Danny Ainge himself, on 2 different interviews, made the statement that Rajon Rondo is our best player. That is an amazing progression for the guy that was at best the 4th best player on the Celtics when they won their title in 2008.
"The way he played last year in the playoffs was, I thought, pretty incredible," Ainge said. "He proved he’s the best player on the team and he’s earned the respect of his teammates and coaches. That’s a big step. We’re excited for him this year." Just in case anyone missed it, Ainge went on WEEI's Mut & Merloni and repeated the assertion with a little more context.
"What you saw in the playoffs is what we've known for a little while about Rajon, is Rajon," Ainge said. "A lot of people will say Rajon's had success because he's had three superstars and Hall-of-Famers playing with him, and what we saw in the playoffs is that Rajon's the best player on the team. Even the game that Paul [Pierce] fouls out, Rajon goes and scores nine straight points and was more aggressive where he probably wouldn't have been that aggressive had Paul still been on the court.
I think what Ainge is saying here is that we haven't even seen the best individual performances out of Rajon yet because he's been focused on the team doing well - which often means allowing Hall of Fame players to shine in their own right.
Still, we can't let that comment go without giving it one last offseason debate. Is Rondo the best player on the Celtics? Or is it Kevin Garnett?
Ainge, in both interviews, is referring to the playoffs. Even then, we'd probably go with Kevin Garnett, and his ability to change the game defensively while adding an efficient touch offensively. Perhaps Ainge expects KG to fall off a bit in the time between last spring's Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat and the start of the season one month from now. Or, perhaps, Ainge expects Rondo to step in and act like it's the playoffs in November.
I think at worst it is a 1a and 1b debate. Those two are the straws that stir this drink and I just hope they stir up enough wins to bring us another Banner.