Rajon Rondo has the ultimate support of Kevin Garnett.
Paul Pierce backs him, too.
But not everyone gets along with Rondo – and the list is apparently longer than just Ray Allen, whose feud with the Celtics point guard changed the Eastern Conference for years.
Replying to Jeff Clark of CelticsBlog, Jeff Goodman of ESPN reveals some illuminating information about how Rondo is viewed across the NBA.
Rondo can be prickly and hard-headed, which he admits. He once said of opponents, “We’re not trying to be friends with anybody.” I can definitely understand why the initial opinion of playing with him is unfavorable.
But if any free agents give it a second thought, the sentiment is ridiculous.
Rondo is a warrior on the court, fighting for every edge. So what he doesn’t like his opponents? If you sign with the Celtics, you’re his teammate now. He’s absolutely someone you want on your side.
His pass-first style gives those around him easier scoring looks, and his defensive effectiveness also puts his teammates in position to excel on that end of the court. Rondo’s game is extremely unselfish, which should turn on free agents.
Reading between the lines, maybe this is why Danny Ainge is so dogged in his pursuit of Kevin Love. When Love visited Boston – a transparent signal he’s interested in the Celtics – he spoke briefly with Rondo. Perhaps Love is an exception who wants to play with Rondo. That would help explain the theory Ainge wants Love and Rondo or neither.
If Boston can’t get Love, Rondo might be an impediment to other second stars.
Just a suggestion for rookie Dejounte Murray: Don’t do this in front of Gregg Popovich. You may not like his reaction.
That said, the Spurs needed to get more athletic this off-season — landing Pau Gasol certainly didn’t help that cause — so enter first-round pick Murray, who pulled this off in a recent pickup game.
Murray is going to be brought along slowly in a backcourt where Tony Parker and Patty Mills will be splitting time at the point. Murray is more of a combo guard and is going to have to shoot a lot better than he did in college (28.8 percent from three) to get some run. But this is a situation where the Spurs can groom him, bring him along slowly, and see if they have another draft steal.
He’s certainly got the athleticism.
James Harden‘s defense is not as bad as its reputation.
Well, at least it wasn’t two seasons ago — his near MVP season he was in good enough shape that he could put in a respectable effort on that end and still handle his massive offensive load. There were still some mental lapses, but his focus was better and his improvement lifted the team defense. Last season, he regressed back to youtube “highlight” defense Harden — his conditioning was not where it needed to be, he didn’t expend as much effort on that end, and it showed.
Harden got a massive contract extension this summer, and Dwight Howard is Atlanta’s problem — now Harden has to lead the Rockets. By example. Corey Brewer told ESPN you’re going to see that on defense.
“I think this year he’s going to play better defense, We’re going to let the past be in the past. It’s the future of the Rockets, man. James is going to play defense this year.”
We’re all Missourians on this one: Show me.
Remember that the Rockets will be out and running — Mike D’Antoni is the coach now, and Daryl Morey is going to get the up tempo ball he wants (which Kevin McHale had them doing, but Harden didn’t like him so…). D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix played better defense than their reputation — points per possession they were middle of the pack — but that has never been his focus.
Will Harden be able to run like he needs to on offense and still defend at a reasonable level?
If he can, it’s a big step toward the Rockets being a dangerous team in the West because if he does it others will follow. Otherwise, every Rockets game will be a shootout, which is entertaining but not going to get a team deep into the playoffs.
I can see the questions on Twitter/in the comments already so let me save you some time.
Because it’s summer.
Because it’s Drake (he’s a celebrity and an NBA hanger-on with some quasi-official position with the Raptors).
Because Stephen Curry did it, too.
Because what other hoops are you watching on a late August afternoon?
And besides, you clicked on it. You know you want to see it.
So here it is, Drake, hitting a halfcourt shot while doing a sit up. Enjoy.
Mario Chalmers was thriving with the Grizzlies after a midseason trade from the Heat when a torn Achilles ended his season.
Not the way Chalmers wanted to enter free agency.
Still unsigned, he says he’s progressing.
Can he go 100%, though? If not, when?
A few teams could use another point guard. If Chalmers shows his health, he belongs in someone’s rotation. But that might require taking a low-paying deal and working his way up from the third point guard spot – or even just onto the regular-season roster.