|Posted by paul on January 23, 2013 at 9:30 AM|
I've wondered before if Avery Bradley's sweetly humble public image was an accurate representation of the real person. I doubted it. It's hard to be a successful athlete if you are such a humble person. I think we got a partial answer about that last night. Avery Bradley is perhaps a lot like Ray Allen. Sure, he sweet-talks the media, but underneath the mask of goodness is a savagely ambitious person, I think. Last night Bradley apparently tweeted a seriously nasty shot at Rondo, and then apparently deleted it and backtracked quickly. Not quickly enough.
"Nobody will score 40 on me unless they take 40 shots"
Apparently this was part of a conversation where Bradley was being taunted for giving up 40 to Irving, so at least it wasn't a naked taunt towards Rondo, but I think it represents a move by Bradley to seize leadership of the team. I don't think he's the honey he tries to come off as being. If Rondo had said something like this, he'd be raked over the coals for it. Here's a kid who hasn't earned the right to say much, who got used by Irving himself, saying it.
Fans and media are apparently ignoring Bradley's tweet, or defending him. In fact, they seem to be seizing on this as an opportunity to throw Rondo under the bus. Fans have convinced themselves that Sully and Bradley are our future. It's easy to do that, isn't it, with young players whose weaknesses haven't been exposed? I like Sully and Bradley a lot, though I guess I don't like Bradley as much as I did after this, but they are our future? Part of it, I hope.
It's interesting to consider how folks would be talking of Celtics other than Rondo had hit a few more shots last night. We would have won the game, and Rondo would be praised to the skies for yet another monster triple double.
The thing is, though, Rondo's defense HAS been awful this year, and that is probably the single most important problem this team has, and Rondo has been incredibly stubborn about doing anything to change this. Doc himself called Rondo out on the radio, prior to the Cavs game, though he too (like Bradley) avoided doing it by name:
Doc: "Yeah, i wish i was wrong on that one. I just tought we went trough starting trending back to the way we were playing before we start the winning. And that is gambling on defense, getting beat off the dribble, walking the ball up the floor, not cutting the way we should. And we're just not that team to be able to that and win games."
Apparently Doc didn't mention Rondo's name there, but he might as well have. Irving is an incredible offensive player. Michael Jordan hit the Larry Bird Celtics with 63 points once. Even the best defensive player can get burned by a great offensive player, but Rondo gets burned a lot. Knight burned him the game before. I want to see the Celtics build the future around Rondo, but as I said repeatedly this summer, the next step for him revolves around both continuing to improve his offense, and bringing up his defense. Sure, maybe Bradley threw Rondo under the bus, with an assist from Irving, and another from Doc, but Rajon, WHY DO YOU INSIST ON HANGING OUT AT THE CURB?!
Still, kudos to Paul Pierce for apparently refusing to throw Rondo under the bus:
He's tough," Pierce said. "He's probably the best scoring point guard in the league. The way he penetrates, mid-range, 3-point game, ... there's no scoring point guard like him in the league."
Take note, Avery. You might not want to stab your teammate on the back on twitter. Or at all.
I want this team to build around Rondo. If Rondo's teammates hit a few more shots last night, Rondo has a monster triple double and we win going away, and Irving's 40 points mean nothing. But I wish Rondo would give us some reason to believe that he really will make some changes to his game. Please stop spending the summer touring the world, Rajon, and focus on your game. You don't have enough scoring moves. You are flatfooted on defense and get beat constantly. You don't push the ball enough on offense. Not all your critics are jerks who hate you and want to see you fail. Even Bradley has a point, even if it took the form of a verbal knife in the back.