Author Topic: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?  (Read 3029 times)

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What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« on: December 17, 2012, 10:28:28 PM »

Offline PhoSita

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By a number of metrics, Rondo is having his best season yet.  That makes sense, because Rondo is just about to enter his prime.  Barring injury, it's safe to assume that Rondo will play at this level for another few years, if not longer.

If that's the case, though, how do we reconcile that with how poorly the team has been playing?  As clear as it is that Rondo is having his best (statistical) season yet, it's also clear the the Celtics are at best a somewhat above average team.  Perhaps twenty three games is a small sample, but it isn't THAT small. 

The Celtics are neither elite offensively nor elite defensively.  Aside from offensive rebounding, they aren't terrible at anything, but they don't have a strong identity in any particular area.  That's translated to a record that's barely above .500, and no sustained stretches of excellence (they haven't won more than three games in a row yet this season).

Rondo is arguably one of the best 10-15 players in the league, and over the past few years he's really vindicated himself against the people who have doubted his ability to rise up and carry the team in key moments, particular in the playoffs.  The Celtics have a key roster-building advantage over a number of teams because they have a player like Rondo to build around.

But in light of how the team has played so far this year, even as Rondo has been so productive, I can't help but question the idea that putting a decent, talented supporting cast around Rondo will necessarily result in a 45-50 win season and a solid chance at being competitive in the playoffs.  The roster around Rondo this year is either far less talented than it appears to be on paper, terribly mismatched, or severely underperforming.  If either of the latter two options is the case, then despite Rondo's performance, he has failed to elevate the players around him to a high level of play. 

In this respect his season differs from seasons that great passing point guards have had in the past, when guys like Jason Kidd and Steve Nash have turned teams mostly comprised of specialists and role players into highly efficient units (either on defense or offense, if not both).  Heck, Jason Kidd seems to be having an almost inexplicable positive effect on the Knicks this season even at age 40.  So far there isn't much evidence that Rondo's prolific passing is making his teammates better.

So does that mean Rondo should be traded?  I'm not suggesting that, although I'm sure considering it much more than I would have at the start of the season.  For one thing, Rondo's value will never be higher than it is now.  He still has a couple years left on his contract, and once he hits his next deal, he'll go from being a major bargain (at $11 million per year), to a fairly paid max or near-max player ($15 million per year +++).  On the other hand, unless there's a superstar or great young player available for trade, it would be hard to get any kind of fair value for Rondo unless the goal of a trade was simply to bottom out and play the lottery, which is obviously a very unappealing prospect.
Quote from: BBallTim
Parker isn't going to score 30 ppg and rebuilds generally take longer than 1 year. Relax.

Re: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2012, 10:34:25 PM »

Offline BballTim

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  Maybe we should trade him for Dwight Howard, he's got Kobe on his team and they're in worse shape than we are.

Re: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2012, 10:41:46 PM »

Offline PhoSita

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  Maybe we should trade him for Dwight Howard, he's got Kobe on his team and they're in worse shape than we are.

I think the Lakers are a resounding, neon-bright example of the truism that it is impossible to succeed in this league without a legitimate point guard.  As mediocre as Derek Fisher was statistically, he still had an intangible, steadying quality, and he worked in that triangle system.  Without the triangle, and without a legitimate point guard to run the offense, the Lakers are horribly inconsistent.  On top of that, though Dwight is putting up career average numbers, he's obviously not 100% defensively, and Kobe is exerting too much energy on offense to put in full effort defensively.  Add that to the fact that D'Antoni is the coach, and you've got a team that's pretty mediocre defensively.

Despite that, the Lakers are still top 10 in both offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency -- something the Celtics cannot boast -- and they have more wide-margin wins than the Celtics do.  There's evidence to suggest that as bad as the Lakers have been, they should improve a lot as the season goes on -- and that doesn't even take into account that Steve Nash should be coming back at some point, and if he's healthy he could majorly improve their offense, though he won't help their defense.

To put it a bit more simply, right now the Lakers are a very poorly constructed team with no depth.  Can the same be said of the Celtics?  Bottom line, I don't think there's a fair comparison to be drawn between the Celtics and the Lakers.  The Celtics don't have any of the excuses that the Lakers have.
Quote from: BBallTim
Parker isn't going to score 30 ppg and rebuilds generally take longer than 1 year. Relax.

Re: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2012, 11:06:51 PM »

Offline ianboyextreme

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I though the trade Rondo threads were over. Like, really over. Like never coming back. Like, even if we lose they are as dead as a doorknob. We are not losing games because of Rajon Rondo. Period. We are losing games because our defense has been bad.

Re: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2012, 11:10:52 PM »

Offline RJ87

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I don't think its fair to judge Rondo against how the team is performing. The cold facts: after Rondo, are 3 most important players (Paul, KG, and JET) are 35+. Paul at 35 years old is more suited to be a 2nd or 3rd option on a championship caliber team, not the primary scoring weapon. KG is still very effective, but only if he's logging 28-30 mins a game.

Now when you start to look at the youth on our roster (Green, Bass, Lee, Sullinger, Wilcox), they're not stars, they're just role players. IMO, Rondo has made guys like Bass and Wilcox look fantastic - especially Bass last season. This season, Bass, Lee, and Green just haven't been locked in 100%. Rondo can pass those guys the ball in their spots thousands of times, but is it his fault that Lee & Bass brick open jumper after wide open jumper? Is it his fault that Green passes the ball back out instead of attacking the rim?

As I see it, Rondo is holding up his end of the bargain this season. There are just some things this team needs (a younger primary scorer, another big man to protect the paint - especially with KG out, Kendrick Perkin's passion/toughness transplanted into Jeff Green) that Rondo can't provide.
Quote
Ainge had mentioned he expects Rondo to get paid 'star money.' On that subject, Rondo said, 'I'm making star money now, really. Its a pretty good living. I'll let my agent handle those terms.'

You have to be good before you can be great. Build a team instead of tearing it down.

Re: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2012, 11:37:57 PM »

Offline ScottHow

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I think it says he's having a career year, when everyone else is declining. No one can do it alone.

Re: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2012, 11:49:16 PM »

Offline PhoSita

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I though the trade Rondo threads were over. Like, really over. Like never coming back. Like, even if we lose they are as dead as a doorknob. We are not losing games because of Rajon Rondo. Period. We are losing games because our defense has been bad.

Not totally disagreeing with you -- nor, I hope you'll notice, am I saying WE NEED TO TRADE RONDO NOWWW -- but to play devil's advocate, our offense is not elite, either.  In fact, our offense is worse than our defense.  Despite having a great passing point guard, we have a decidedly average offense. 

Hard to argue that Rondo is making up for that by playing elite defense, either, though he is getting a fair amount of steals.
Quote from: BBallTim
Parker isn't going to score 30 ppg and rebuilds generally take longer than 1 year. Relax.

Re: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2012, 11:52:25 PM »

Offline PhoSita

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I don't think its fair to judge Rondo against how the team is performing. The cold facts: after Rondo, are 3 most important players (Paul, KG, and JET) are 35+. Paul at 35 years old is more suited to be a 2nd or 3rd option on a championship caliber team, not the primary scoring weapon. KG is still very effective, but only if he's logging 28-30 mins a game.

Now when you start to look at the youth on our roster (Green, Bass, Lee, Sullinger, Wilcox), they're not stars, they're just role players. IMO, Rondo has made guys like Bass and Wilcox look fantastic - especially Bass last season. This season, Bass, Lee, and Green just haven't been locked in 100%. Rondo can pass those guys the ball in their spots thousands of times, but is it his fault that Lee & Bass brick open jumper after wide open jumper? Is it his fault that Green passes the ball back out instead of attacking the rim?

As I see it, Rondo is holding up his end of the bargain this season. There are just some things this team needs (a younger primary scorer, another big man to protect the paint - especially with KG out, Kendrick Perkin's passion/toughness transplanted into Jeff Green) that Rondo can't provide.

While I completely agree with you that Pierce, KG, and Terry are each too old to be the #1 offensive option (they're all good enough to be the #2 or #3, though), even at their age they are still better offensive options than the vast majority of young, in their prime scorers in the league.

If you're looking for offensive players significantly better than Pierce, KG, or Terry, you're starting to talk about young guys who are stars and who will get max contracts.  How realistic is it to expect the Celtics to get a player (or players) like that to put next to Rondo?
Quote from: BBallTim
Parker isn't going to score 30 ppg and rebuilds generally take longer than 1 year. Relax.

Re: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2012, 12:24:53 AM »

Offline RJ87

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I don't think its fair to judge Rondo against how the team is performing. The cold facts: after Rondo, are 3 most important players (Paul, KG, and JET) are 35+. Paul at 35 years old is more suited to be a 2nd or 3rd option on a championship caliber team, not the primary scoring weapon. KG is still very effective, but only if he's logging 28-30 mins a game.

Now when you start to look at the youth on our roster (Green, Bass, Lee, Sullinger, Wilcox), they're not stars, they're just role players. IMO, Rondo has made guys like Bass and Wilcox look fantastic - especially Bass last season. This season, Bass, Lee, and Green just haven't been locked in 100%. Rondo can pass those guys the ball in their spots thousands of times, but is it his fault that Lee & Bass brick open jumper after wide open jumper? Is it his fault that Green passes the ball back out instead of attacking the rim?

As I see it, Rondo is holding up his end of the bargain this season. There are just some things this team needs (a younger primary scorer, another big man to protect the paint - especially with KG out, Kendrick Perkin's passion/toughness transplanted into Jeff Green) that Rondo can't provide.

While I completely agree with you that Pierce, KG, and Terry are each too old to be the #1 offensive option (they're all good enough to be the #2 or #3, though), even at their age they are still better offensive options than the vast majority of young, in their prime scorers in the league.

If you're looking for offensive players significantly better than Pierce, KG, or Terry, you're starting to talk about young guys who are stars and who will get max contracts.  How realistic is it to expect the Celtics to get a player (or players) like that to put next to Rondo?

And this where the truth comes to light - if we can't get another near max caliber guy, can the Celtics be legitimate title contenders instead of just another middle of the pack playoff team? Look, I'd love to buy into the fantasy that Rondo + the 35 and over trio + a cast role players can get the C's an 18 banner, but I don't think this team is underperforming as severly as some think - it was always an miniscule shot that we'd be the dominant team of years past. I thought after this offseason that we would be an entertaining team to watch, we'd make the playoffs as a top 4 seed, but wouldn't have enough to beat Miami. In the 2012/2013 version of the NBA, you need another high impact player to truly compete for a title.
Quote
Ainge had mentioned he expects Rondo to get paid 'star money.' On that subject, Rondo said, 'I'm making star money now, really. Its a pretty good living. I'll let my agent handle those terms.'

You have to be good before you can be great. Build a team instead of tearing it down.

Re: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2012, 01:30:12 AM »

Offline PhoSita

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I don't think its fair to judge Rondo against how the team is performing. The cold facts: after Rondo, are 3 most important players (Paul, KG, and JET) are 35+. Paul at 35 years old is more suited to be a 2nd or 3rd option on a championship caliber team, not the primary scoring weapon. KG is still very effective, but only if he's logging 28-30 mins a game.

Now when you start to look at the youth on our roster (Green, Bass, Lee, Sullinger, Wilcox), they're not stars, they're just role players. IMO, Rondo has made guys like Bass and Wilcox look fantastic - especially Bass last season. This season, Bass, Lee, and Green just haven't been locked in 100%. Rondo can pass those guys the ball in their spots thousands of times, but is it his fault that Lee & Bass brick open jumper after wide open jumper? Is it his fault that Green passes the ball back out instead of attacking the rim?

As I see it, Rondo is holding up his end of the bargain this season. There are just some things this team needs (a younger primary scorer, another big man to protect the paint - especially with KG out, Kendrick Perkin's passion/toughness transplanted into Jeff Green) that Rondo can't provide.

While I completely agree with you that Pierce, KG, and Terry are each too old to be the #1 offensive option (they're all good enough to be the #2 or #3, though), even at their age they are still better offensive options than the vast majority of young, in their prime scorers in the league.

If you're looking for offensive players significantly better than Pierce, KG, or Terry, you're starting to talk about young guys who are stars and who will get max contracts.  How realistic is it to expect the Celtics to get a player (or players) like that to put next to Rondo?

And this where the truth comes to light - if we can't get another near max caliber guy, can the Celtics be legitimate title contenders instead of just another middle of the pack playoff team? Look, I'd love to buy into the fantasy that Rondo + the 35 and over trio + a cast role players can get the C's an 18 banner, but I don't think this team is underperforming as severly as some think - it was always an miniscule shot that we'd be the dominant team of years past. I thought after this offseason that we would be an entertaining team to watch, we'd make the playoffs as a top 4 seed, but wouldn't have enough to beat Miami. In the 2012/2013 version of the NBA, you need another high impact player to truly compete for a title.

I'm on board with you.  I guess what I'm getting at here is -- are we in for the same deal as long as Rondo is our key guy?  Put another way, is this season going to more or less represent the status quo for the next 4-5+ years, similar to those teams built around Pierce and Walker? 

Are the 2012-2013 Celtics a lot closer to the 01-02 / 02-03 / 04-05 versions than the 09-10 / 10-11 / 11-12 versions (won't even mention the 07-08 and 08-09 versions)?
Quote from: BBallTim
Parker isn't going to score 30 ppg and rebuilds generally take longer than 1 year. Relax.

Re: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2012, 01:33:24 AM »

Offline ianboyextreme

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I though the trade Rondo threads were over. Like, really over. Like never coming back. Like, even if we lose they are as dead as a doorknob. We are not losing games because of Rajon Rondo. Period. We are losing games because our defense has been bad.

Not totally disagreeing with you -- nor, I hope you'll notice, am I saying WE NEED TO TRADE RONDO NOWWW -- but to play devil's advocate, our offense is not elite, either.  In fact, our offense is worse than our defense.  Despite having a great passing point guard, we have a decidedly average offense. 

Hard to argue that Rondo is making up for that by playing elite defense, either, though he is getting a fair amount of steals.
I know your not saying that but I have seen many people say Rondo isnt truly great because we are not an elite offense. Most teams get a lot of points on offensive boards which we forfeit because of our defensive philosophy (which I agree with). The way to really see what Rondo does for our offense is to look at our fg% as a team which is over 50%.


Re: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2012, 01:34:41 AM »

Offline PhoSita

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I though the trade Rondo threads were over. Like, really over. Like never coming back. Like, even if we lose they are as dead as a doorknob. We are not losing games because of Rajon Rondo. Period. We are losing games because our defense has been bad.

Not totally disagreeing with you -- nor, I hope you'll notice, am I saying WE NEED TO TRADE RONDO NOWWW -- but to play devil's advocate, our offense is not elite, either.  In fact, our offense is worse than our defense.  Despite having a great passing point guard, we have a decidedly average offense. 

Hard to argue that Rondo is making up for that by playing elite defense, either, though he is getting a fair amount of steals.
I know your not saying that but I have seen many people say Rondo isnt truly great because we are not an elite offense. Most teams get a lot of points on offensive boards which we forfeit because of our defensive philosophy (which I agree with). He does, however, get the team incredible looks which is why we shoot over 50% from the field as a team.

The looks Rondo gets our guys tend to be the lowest percentage looks in the game, though -- mid-range shots.

I guess it's fair to wonder how our offense would look if we surrounded Rondo with guys who shoot threes, and a few more guys like Wilcox who shoot 60-70% within 5-10 feet.


As for the point I was just making, looking through the Celtics teams of the last 10-12 years or so, you know what team this one reminds me of so far?

The 2004-2005 team.

Payton - Davis - Pierce - Walker - LaFraentz / Blount.

Won 45 games and lost in 7 games in the 1st round to the Pacers.
Quote from: BBallTim
Parker isn't going to score 30 ppg and rebuilds generally take longer than 1 year. Relax.

Re: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2012, 03:21:32 AM »

Offline ianboyextreme

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I though the trade Rondo threads were over. Like, really over. Like never coming back. Like, even if we lose they are as dead as a doorknob. We are not losing games because of Rajon Rondo. Period. We are losing games because our defense has been bad.

Not totally disagreeing with you -- nor, I hope you'll notice, am I saying WE NEED TO TRADE RONDO NOWWW -- but to play devil's advocate, our offense is not elite, either.  In fact, our offense is worse than our defense.  Despite having a great passing point guard, we have a decidedly average offense. 

Hard to argue that Rondo is making up for that by playing elite defense, either, though he is getting a fair amount of steals.
I know your not saying that but I have seen many people say Rondo isnt truly great because we are not an elite offense. Most teams get a lot of points on offensive boards which we forfeit because of our defensive philosophy (which I agree with). He does, however, get the team incredible looks which is why we shoot over 50% from the field as a team.

The looks Rondo gets our guys tend to be the lowest percentage looks in the game, though -- mid-range shots.

I guess it's fair to wonder how our offense would look if we surrounded Rondo with guys who shoot threes, and a few more guys like Wilcox who shoot 60-70% within 5-10 feet.


As for the point I was just making, looking through the Celtics teams of the last 10-12 years or so, you know what team this one reminds me of so far?

The 2004-2005 team.

Payton - Davis - Pierce - Walker - LaFraentz / Blount.

Won 45 games and lost in 7 games in the 1st round to the Pacers.
We happen to have a team full of excellent mid range shooters, so thats perfect. And if the midrange jump shot is the worst percentage shot in the game (its not, the 3 and long two are), then why are we shooting a better percentage that 20 other teams in the league.

I remember the 04'- 05' team very very well because that was my first year as a Celtics fan. This team is NOT like that team. We have so much more talent as well as heart and leadership its not even funny.

Re: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2012, 05:27:54 AM »

Offline Galeto

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I though the trade Rondo threads were over. Like, really over. Like never coming back. Like, even if we lose they are as dead as a doorknob. We are not losing games because of Rajon Rondo. Period. We are losing games because our defense has been bad.

Not totally disagreeing with you -- nor, I hope you'll notice, am I saying WE NEED TO TRADE RONDO NOWWW -- but to play devil's advocate, our offense is not elite, either.  In fact, our offense is worse than our defense.  Despite having a great passing point guard, we have a decidedly average offense. 

Hard to argue that Rondo is making up for that by playing elite defense, either, though he is getting a fair amount of steals.
I know your not saying that but I have seen many people say Rondo isnt truly great because we are not an elite offense. Most teams get a lot of points on offensive boards which we forfeit because of our defensive philosophy (which I agree with). The way to really see what Rondo does for our offense is to look at our fg% as a team which is over 50%.

A lack of offensive boards does not explain a bottom third offensive ranking the last three seasons including this current one.  From 2006 to 2009, the Phoenix Suns finished last in offensive rebounds but 2nd in offensive rating.  You can be a good or even great offense without offensive boards. 

I don't know what this says about Rondo but leading the league in assists while guiding a bottom third offense just doesn't sit well. I think this team leaves a lot of points on the floor by not even looking for secondary break opportunities due to the ball never being pushed away via the pass, wasting a ton of transition opportunities and shooting so many dang mid-range jumpers.  In the halfcourt, I don't think a team runs slower sets in the league.  The ball never zips around and too many shots are taken with ten seconds or less.

Re: What Does This Season Say About Rondo?
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2012, 05:53:16 AM »

Offline BballTim

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  Maybe we should trade him for Dwight Howard, he's got Kobe on his team and they're in worse shape than we are.

I think the Lakers are a resounding, neon-bright example of the truism that it is impossible to succeed in this league without a legitimate point guard.  As mediocre as Derek Fisher was statistically, he still had an intangible, steadying quality, and he worked in that triangle system.  Without the triangle, and without a legitimate point guard to run the offense, the Lakers are horribly inconsistent.  On top of that, though Dwight is putting up career average numbers, he's obviously not 100% defensively, and Kobe is exerting too much energy on offense to put in full effort defensively.  Add that to the fact that D'Antoni is the coach, and you've got a team that's pretty mediocre defensively.

Despite that, the Lakers are still top 10 in both offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency -- something the Celtics cannot boast -- and they have more wide-margin wins than the Celtics do.  There's evidence to suggest that as bad as the Lakers have been, they should improve a lot as the season goes on -- and that doesn't even take into account that Steve Nash should be coming back at some point, and if he's healthy he could majorly improve their offense, though he won't help their defense.

To put it a bit more simply, right now the Lakers are a very poorly constructed team with no depth.  Can the same be said of the Celtics?  Bottom line, I don't think there's a fair comparison to be drawn between the Celtics and the Lakers.  The Celtics don't have any of the excuses that the Lakers have.

  Yes, I suppose if the two teams aren't identical we should act like they have nothing in common.

  For the record, you're claiming that you don't expect to see any improvement by the Celts over the course of the season?

 

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