After a full year of Rondo and the backups by committee, I'm still getting used to seeing Sam I Am out there on the court. I can't help but think of the phrase: "he gives you a different look" because Sam is the anti-Rondo.
Rajon is a 2nd year guy and Sam's got hundreds of years of experience. Rajon is a pass first guy while Sam is a shoot first, second, and probably third kind of guy. Rajon is one of the best defenders in the league while Sam is still learning where to stand in Thibbodeau's schemes. Rajon's personality is a peaceful stream while Sam's is a white water rapid.
None of this is intended to be a criticism of Cassell. He is what he is and he's won Championships and turned bad franchises around with his style. He's a very, very valuable piece to this puzzle. In fact, if you ask me, I think the glaring contrasts between Rondo and Cassell work in our favor.
It has the effect of giving our offense a different look and changing the pace. Think about the days when Tim Wakefield takes the mound, with that fluttering knuckleball that frustrates hitters for most of the day. When he's replaced by a flamethrowing reliever, the hitters have to make a huge adjustment. Ok, it isn't exactly like that (I know, stick to basketball Jeff), but you get the idea.
For instance, if a team used to fighting under the pick when Rondo has the ball (daring him to shoot - not always the best strategy, but it is the best they've come up with so far) the defender has to remember to fight over the pick when Sam is in the game, or he'll make them pay with open three pointers.
Sometimes the Celtics need a different look when one strategy isn't working. Or if one look is working, and you really want to confuse the other team's defense, sometimes throwing a different look at them mixes them up even more.
Of course the flipside is that you could upset your own team's rhythm and flow and let the other defense get back into the game. But that is what we have superstars for; to overcome those situations and to make it work. It is also up to Doc to make sure that the right combinations are on the court at the right moments.
Sam I Am is a different sort of cat, in more ways than one. The contrast between him and Rondo seems to be an effective combination. Sam gives us a different look and so far it is looking good.