Rajon Rondo shows coaches how to dress well (Brian Babineau/ Getty).
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo finds himself in an interesting predicament entering the 2013-14 season. After a summer in which management dumped every other remaining starter from the Celtics' championship contending teams of the past six years, Rondo is now the team's ostensible leader and a player whose peculiar offensive style may not translate quite so well to that role. On top of all that, he's rehabilitating the ACL tear he suffered last season, figures to miss several weeks of the regular season, and remains the subject of (possibly unfounded) trade rumors even as he claims he's happy where he is.
If this situation seems slightly precarious, it's partially because Rondo can be hard to read and/or understand. On offense, he marries an impressive ability to create passing lanes and open shots for teammates with confounding shot selection and a regular avoidance of scoring. As a teammate, he can appear aloof and even downright mean. For fans inclined to seek out the weirder athletes in the sport, he's a godsend. For a team looking to solidify a new foundation, he's a wild card.
All of which is to say that Rondo does not always seem like the most dependable leader in the NBA. It's a little surprising, then, to learn that he's considering coaching when his playing career is done. From Mark Murphy for the Boston Herald (via SLAM):
Nor does he want to obsess, or depress himself, over the trade that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn, or coach Doc Rivers’ departure for the Clippers. Though he and Rivers had stormy moments, Rondo turned a bit sentimental.
“I still catch myself laughing at some of the things he’s told certain guys, and now I find myself quoting some of the things that Doc has said to individual guys,” Rondo said. “I’ve learned a lot from Doc. I’ve tried to study his ways as far as coaching, because I might want to coach someday myself.”
Rondo goes on to say that his comments on the meaninglessness of Garnett and Pierce's departures were overblown, and that he's already reminisced with current teammates about fond experiences with the recently departed. Perhaps Rondo is more of a leader than we have expected, and he will prove as much this season.
On the other hand, it's very difficult to imagine Rondo as a coach, if only because his on-court decisions so rarely conform to accepted basketball wisdom. A Rondo-coached team would presumably eschew open shots for contested finishes at the rim, only pass from angles under the basket, and communicate via some gibberish language based on semaphore. Rondo understands the game very well, but his frame of reference is wholly unique. How could it be applied to an entire team?
Rondo is only 27 years old, so it would still be some time until the start of his hypothetical coaching career. Somehow, though, the prospect of it is even more compelling than that of his new role with the Celtics. I, for one, cannot wait.
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