When the doors opened at the TD Garden and the crowds began to file in, the hype surrounding this game with the locals was one of a quiet confidence. The Thunder has had a miserable start to the season and all were looking forward to adding more pain to their suffering.
Tag: Rajon Rondo
Free agency 2014 is done and dusted, with most teams finalizing their transactions, and beginning to prepare for the long NBA season ahead of them. The West is stacked, and the East is getting better, but there are still teams who have failed to match the off season efforts of others.
One team which has failed to make a splash in the market is the Boston Celtics, who have become a non-factor in a lackluster eastern conference these past few years, calling into question the true metal of much revered General Manager and former player Danny Ainge.
Since trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the summer of 2013, fans of the 17-time Champs have become increasingly more unnerved about the direction of the ball club, and how they plan on returning them to their rightful place atop the eastern conference.
There are picks a-plenty, and the future looks bright with young rookies Marcus Smart and James Young joining the ranks via the draft this summer. They also have a young core of Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green, all of whom are ready to help the team progress into the next stage of Boston basketball. But what is the next step? What direction will this team, steeped in history, take?
There is zero doubt that Boston’s back court is deep, having drafted a one and a two, in addition to their already talented lineup of guards, leaving many asking the question why they let enforcer and 7th overall pick Julius Randle fall to the Lakers during June’s NBA Draft.
Drafting Marcus Smart was curious, given 1 x Champ and former All Star Rajon Rondo is still performing at an optimum level for the team, and will return at full strength this October, following knee surgery in February, 2013. Smart is projected to be a high performance player for Boston, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll be able to fully utilize him as a back up behind Rondo.
In this lies an interesting debate – Does it benefit the Celtics to trade their cornerstone, and franchise player before his free agency next summer?
Let’s look at the facts.
As mentioned previously, the roster is deep with guards. Rondo, Avery Bradley and Evan Turner only scratch the surface of their back court, with Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Jeff Green the only players of considerable note anchoring down the paint. Having prided themselves as a defensive stalwart for years, the Celtics would undoubtedly benefit from the addition of a top 15 big, who can average 20/12 on a nightly basis, and help reinforce Boston’s leaky defensive structure.
Injury is a concern. While Rondo is one of the league’s top point guards when healthy, there is uncertainty about his durability after a torn ACL restricted his playing time drastically this past season. Thus far, his value remains high, but should that decrease, and his ability begin to decline, so will his appeal. There is interest in Rondo throughout the league at this point in time, so at the very least, the Celtics should be willing to listen to offers.
An article surfaced earlier this week which indicated that Rondo wants to be “wined and dined” this summer, in similar fashion to Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. Of course, this may be nothing more than a player wanting to have his ego stroked, but it could also indicate that that Rondo is willing to listen to offers come summer 2015. If the Celtics let Rondo test free agency, they’ll run the risk of losing him for nothing, and while he has said he wants to stay a Celtic, no one truly knows.
Should they keep Rondo beyond 2014/15, it will no doubt take up considerable cap space with the team having signed Avery Bradley to a four year, $30 million deal. There is little doubt he’ll sign for anything less than the max next summer, so the Celtics must make a decision about the style of basketball they’ll be playing for the foreseeable future. There is also the question of whether keeping Rondo will impact the development of Marcus Smart, if Boston do intend to utilize him to his full potential.
So, while it remains unlikely that Rondo will sign an extension with any team beyond 2014/15, there could still be something in it for Boston – It’s not so much that we’ll see a Kevin Love/Minnesota type situation between the Celtics and Rondo (given Rondo’s love for the team. A notion Love did not share when it came to the Wolves), but it would benefit Boston in a big way to shop him before he leaves for nothing when the opportunity at a title and max money rears its head.
So, with the information we have, does trading Rondo benefit the Celtics? In short, yes. Given what we know about the team’s current structure, Rondo’s tenure as a franchise guy/healthy player, and his impending free agency, it absolutely is in Boston’s best interests to move him.
While this may be the case, one must wonder if it hasn’t happened yet, will it at all? It’s getting to a point now where it looks more and more likely that the team is all in on Rondo, and should they decide against it in the coming months, it may already be too late.
Whichever way you look at it, expect to see a lot of Rajon Rondo in the trade winds throughout season 2014/15.
The NBA is now a small man’s game.
In the 90s, the NBA was known as a big man’s league. With superstars like Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson and Alonzo Mourning roaming the paint, the prevailing thought was that if you didn’t have a dominant – or at the very least, a capable – centre on your roster, then you were going to struggle to compete with the league’s elite teams.
Either that, or you needed Michael Jeffrey Jordan.
Not only was there a number of great players at the ‘C’ position, but the second and third tier of centres in that era were also very good players. Rik Smits, Brad Daugherty, Dikembe Mutombo, Vlade Divac, Arvydas Sabonis, etc, were no slouches.
In fact, if any of those players were playing today, they would probably be ranked in the top 2 or 3 centres in the game, rather than being placed much further down the pecking order, like they found themselves in the 90s.
Such a sentiment highlights a not-so-subtle shift in the NBA in recent times. Though there remain a number of very good low post players in the league, the position with the most superstar depth at present is actually point guard.
While in the 90s many believed that you simply couldn’t do without an elite centre, that narrative has now changed to having a high caliber point guard on your roster.
Which suggests that the NBA is now a small man’s game.
Actually, that line – and the heading – is a little misleading. It’s not that the NBA has suddenly shifted to being a league for midgets, but rather that there is a feeling that you need a playmaker to be truly successful in the modern NBA.
In essence, the belief is that you need a point guard if you want to win, because it seems like every NBA team has a good-to-great one calling the shots at present.
At the elite level, there is Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, Steph Curry, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo.
On the second tier, there’s John Wall, Mike Conley, Damian Lillard, Ty Lawson, Jrue Holiday, Eric Bledisloe and Ricky Rubio.
Behind those players, there is a solid cast including Jeff Teague, Jose Calderon, Andre Miller, Kemba Walker, Jarrett Jack, Brandon Jennings, Jeremy Lin, Raymond Felton, Steve Blake and Jameer Nelson.
You also have this season’s rookies with amazing potential, Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo.
That’s 27 quality point guards, and I haven’t even considered primary ball-handlers like LeBron James, Andre Iguodala and James Harden, who aren’t listed at ‘PG’, but very much play that role for their teams.
Another player absent from the list is two-time league MVP Steve Nash. Considering how quickly he has succumbed to Father Time, there’s a good reason he has his own paragraph: he still deserves a mention, but he’s no longer anywhere near elite, and there have even been whispers he may retire at any moment due to his injuries.
With so many quality floor generals, NBA General Managers now treat the ‘1’ position the same way they did the centre spot in the 90s. In other words, their thought process is “I gotta get me a point guard!”
The NBA has always been a copycat league. As soon as a team has some success with something slightly different, everyone jumps on the bandwagon.
Such trends have included: getting a center, needing 3 All-Stars, going small, going big, pressing, Twin Towers, building around one high volume scorer, tanking, going ten deep, implementing run & gun offenses, stretch 4s, building through the draft, hiring a college coach, playing zone, corner threes, recruiting international players, rough and physical defense, and the list goes on.
And so we come to point guards, somewhat the 2013 phenomenon.
Though the desire to have an elite level point guard is born out of the depth at the position at the moment, it’s always made sense to have a good NBA quarterback.
Good point guards handle the ball, display leadership ability, control the flow of the game, get all their teammates involved, play the role of ‘coach on the floor’, initiate the offense, break down the D if the offense falls apart, get easy buckets, push the fast break, and generally run the team.
Without all those qualities, most teams today – and throughout history – would struggle to win basketball games.
Though many will disagree, I personally think the point guard is the most important position in basketball. Of course, I would say that as an ex-point guard myself.
Yet regardless of your own opinions on which position in basketball is the most vital, one cannot deny that it is currently the era of the great point guard in the NBA, and it’s making for some highly enjoyable play.
This content was first published on The Roar at www.theroar.com.au
This upcoming season will feel dramatically different for anyone from or fans of the Boston Celtics.
With the trading of Boston legends Paul Pierce & Kevin Garnett to the Brooklyn Nets and Coach Doc Rivers , it was definitely the end of era.
While Boston fans aren’t expecting too much from the forthcoming season, it is still in fact a very important one for star Point Guard Rajon Rondo.
In this feature we take a look at some key points Rondo will need to face if he is to have a successful season.
1. Not To Rush Comeback From Injury!
Welcome to another week and another NBA Nation Australia Roundtable! This week we welcome yet another special guest, this time from Los Angeles, California. Jabari Davis is an avid Lakers and NBA fan, co-founder of TheOpinioNation.com and regular writer for famed and well-renowned Lakers blog LakersNation.com. Recently, Jabari was also a guest on fellow Aussie blog/Podcast #BelieveTheHype with Tom Read and Benyam Kidane. We thank you, Jabari for taking the time to answer a few questions and be a part of our Roundtable.
1. With the impending sale of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle where they will likely be renamed the Sonics, what effect do you believe the move will have on both cities and the NBA as a whole? Also, should the league have thought further about whether or not to relocate the Sonics to Oklahoma City in the first place?
Jabari: The sale, in my humble opinion, will signify the renaissance of one city (Seattle) and the unfortunate end of an era in Sacramento. Sacramento, while as small-town as they come, has remained one of the more rabid fan-bases over the past couple decades. Louder than many arenas on a given night, when the Kings were at their finest (C-Webb era) the only current home court environment that would be comparable is that of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Coincidentally, those very Thunder were stolen away from “Emerald City” basketball fans back in 2008. While I completely understood the league’s desire to capitalize on the new found market in OKC given the successful trial period of the Hornets/Pelicans (post-Katrina), I never quite understood the decision to make it at the expense of a very loyal and dedicated Seattle fan base. Barring any last-minute changes, it will be phenomenal to see the game return to the area. I doubt the same thing ever happens in Sacramento.
Boston Celtics fans were dealt the blow of bad news despite the jubilation after they beat current NBA Champs Miami Heat 100-98 in a gritty 2OT thriller.
The Celtics announced pre-game they would be without their star Point Guard for the game but no one was too sure as to the extent of the injury. Journalist Doris Burke broke the news at half time that the injury was indeed a tear on his ACL, and now looks certain that Rondo will miss the rest of this season.
Below is the video that suggests that Rondo’s injury could have happened late in the second half in the loss against Atlanta Hawks two days ago.
Us at NBA Nation Australia would like to wish Rajon Rondo a speedy recovery.
Welcome to another week of NBA Nation Australia’s Roundtable Discussion
Our @NBANationOz Roundtable Knights Are:
Nick Caro: @NickoToGo
Nick How: @Nick_A_How
Sam Monaghan: @Mono85
This weeks Roundtable is a Finals/Playoffs focused feature and we were lucky enough to have some special guests join us –
Jamey Burke: @KWAPT
Nick Metallinos: @NickMetallinos
Chad Smith: @BezerkerMPS
Conference Finals, Game 2 – Rajon Rondo’s line: 44pts, 10ast, 8reb.
Were we treated to glimpses of what Rondo has in store once this Big 3 era comes to an end?
In recent years Rajon has legitimately become a star. Proven himself more than enough that he is the best player on this talent filled Celtics roster, which does happen to include future HOF beasts Allen, Pierce, & Garnett.
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