Rajon Rondo was arguably the best player on the Celtics the past two seasons, but he was not the team leader. Kevin Garnett was, with Paul Pierce (and a couple seasons back Ray Allen) in that mix as well.
Now, Rondo has been thrust into the roll of unquestioned leader of a young, rebuilding Boston team.
Garnett said that should be no problem, he showed Rondo how to do lead. Which is more than just teaching him how to scowl — it’s to lead by example. And scowl. Garnett explained it to Masslive.com (via Eye on Basketball) when asked what the most important thing he showed Rondo was:
“About leadership. I feel like one of the things I always tried to stress to him is, when you’re a leader, you lead by example. It’s not a lot about what you say, it’s a lot about what you do.”
On whether Rondo can push the new Celtics back to the top:
“Absolutely. I’m sure he’s going to push them to make the team better, and (president of basketball operations Danny Ainge) is going to do just that. The franchise has always been used to winning. They have a new coach and new system up there, so I’m thinking that’s going to be a plus. I wish them all the best, man. I have no ill will towards anything in Boston.”
In the past Rondo hasn’t really hasn’t been a leader by example: He was suspended a game last season for bumping a referee, and another two games following a fight with the Nets; then back in 2012 he was suspended two games for throwing a ball at an official. It’s something he needs to work on, because Boston needs him on the court.
Rondo might be able to lead, but leadership is no substitute for on the court talent, and that’s what Boston is lacking. They have some nice pieces in Rondo and Avery Bradley, but this is a roster being turned over and there’s only so far Rondo can lead them. By example or otherwise.
Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.
Pacers fans delivered.
They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.
Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.
The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.
“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”
Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.
Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.
Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):
This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.
Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.
He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.
Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.
So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.
Sam Amick of USA Today:
Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency
Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.
There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.
Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.