COMMENTARY | Following a very brief playoff run that ended at the hands of the New York Knicks, Danny Ainge will have a lot of work to do this offseason in deciding the direction of the Boston Celtics. Much of this is in the hands of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce; if they both come back, Ainge's track record suggests that this group has one more shot. On the other hand, retirement likely means a huge overhaul of the roster.
Rebuilding is the direction where this organization needs to go; they can no longer compete with the league's elite, and another title run simply isn't in the cards. Thinking long-term begins with an assessment of Rajon Rondo, and whether he can be the team's building block.
At times, Rondo has flashed greatness on the biggest stages. He racks up massive assist totals, and always plays his best on nationally televised games and playoff games. Many might only get to watch him play a few times per year, where he is often brilliant. From these impressions, you would think that Rondo is undoubtedly a franchise player.
However, when you look at his entire body of work and dig a little deeper, the doubt creeps in.
Rajon Rondo's complacency and inconsistency is alarming for someone who has already played 7 seasons in the league. It is true that the Celtics go as Rondo goes, in both the big games and the smaller, regular season ones. He often looks extremely flat and uninterested during the regular season, where his team follows his lead. It should be noted that this is on a team with strong veterans such as Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce; can you imagine what this would be like if he, all of the sudden, became the veteran on a team full of youngsters?
Rondo is still a poor shooter, a part of his game that hasn't improved much after 7 years. It's awfully hard to build your future around a point guard who allows defenders to play several feet off of him, daring him to shoot. Additionally, he has never shot better than 65% from the line over the course of a season.
Then, there's his personality. Rondo has always been strong minded, for better or for worse. It would be awfully tough to trust him to be on his best behavior if Ainge decides to stock the roster with young players who would be viewing Rondo as their leader.
There is no doubt that Rajon Rondo would be an extremely valuable piece to any team. However, there is a lot of doubt that he can be "the guy" that the Celtics could trust to lead a rebuilding effort. Danny Ainge needs to poke around and see what Rondo's value is around the league. If he can draft picks and a couple of young pieces, he has to seriously consider ending the Rajon Rondo era in Boston.
Mark lives in the Boston area and has been covering the Celtics for 3 years. He has been featured on Fox Sports Yardbarker, Fox Sports, and Sports Illustrated "Hot Clicks", and has been published on Celtics 24/7, Bleacher Report, and Sports-Kings.
Follow him on Twitter here.
- Sports & Recreation
- Rajon Rondo
- Danny Ainge
- Boston Celtics
- Paul Pierce
- Kevin Garnett