Dear Rajon Rondo,
You hold the future of this team in your hands.
That may sound a tad dramatic, but it's true. Your decision on when to come back from tearing your ACL will have an impact on the Celtics for the next six or seven years.
As you already know, this team is fresh off it's ninth straight loss and has dropped 12 of its last 13, but it's not all bad. This team is also firmly planted as one of the five worst teams in the league and sits in a coveted spot to land one of the five projected studs in the upcoming draft. The worst thing for this team right now is to go on a winning streak.
Now, I've been very critical of you in the past, even calling for Danny Ainge to trade you for assets to help along the rebuild. But the way this team is playing, I'm starting to change my tune. Avery Bradley has really stepped up his offensive game in your absence and Jared Sullinger looks like a legit starting power forward in the league. Sure, the team is losing, but barring a couple blowouts, they have been very competitive all year thanks in large part to coach Brad Stevens. A core of you, Bradley, Sullinger and one of those top five picks with Stevens on the sideline would make this team competitive again in short order.
No one likes losing. Players, coaches and fans all hate it. Your a competitive guy and I'm sure it's no fun to sit on the bench and watch this team lose night after night. Problem is, winning does nothing for this team right now. The team is not built to win now and Ainge affirmed this when he traded Courtney Lee, a guy who can help win games today, for an expiring contract.
You've said before that you're not an emotional guy, so I'm going to play to your pragmatic side. The East is a joke this year. Even though the Celtics are at the bottom of the standings, they are still only three games behind the Knicks for the final playoff spot. You are a great player and one of the best point guards in the league. As such, it's not too hard to fathom that with you this team will win more games than without you. It wouldn't take too many wins to get up into the playoff hunt. But to what end?
What does this team gain by making an ill-fated playoff run? Getting the young guys playoff experience is nice, but is that really worth losing out on a top talent in the draft? Bringing in one of those top recruits will certainly help you win a title more than a good, but not great player the team would draft outside the top 10. Whether or not any of the guys in the draft will turn into the next LeBron James or Kevin Durant is yet to be seen, but history shows the vast majority of great players in the game are drafted high. It's a much safer bet than hoping a guy picked in the teens will pan out. Yes, Bradley and Sullinger were picked in the teens, but they both were projected to go much higher until injuries sent their stock plummeting. Banking on that happening a third time is a much bigger gamble than picking in the top five.
I know that you've hinted that you may come back this week, but please Rondo, hold off your comeback. Let this team lose a few more games until you come back and start winning games again. I'm not saying sit out the whole season, although I wouldn't hate that decision either. Just wait until closer to the All-Star break. Take a couple extra weeks to really make sure that knee is good and you are 100 percent ready to go. Let Bradley and Sullinger continue to develop while further cementing their place for a top draft pick. It'll make a ton of difference going forward.
In the end, it's up to you Rondo. You hold the future of the team in your hands.
@ericblaisdell13 Eric Blaisdell 1/14/2014 11:00:00 AM Tweet Edit