Add 'mentor' to the long list of ways to describe Rajon Rondo
Confirming what we all want to believe and all know to be true, Rajon Rondo will be a huge contributor to the Boston Celtics this year. While not yet ready to play, Rondo has taken on the role of mentor to Celtics rookies Phil Pressey and Kammron Taylor. Despite the Grand Canyon sized gap in experience, Rondo's approach to helping his team prepare for the season is as level as it gets - point guard to point guard.
As rookies, Pressey and Taylor are bogged down with learning the ins and outs of life in The Association. As rookies on the Celtics, they're playing in the shadow of a player widely considered to be one of the best point guards in the game today, the franchise player for Boston, and the last member of the 2008 Championship team.
Despite the difference in experience and paths to professional basketball, their goals remain the same- strengthening the core of the Celtics and putting the best team possible on the floor.
"He’s welcomed me with open arms," said Taylor. "I think him being a veteran in the league, a point guard – the most important position on the floor – he just wants to make sure all the point guards, myself, Pressey, know the offense since we’re new in the NBA."
While there are only a few years between Rondo and Pressey, Pressey grew up watching Rondo develop through his father's time as an assistant coach for the Celtics.
"[The first time he offered me advice] was pretty cool," said Pressey. "He teaches me how to control the game, what I should be doing on the offensive end, how to run the plays. Every little thing I do, he’s in my ear trying to tell me the right thing to do."
Taylor is in a much different boat. As a 29 year old rookie, he's older than Rondo, but less experienced with the NBA style of play. After a few years of playing in Europe, his challenge is to adapt to a different system all together by unlearning and relearning.
"Coming in, I just wanted to pick his brain a little bit and see how he’s become one of the top point guards in the league," said Taylor. "If I’m not calling out the plays, [he is] making sure me being the point guard knowing where the other four players should be on the floor. He’s pointing it out to me during practice, yelling at me while I’m practicing or if I’m on the sidelines. It’s not in a negative way; it’s just critiquing and doing what a leader should do."
Along with the Celtics fans worldwide, Taylor and Pressey are anxious for Rondo to get back on the court. Until then, they are soaking up as much knowledge as possible and getting a master class in what it takes to succeed not only in the NBA, but as a part of the Celtics.
Source: Jessica Camerato; CSNNE.com