By: Will Stevenson
*I love Curb Your Enthusiasm. Remember when Cheryl left Larry. Larry was successful with Seinfeld and Cheryl loved him. Then things got stale once the show ended. Larry would sabotage jobs, stay around the house and all his flaws shown through. Once Cheryl left, Larry started dating. Now it’s not like Larry actually changed, but Larry got dates off the strength of being Larry.*
And now to Rajon Rondo.
The NBA game has changed over the past few years as the game has sped up to a pace that even the Steve Nash-led Phoenix Suns couldn’t match. Over the past 10 years or so, we’ve been a witness to NBA stars who have fallen by the wayside as offensive systems have incorporated analytics into the discussion, so the Allen Iverson’s of the past aren’t allow to just be that and the main guy on a team these days. There are spots for those with his skill-set, but shooting contested jumpers, two-point field goals and not being a defensive stopper seems to be more of a negative to a team than we would have thought back then. With the old-school star going down, that has allowed the average/above average player to become more of an intricate teammate in this new NBA. A player may not be an Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant or Kevin Garnett, but maybe that player shoots efficiently from the arc and defends adequately, therefore that guy is now a 10 to 14 million dollar a year player. A guy like Steve Kerr, Judd Buechler, Craig Hodges would be getting 70 to 80 million dollars like Allen Crabbe if they were in today’s league.
We’ve watched guys like Dwayne Wade who couldn’t shoot threes and took contested jumpers still be able to command max money even though their games and usage rate don’t depict them to be that type of player anymore. Players like carmelo Anthony still exist in this league, and if you are an MVP level player, then a guy like Russell Westbrook or James Harden can exist. Kevin Love adapted a three point shot. Chris Bosh, Blake Griffin, guys of this stature were able to adapt and add shooting to their repoirtore to elevate and exend their careers which also made them more of a weapon to the team. Although some NBA players have been able to adapt, some have not and seem as though they never will.
Rajon Rondo was the type of player that coaches dream of. he was a pass-first point guard that defended his position and rebounded well. He was a stat-sheet stuffer that gave you points, rebounds, steals, assists and court vision on a nightly basis. Rondo could never shoot, but that didn’t matter when Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett were on the floor. let’s also not forget James Posey, Eddie House and Tony Allen. Just stop for a second and look at those names. Now add a championship at a you age. Now add allstar talk and a contract. Now add the city of Boston.
Delusions of Grandeur seem to appear with our athletes, mostly because they know the work they have put in to become who they are. When a player is that good, at that age, they don’t have to change their game because they don’t need to when the talent that surrounds them masks what they cannot do. One thing we never consider is the simple fact many of these NBA guys aren’t Lebron. Hell, even Lebron was a great player with above average success when the talent difference was drastic between he and his next teammate. Hakeem Olojuwon wasn’t always the guy dream-shaking and repossessing David Robinson’s spirit in the playoffs. Michael Jordan was getting bounced at every turn in the playoffs. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were all just high-paid talents until Boston. just because a player is good, doesn’t mean they will win, and just because a player is great with on set of players, does not mean that will continue throughout their career. Remember Tyreke Evans? 20-5-5 in his rookie campaign. Remember Michael Carter Williams? Guys come and go all the time. Sometimes it’s skill. sometimes it’s politics. Sometimes it’s their contract or an overhaul in management. In this new NBA, a player like Rondo can exist, just not on a team that doesn’t have shooting. Rondo has never been able to shoot, and he hasn’t had to shoot to be able to be an All-NBA type player.
Why are we continuing to treat Rondo as if he is someone that will change?
If you have the “secret sauce” to your success, are you changing? Are you going to add things to your “game” when the game you already have has made you one of the best at the league at one point and time? It’s not as if Rondo has been cast off after his untimely exit in Boston. Rondo has been paid twice. Twice! We keep assuming that Rondo will change. We keep assuming Rondo will not shut his mouth and become Tim Duncan for the remainder of his career. Maybe it will happen, but maybe not. Maybe Rondo will be out of the league by next year. Rondo was dismissed from the Mavericks during the playoffs, ad to team up with Boogie and the Kings, and was signed to a backcourt with Dwayne Wade, and somehow we continue to think that he is the only problem. Your team signed him knowing what type of player he is and has been and put him under a coach that riffed with Jimmy Butler. Jimmy Butler.
The NBA changed on Rondo while he was great. It’s like the guy that gets married young in the 80s, then ends up getting divorced in the 2000s or around now. The game has changed so much while you were in the middle of greatness. Then when that relationship is over (with Boston), your greatness doesn’t account for much because your skills are no longer needed. The issue for Rondo is he doesn’t want to change and why should he? He has the accolades, the stats, the money and the demand. Soon that demand will wear off and Rondo will be playing in the Drew League, overseas or at home with the family. Rondo isn’t changing, and he shouldn’t. Maybe we should possibly stop asking Lions to become gazelles. Lions are lions till the end, no matter what. I think Rondo won.