Even though the Celtics only won 25 games this past season, Brad Stevens established himself as one of the up-and-coming head coaches in the league. All eyes were on the relationship the untested coach had with prickly veteran point guard Rajon Rondo, especially after the team traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, making Rondo the undisputed leader of a rebuilding program.
Unfortunately, Rondo spent the early part of the season recovering from a torn ACL, and played in just 30 games. The Rondo-Stevens combination never found their footing, but Stevens is confident in his point guard. In speaking with reporters yesterday, Stevens said, “He only played 30 or so games this year. I don’t he ever felt like he was good as he could be game-to-game and that was in large part due to coming back from the injury.”
Despite his ineffectiveness, there’s no question about Rondo’s desire to remain with the Celtics. Even though he’s been mentioned in trade rumors throughout his career even when Boston was a title contender, Rondo has explicitly stated his love for the city and that he wants to stay in Boston for the long-term.
According to Stevens, Rondo has been very involved with the team’s offseason activities, “I think Rajon is anxious to get back out there playing. You can tell that from his work ethic. He’s been with our small groups a lot in the last 8-10 days. That’s not always the case with a guy as seasoned and accomplished as him.”
It’s the little things Rondo is doing which show that he is intent on not only remaining a Celtic, but really starting to take charge as a leader of the team. Hopefully, he’ll be able to remain healthy next season, and we’ll be able to see the full potential of Rondo and Stevens together for 82 games.
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