|Posted by paul on January 31, 2013 at 8:55 PM|
Things are confusing right now.
On one hand, it didn't take long for the snakes to come wriggling and slithering out of the Celtics pit, did it? First Rondo's supposed best buddy, Bradley, rips Rondo on twitter and then says he didn't. Then Lee reportedly comes out griping about Rondo, after Rondo's departure. Then it's Terry's turn. Now it's Bass. Of course, Lee, Terry and Bass weren't quite as blunt in their comments as Bradley was, and even Bradley didn't mention Rondo's name, but you know, they've all been pretty blunt. They surely ain't cryin' much over Rondo being gone.
So where were these guys when Rondo was still here (Bradley aside)? I find it a bit disturbing to discover - albeit, for just two games so far - that suddenly, post-Rondo, we have the team we all envisioned last summer (only we envisioned having this team PLUS Rondo). Do folks really not find it a little bit suspicious that suddenly this Celtics team is looking absolutely great, without there being some deeper story to it than rallying the troops? Come on, it's ludicrous!! To believe that one has to believe that Rondo is some horrible ogre, and the poor littel lambs are now scrambling across the bridge to basketball's greener pastures, with the ogre finally gone.
I'm not saying that some of Rondo's teammates pretty much intentionally screwed him over. Let's just say that their apparent lack of motivation when Rondo was still here, as highlighted by their seemingly amazing surge in motivation upon his departure, may have been right next door to that, or somewhat down the street, perhaps.
And I add this further question: does anyone really think that these spare-parts type players would really have pulled the bad play/good play stunt they seem to have pulled, while bad-talking Rondo, without the backing of a heavy hitter on the team? I don't think so. None of those guys have any gravitas, except for Bradley, and he doesn't have much. So who would be the heavy hitter who has never really been comfortable with Rondo's leadership of the team? Who would be the heavy hitter whose play has at times this season been truly heinous, yet who seems to have pulled off a miraculous turnaround along with Lee, Bass and Terry?
I'm not thinking about KG, that's for sure. KG has been steady this year, the Celtics' steadiest player, and he clearly loves Rondo, even though he gets frustrated over Rondo a lot.
So no, I'm sorry, I'm just no buying the Seabiscuit miraculous turnaround story this team is trying to jam down our throats. There has been a snake pit at the heart of this team, and it surely wasn't all Rondo's doing. I guess we'll see how Team Snake Pit does the rest of the season. They may do great. They could win number 18 even, I suppose. They'd better not fall off again, though, because I suspect that if they do, a housecleaning won't be far away, and Pierce won't be sacrosanct...
But we can't just make excuses for Rondo either. Rondo had an incredible opportunity this season, and he booted it. Repeatedly. This was his team to lead, but even his fans have been appalled, at times, at his passivity on offense and his seemingly lackadaisical defense. Of course Haters will say "AHA, you agree with us!" Well yeah, because we aren't blinded with love the way Haters are blinded with hate! We can see Rondo's faults.
What seemed to make it worse was Rondo's stubbornness. Fans, media, enemies, even legends of the game, like Bill Walton, practically begged him to come out of his trance, or whatever it was, and seize the opportunity he had been given. He just didn't. And yet you can't say he didn't try. At times he played brilliantly, and in some ways he had his best and most consistent season. He just couldn't seem to focus. He'd get torched particularly badly by someone and maybe he'd get tough on D for a game or two, but then it would be back to matador normal. How could Rondo not see that playing a strong all-around game would work best? That the team needed his leadership on defense as much as on offense?
And let's not assume that Rondo's injury had nothing to do with this whole mess. The worse things got, the more pressure Rondo surely felt to perform heroics. That had to create an atmosphere that made injury more likely.
I'm glad to see that the Celtics are playing better. But I'm not loving the post-Rondo Celtics.