Rajon Rondo latest Celtic to deflect praise to teammates

Saturday, December 12, 2009

If you're like me, you've noticed a trend this season of Boston Celtics players deflecting credit to anyone but themselves. Just yesterday, it was Ray Allen's turn, giving teammates and coaches credit for a lot of his 20,000 points. If you listen to Ray, it would seem as though he only score a couple thousand points by himself; his teammates scored the rest of his 20,000.

But Rajon Rondo has always seemed cocky and a little bit aloof. If there was one Celtic who wouldn't buy into the notion that his teammates were a large part of his success, it would probably be Rajon. He seems like the kind of guy you'd want to go to war with, but only because he's always got a chip on his shoulder. He doesn't exactly strike anyone (And by "anyone", I mean "me". You know, the voice of the people.) as a selfless, egoless individual who would praise somebody else for his success.

Apparently, though, Rondo's been struck by a wave of Ubuntu. Two stories today, one in the Globe and another in the Herald, show Rondo acting as Ubuntu-ish as any Celtic has this season.

The first one, via the Globe:
“I’m pretty confident right now, offensively and defensively,’’ he said. “The floor seems so spaced. I’ve got the greatest players in the world playing with me. The floor is so wide open and with as great players as I’m playing with, when they don’t help off of those guys I get to drive and get layups. And if they do, I pick them apart, getting the ball to my teammates.’’
I'm glad Rondo recognizes the impact of the C's other stars on his game. Even without them, I'm sure Rondo would be putting up great numbers; after all, he has innate talents like unbelievable court vision and poise to go along with his world-class athletic ability. But with Boston's other stars, it's a lot easier. They open up the floor for Rondo, making it easy for him to dart his way to the basket, or pick up an assist on a pass to an open shooter.

For instance, teams would sag off most power forwards in the NBA. If Kevin Garnett weren't such a deadly shooter from the outside, Rondo wouldn't have nearly as much space to get into the paint and make plays. And when they do sag off Garnett, Rondo can just whip him a pass and the scorekeeper might as well start notching up the assist almost before KG even shoots it. Without Garnett's -- and the other Celtics' -- talents, Rondo would still be a rising-star point guard. It just wouldn't be so easy, so effortless.

But it isn't just the stars Rondo's giving credit to. He's now giving credit for his improved finishing and ballhandling to... Lester Hudson?

Here's what Rondo has to say about playing Hudson one-on-one before games. (Via the Herald):
“I think it’s starting to help me a lot finishing on the break and making my one-on-one moves, and especially with my ballhandling,” said Rondo, who broke out with a team-high 21 points in Thursday’s win in Washington. “You know, I always thought I was a great ballhandler, but one-on-one you can get real crafty and creative with it. He helps me a lot. I love playing one-on-one before the games with him.

“I can’t have the same moves. I have to have different moves when I play against Lester. He gets me going before the game, helping me finish shots. He’s a physical player. He’s about 6-(foot)-3 and he has long arms and he’s a big, strong guard, so I love playing against him every game. It kind of gets me going.”
I get the feeling Rondo is in the Christmas spirit. And also that he took a trip to Who-Ville and his heart expanded to three times its normal size. I just think he forgot to give credit to Kendrick Perkins' wife for his free throw shooting.

Really, though, I think it's just that he's maturing, and is realizing how lucky he is to be in such a cushy situation.

Without such great teammates, Rondo would still be a great point guard. But things wouldn't be so easy.

And he wouldn't have a ring.


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