Celtics star point guard Rajon Rondo may not be the easiest guy to get along with.
While often called one of the smartest players basketball-wise in the NBA, there are more than a couple warts on the resume of No. 9. He's moody, takes games off, bumps into refs, gets into fights on the court and can be a handful to coach. With former Butler coach Brad Stevens taking the reigns from Doc Rivers, radio play-by-play guy Sean Grande thinks at least that last issue could be resolved.
CBS Boston transcribed Grande's discussion with Toucher and Rich Tuesday.
As a lifelong holder of minority opinion, I will add this one to the mix: I think people are vastly underrating Rondo’s interest in playing for a different coach. For his entire NBA career, there has always been at some level a clash between two headstrong individuals in Rondo and Doc Rivers,” Grande told Toucher & Rich. “As great a coach as Doc Rivers is, and his track record is his track record, maybe Rondo needed a different voice. Maybe there is a potential for two young guys who view things differently than most of the rest of the world does to have a really good coach-point guard relationship.
“What’s exciting about the season is all the directions it could go. But to me, everyone is not realizing when the weight of a relationship that was strained at times goes out the window and you’re starting from scratch with somebody new.”
Rondo and Rivers not getting along is not news. Sure, Rivers hugged Rondo after the game Rondo was diagnosed with a torn ACL this last season, so the two must have some fondness for each other after spending so many years together. But there are too many reports of Rivers and Rondo butting heads not to buy into it. Way too much smoke to not have any fire.
As for the Stevens hiring being a good thing for Rondo, the only way Rondo will be happy with his coach is if the coach steps out of the way and lets Rondo do what he wants. Rondo wants more of a doormat instead of a real coach. There is a saying that "ignorance is bliss" and Rondo would prefer his coach to be plenty ignorant for Rondo's own bliss. It just goes hand in hand with the high basketball IQ Rondo possesses.
Rondo knows what he's doing, for better or worse, and he'll be damned if someone else is going to tell him different. That's the major reason Rivers and Rondo just didn't jive when it came to play calls. Rivers played point guard in the NBA and knows the position. He knows what he wants out of his players and expects them to go along.
So yes, if Stevens steps out of the way and focuses his energy on the other four positions on the floor, Rondo and Stevens will get along swimmingly. If not and Stevens tries to change Rondo's game to fit his system, expect one of the two, Rondo or Stevens, to be gone in short order. Having clashes between a coach and a player are manageable when you're winning, not so much during a rebuild.
@ericblaisdell13 Eric Blaisdell 9/24/2013 08:37:00 PM Tweet