I want to introduce myself. My name is Daniel--- I am a LONG TIME avid Celticsblog reader and follower (seriously, for years I am constantly checking Celticsblog throughout the day hoping for some new articles). I always greatly enjoy reading all of the articles AND I thoroughly enjoy all of the comments as well; the passion and basketball knowledge that is discussed on this blog truly is amazing. This my first of what I hope to be many posts... for now I am just trying to procrastinate and avoid studying, even though I got like 5 more days left of college. WHATEVER, that is neither here nor there. I just wanted to introduce myself... but now I'll get to my point.
We can all agree that Rondo, at this point in his career is NOT what most what would consider a great or even good shooter. While we love and are in awe of virtually every other aspect of his game, this is time and time again pointed to as the biggest short coming in his game. Its why we've had to endure had to endure trade rondo rumors every off season and leading up to the trade deadline for the past 5 years. [To quickly digress and address this issue, as much as I LOVE rondo and truly believe that he is one of the most fascinating and uniquely talented players the NBA has ever seen, I also think the question of whether we can build the Celtics in the post big 3 era around him is a very valid question. I would HATE to see him go, but he still has a lot he needs to be prove and improve upon in order to be the cornerstone of our franchise moving forward. After all, this is Boston, where Championship banner is the ONLY currency by which greatness is measured, and I am not sure that a below-average shooing point guard, when he isn't surrounded by 3 hall of fame bound players who, in spite of their age continue to be great shooters, is enough to lead us to the promised land. However, that is another discussion for another day.]
And while we all hope that Rondo's career trajectory is similar to that of Jason Kidd, another great point guard who, when he came into the league was not a great shooter, but has worked tirelessly and diligently throughout his career to improve his shooting immensely, to the point that he is currently number 3 (did I get that right??) all time in 3-pointers, we can all agree that at least at this point, Rondo is NOWHERE close to that. However, after watching Rondo closely for the last 6 years, one thing that we can't dispute in that Rondo is tough as nails, and he routinely plays best when during the playoffs, when the lights are brightest, when the whole world is watching, and when the stakes get BIG (I'm sorry, I couldn't using that NBA playoff promotional tagline).
Now, I am only 25 years, and being that (relatively) young, I didn't have the honor and privilege of watching those
great Celtics teams of the 1980's, led by the original big three of Larry Bird, the Chief, and Kevin McHale. However, I
am a student of the game, I love learning about the great and illustrious history of our Celtics, and after watching
Rondo swish not 1 but 2 mid range jumpers late in the 4th quarter of game 1 of this series to help us come back and
win andgame that we really had no business winning, I couldn't help but think of another great Celtics point guard
who had a knack for coming up in big in the clutch... DJ. I am sure that many of us are familiar with Larry Bird's
famous line about DJ, calling him the best player he ever played with. Taking nothing away from DJ and all of his
great accomplishments during in his Hall of Fame Career, given that Larry Legend also played with two other Hall of
Famers who are Universally regarded as 2 of the 50 greatest players to ever play the game, this statement is truly remarkable.
Now like I said, I never watched DJ live, but from all that I read and heard about him, he, like Rondo, was a moody player, and sort of an enigma. I remember reading about how Larry would sometimes get frustrated with DJ as he didn't necessarily always "bring it" during practice, and he didn't always play hard for 48 minutes (sound familiar??), especially during the regular season. But like all great players, DJ had a knack for elevating his game when it mattered most. From all I that I've heard and read about DJ, he wasn't considered a great shooter... But even if he was 1 for 8, or 1-10, or 2-12, time and again he would hit the big shots in the 4th quarter. He wanted the ball in his hands, and over the years his teammates began to appreciate this quality around him-- he grittiness and his ability to step up and hit the shot when his team needed it, even if he wasn't the greatest shooter. Watching the Celtics this past Saturday night, that quality stood out about Rondo. Despite his triple double statline (which as this point has become so routine, especially during the playoffs, that it really doesn't even impress me much anymore... I've sort of come to expect it from him), I would argue that for the most part Rondo played like crap for the first 3 quarters. He looked lazy on defense, routinely getting blown past by Lou Williams, Dru Holliday, and Evan Turner. And unlike game 4 of the Hawks series, his jumper was NOT falling for most of the night. But like all great players, Rondo stepped up big in the 4th quarter, and drilled two clutch shots that helped us come back and a steal a game we had no business winning. Strangely (or maybe not, I don't know), as poor of a shooter as Rondo is, I EXPECTED him to hit those shots, and wasn't the least bit surprised to see those clutch jump shots go in. So all you older Celtics fans, I ask you, what do you think of this Rondo to DJ comparison?? Am I wrong??Is there anything you'd like to add or disagree with? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the comparison and this article! Thanks so much!