Does Rondo have the right focus this season? Time will tell.
Remember this quote from Doc?
I thought we had a lot of different agendas. Guys were looking out for their own situations more than the team situation. That came through all year. It was never anything really big, but it was there all year. You could see it in little things, and I think when you take it as a whole it really had an effect on our season.
It seems like Adrian Wojnarowski has shed at least some light on what some of Doc's concern was about:
Rondo appeared to want his teammates to air out complaints in the early evening of April 14, but it rapidly deteriorated into a grievance session that had the uncomfortable vibe of the young guys against the Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. For some Celtics, there was a sense that Rondo had prodded the younger teammates to speak out on the tough-love tactics of the vets.
Rondo never vented, but one teammate who had challenged K.G. later confessed privately that he wished he had never spoken up, that he didn’t even believe the whiny words tumbling out of his mouth. Rondo insists he had the best of intentions, and yet there’s no mistaking the fact the meeting served to widen a gulf between him and his older teammates.
Doc goes on to say that the meeting was a mistake, serving little purpose other than negatively affecting team chemistry. However, Doc says that this pre-season, Rondo has been "phenomenal" in terms of both his play and leadership. Still, one wonders if its events like the one above that caused Doc and Danny to both call Rondo out this off-season.
The team has been reluctant to give Rondo an extension this off-season, reportedly worried that he wouldn't handle a big extension well. Wojo reports that there was a sense that Rondo wanted it to be the "Big 4", and that both front office personnel and teammates had an issue with his attitude. That leaves Celtics fans with a question: is Rondo too concerned about being "the man"? Was his recent admission that he gave up proper defensive position and allowed his man to get by him so that he could gets steals a sign that he cared more about statistics and making flashy plays than he cared about making the smart play?
The good thing is that Rondo is saying all the right things this pre-season, and he has responded to Doc's and Danny's criticism well. In order for this team to get back to the Finals, they're going to need a full commitment from every player to put the team first. Rondo admits "I’ve got to mature a little more." Let's hope that process accelerates, for the good of the team.
UPDATE: For an extensive further look at some of these issues -- including Rondo's problems last season with his teammates -- see Ric Bucher's Insider article.
Editor's Note: Jeff wrote about this maturity issue back in June (just in case you can't get enough of this Rondo talk)