Paul Pierce has always been the alpha dog in Boston. When Antoine stole the headlines, Pierce was busy doin' work. When Garnett and Allen came to town, Pierce still held the top dog title and delivered as the Finals MVP.
Now Rajon Rondo is the emerging face of the Boston Celtics and there's one small problem with that. Paul Pierce has never been asked to be a support player before. Garnett's main focus is defense and is happy to take whatever shots naturally come his way. Ray runs through picks all day long and if he's open (even for an instant) he expects to get the ball and it behooves the team to get him the ball. Neither one carries the load offensively like Pierce has. Rondo, on the other hand, has to walk a fine line when it comes to "being more aggressive."
In the days past, Rondo's role was to set up the stars. That's fine, but lately they need his help more. So Rondo's being encouraged to "be aggressive." So that means holding onto the ball and looking for his own scoring opportunities more. That might be taking Pierce out of his game. On the flipside, when Pierce is playing his game, it might be forcing Rondo back into his old "distribute and watch" ways.
It appears as though if one is in attack/create mode, the other falls into sit-back-and-watch mode. In the eight games Rondo missed, Pierce attempted 30 percent more shots at the rim. In the six games Rondo has exceeded 15 points, the Celtics point guard has attempted 93 percent more shots at the rim.
It's important to note the Celtics are 0-3 without Pierce and 6-2 in Rondo's absence. Is that to say the Celtics are better without Rondo? Absolutely not. They just haven't figured out how to maximize the impact of one player entering his prime and another entering the so-called twilight of his career. When one's been hot, the other's not.
I hope they can figure this out, since the two are the main pieces left on contract past this year (barring a big trade). I support the efforts of getting Rondo to be more aggressive, but we also need Pierce to stay in attack mode as well. How they do that, exactly, is a challenge for Doc to figure out.