|Posted by paul on November 5, 2012 at 4:05 PM|
So far, the NBA season has been full of surprises. James Harden is the best player in the league. BY FAR! We knew he was going to get better and better, right, but did anyone expect this? The Knicks are playing like the best team in the league! What? The Lakers look like they belong in a nursing home, not on the NBA floor. Ok, well, Shawn called that one. Lol!
I won't lie. I'm disappointed by the Celtics' start. You know, it's not our record that bothers me. I hoped we come flying out of the gate, but I also knew we'd have some struggles coming together as a team. What disappoints me is what seems to be the lack of passion. What disappoints me is what looks like a near total lack of creative thinking. What disappoints me is looks like a lack of energy. This team sounded like a team on a mission this summer. Rondo sounded like he personally was on a mission. Now it all looks like pure PR.
We've seen some good signs lately. KG says the Bigs need to be like a pack of hyenas. Heinsohn says this team needs to play uptempo. Doc says he doesn't want Rondo pacing himself. And Rondo has taken personal responsibility, saying that he is the first line of defense and needs to do better, and staying out after practice today to work on pick and roll with Sullinger, and to work on his shooting (according to twitter). Our leaders seem to be moving fast to respond to the disappointing start. Kudos to them. That's what they need to do, and it seems they are doing it. We started to see some positive results in the Washington game.
I harped on Rondo's defense this summer because I thought then that the most important factor to our success this season was Rondo playing aggressive basketball on both ends of the floor. ESPECIALLY on the defensive end. I think this is more true than ever. I think we need Rondo playing intense, creative, aggressive ball on both ends. And we need this for 40 mpg. I think this also means that Doc has to change his rest pattern. Rondo needs more, shorter rests. Rondo isn't made of steel. But he is far and away our best player, when he plays with energy.
So we have to find the right pattern of rest for Rondo, just as we do with KG and PP. It might be even more important. The team will feed off his energy, or fall in line with his lack of energy. This is his team, and it works both ways.
Jay King says this:
"Rondo's career counterpart PER of 15.6 doesn't tell the tale of an elite on-ball defender, and plus/minus data show a decline in performance within the team concept as well," writes Paine. "Over Rondo's first four NBA seasons, the Celtics were 2.2 points of defensive rating better with him on the floor, including an incredible 8.3-point difference during Rondo's rookie season of 2006-07. Since the start of the 2010-11 season, however, that number has been flipped; over the past two seasons, Boston was actually 2.1 points per 100 possessions better when Rondo wasn't in the game."
If Rondo's defense has indeed slipped, part of the reason: He's taken on larger offensive importance every season and -- especially given the amount of minutes he plays -- must conserve some of his energy to run Boston's offense. Doc Rivers recently said Rondo could be more like Avery Bradley, hounding every opponent until he trembles in fear, but the Celtics rely too much on their star point guard's offensive contributions.
“I’m concerned but not as far as him getting tired but I don’t want him to save himself on the floor,” Rivers said after Monday's practice, according to WEEI. “There’s a minutes number for him. We don’t know what it is yet. We’ll figure it out where he can play his minutes at full pace instead of knowing he’s going to be on the floor too long and then he starts pacing himself. We need him to be a fast, quick, aggressive player.”
But Doc, it's not just about the number of minutes. It's also about the rest pattern. Typically Rondo will play almost the entire first quarter. Then he'll rest for about 8 minutes. Then he'll play the rest of the half, and often the rest of the game. Does this really make sense? The way it looks to me, that's too many minutes to start the game. The beginning of the game is when we want Rondo hitting the hardest on both ends. Then he sits too long. When he comes back in, he's cold. Then he ends up playing the rest of the game because we are usually deep in the ****. I don't understand any of it. I'm sure it works for most players. I think it's dead wrong for Rondo. He should get a shorter rest sooner. And then again. Let's find the REST PATTERN that will allow him to maximize his energy. I think that's more important than the number of minutes.