feet. He can hit that shot.
Just like most star players, you have to pick the lesser of the evils which they present. Just like other guys with the ability to get to the rim, you want to force Rondo to take jumpers rather than drive and dish. But now that more people are catching onto the fact that he can hit those J’s, it’ll be interesting to see if there are any tweaks to how he’s defended.
Personally, I’d aggressively double team him on the pick and roll and try like hell to force him to give up the ball. But that’s just me. If you don’t have the personnel to do that and recover if he turns the corner, he could burn you. But I digress…
The key for Rondo is, and has always been, the willingness to take those jumpers. Every one of Rondo’s makes yesterday was because he confidently stepped into his shot and he took it in rhythm. He was more hesitant in the past because he had guys like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett who needed the ball. But on this team, it’s obvious that a Rondo jumper when a defender sags is probably as good an option as any on the floor.
So teams can keep on daring him to make those. I think at some point, they’re going to get sick of losing those bets.
Page 2: Sully got a talking-to from his Dad
But even the best young players have room for a critique, which is why C’s coach Brad Stevens challenged him to play older than his age last week. Not long after, his father and former high school coach, Satch, chimed in.
“He said my body language sucked and my attitude sucked,” Sullinger said of the latter conversation. “And he said that’s not what got you here, and he pretty much tried to whoop me back to shape, as my other two fathers did: Julian, as in my brother, and Jay, as in my brother, as well. I was fortunate to have three fathers in my life, technically, according to them.”
The Sullingers are not afraid to share opinions with you or each other.
It’s easy for a young player to get frustrated, especially when you’re a guy like Jared Sullinger. He has to work his ass off every play to be the player he is. He’s just not going to be able to coast or rely on some insane level of athleticism to beat NBA players to the ball. He has to out-work, out-hustle, and out-think everyone on every play to succeed. And when you have to do that and it doesn’t pay off… or if it results in you getting hurt… then it’s much easier to get frustrated.
Losing a battle when you’re busting your f’ing ass is more frustrating than losing when you can be like LeBron or Durant and say “eh, I’ll get ’em next time.” Sullinger’s father and brothers saw that frustration and helped him channel it in a different direction.
This is the power of positive influences in life. As Sully’s star grows in Boston and people start to accept that he’s a key piece to the C’s future, they are more likely to treat him as the growing star that he is. Quite frankly, his family doesn’t give a shit how much the fans love him… if he’s not acting right, they’ll tell him that.
You know what you get when your head isn’t checked by people who don’t care how famous you are? Justin Bieber.
I feel like one of those DirecTV commercials.
“And when you don’t check your son’s attitude, he turns into Justin Bieber. Don’t let Jared Sullinger become Justin Bieber. Get Satch-TV now”
Related links: Globe: Sullinger steps up to the challenge for Celtics
Boys will be boys…
The rest of the links:
Herald: Rondo, Bradley shine in rare double-bill show | Globe: Bradley and Rondo quite the backcourt combo in win | CSNNE: Bass enjoys win over pal Big Baby | Together at last: Rondo, Bradley share court | ESPN Boston: Locked-in Bass fuels C’s