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the Miami broadcast posed a viewer poll asking who is the greatest Celtic of all-time. The options: Bill Russell, Jon Havlicek, Larry Bird and Paul Pierce....
At first glance, a lot of people are going to say that’s crazy for Pierce to even be in the discussion....
But consider that Pierce is third all-time on Boston’s career scoring list behind Hondo and Bird, and second in points per game behind Bird. Consider that he’s first (by a landslide) in three-pointers made, second in free throws made, second in steals, fourth in blocks, ninth in rebounds (as a small forward/shooting guard), and seventh in assists. He “only” has one championship ring and no League MVP’s, but Pierce is all over the record book of the most storied franchise in the NBA. He deserves to be in the discussion.
It's an interesting question... and Paul DOES deserve to be in the discussion of all time greatest Celtics. But he's not THE greatest. That's a pretty exclusive club. Sorry Paul, that's just a by product of playing for the Celtics.
Really, the conversation there is only between Larry Bird and Bill Russell. Bird's got the mythology behind him, while Russ has the hardware. To me, it doesn't matter which you say is greater. You take one, give me the other, and I'll be happy with that scenario.
But Paul's place in the pantheon is really in the realm just below those two. The numbers, as Dime laid out, are indeed staggering. The resolve he's shown in playing through the lean years is impressive. And even more impressive is how he willingly stepped out of the limelight as the Big 3 were assembled. He doesn't HAVE to be "the man" every game. He's happy doing other things to make sure everyone on this team is happy.
He easily could have derailed the 07-08 championship season by being a selfish prima donna. That he didn't might be even more impressive than any statistics you can rattle off in support of Paul Pierce's standing among the greats.
One more title could end even what little debate there is over this. There's nothing that will cement your standing in Celtics history more than multiple titles. But even short of that, there's no doubt that Pierce will be raising his number 34 to the rafters, and giving a speech in Springfield some day.
Every decent coach out there will tell you that if you're thinking out on the court, you're screwed. You've got to react. Sure... when there are stoppages you can process what you've seen and come up with ways to combat it. But when the play is going on... you have less than a second to react to what's going on or else whatever opportunity was there is gone.
Right now, when it comes to taking jumpers, Rajon Rondo is thinking... not reacting to the defense. It's a slight enough hesitation to throw the entire play, and shot, out of whack.
Rondo is still working on his mechanics, trying to shoot with more arc. But he said he will continue to struggle a bit with when to take his shot.
“It’s just how I play,” he said. “It’s hard for me to get the mindset to shoot the ball when I’m open. I always try to pass first. When I shoot the ball, I’ve got to think shot.”
As to whether it’s a sign of disrespect when opponents play off him, he said, “It is, but at the end of the day I just try to dominate the game in other ways.”
Rondo certainly has that ability to dominate games in other ways, but knocking down the jumper will only make that easier.
The Celtics aren't asking Rajon Rondo to drop 20 a game. They're asking him to run their team and be a defensive menace. When it comes to offense, running the team will become a lot easier if the defense has to respect your jump shot. That opens up passing lanes. It opens up space for Rondo to drive and dish. And it opens up room for guys to work without fear of some roaming defender that has left Rondo because he won't take a 15 footer.
This is not an indictment on Rondo's jumper. I actually think he's dialing it in. You can make all the fuss you want about his ridiculously low free throw percentage. I'm not that concerned by it. He's not that far off. The jumper is coming.
Any professional marksman will tell you that you don't just assemble a rifle and shoot it. You've got to practice with it. You've got to figure out if what you see in the sight is actually going to translate into you hitting the target.
Shooting a jumper, especially when you've got more than a decade of muscle memory fighting you, is the same. Rondo will get it.
They're talking about the guy who got into a "dust up", if you even want to call it that, with Chris Paul (video here). The reaction is pretty one-sided: This is Rodno's fault. Rondo's the guy who started it all. Rondo's the guy who was trash-talking and he's the guy who came over and pumped Paul in front of the Celtics bench.
And it's hard to argue those points. Does that mean Rondo's 100% at fault? Probably not. I'm sure Paul was a willing participant in some of the back and forth. But he's "Chris Paul"... who is almost unanimously regarded as the best point guard in the league and one of the young stars who will usher the NBA into its next era. He's in league ad campaigns. He's featured in Nike commercials. And because he's built up a good reputation, he's going to get the benefit of the doubt in times like this. That's only natural.
Depending on who you ask, Rajon Rondo is somewhere in the top 5 among the league's point guards. And while I love his fire... and I love that he takes nothing from anyone... it's in his best interests to channel it a different way. If he truly wants to be an "elite" point guard... and get all the perks (read: endorsements) that go along with that... he's got to chill out a little.
Rondo's a young guy who still has a lot to learn. And part of getting a huge contract like this is becoming more mature and representing your team, as well as yourself. The Chris Paul incident was not Rondo's finest hour, but it's also not a big deal. Yet.
Rondo has time to focus the rage, or ego, or whatever it is, into something more productive. If he wants to take that one, last step from great to elite, he's got no choice. If he doesn't, little "nothing" incidents like the one with Paul will get blown more and more out of proportion. And that's ultimately going to cost him a lot of money.
Good blog. Paul is a thug. Has been his whole college and NBA career. He just has great PR. He does good things, helps people, and has a baby face. This gives him the edge on Rondo who is known as a hot head who doesn't listen to anyone. Rondo is a great player and could be even more with maturity. I just hope he learns and moves on. Rondo's future is very bright. ...View More...View Less
I know, I know... it's too early to really be able to make any conclusions about anything blah... blah... blah...
Two games into the season and the Celtics have shown one thing: They mean what they say about playing defense.
The numbers don't lie. The Cavs and Cats have combined to shoot 36.1%. The Celtics hold a 24 to 13.5 advantage in the assists per game column. The C's are blocking 8 shots a game. They're forcing 17.5 turnovers. They're making 9.5 steals and getting the ball stolen 6.5 times.
The C's defense is already stifling. And that's with KG still working his way back.... and Rasheed Wallace still getting his feet wet... and Marquis Daniels still figuring his way around the playbook.
It's early yet. And the Celtics defense will certainly have its bad games. But right out of the gates the Celtics have served notice: You're gonna have play a perfect offensive game to beat them. Anything short of that could very well mean a loss. You won't be hearing the other teams announcers say "this is a game we deserved to lose."
If you're playing like you deserve to lose... the Celtics will make sure of it.