In the midst of trade rumors swirling around Rajon Rondo, the 3-time All-Star has emerged to post some of his best numbers of the season. On Sunday against the Knicks he had the basketball world buzzing with an outstanding performance of 18 points, 17 rebounds, and 20 assists in a 115-111 OT thriller. It was his 4th triple double of the season and his 2nd in three games. His other triple double came in a 102-96 triumph against the Milwaukee Bucks. Rondo currently has more triple doubles this season than any player (nobody in the league has more than one).
Over the years, it seems as though Rondo rises to the occasion when either some sort of controversy revolves around his head or he is on a nationally televised showdown. That was all evident in the game against the Knicks. Celtics-Knicks is a marquee matchup and pair that with Jeremy Lin in town and you have must-watch television. ESPN’s Jackie McMullan acknowledged that trend in her article where she stated that 13 of Rondo’s 17 career triple doubles were broadcasted on national television. Kevin Garnett also acknowledged the trend after the game against New York when he said, “If you know Rondo, you know he’s a ‘I’ll show you’ kind of player. This game had enough juice on it to be the kind he’s interested in.” Obviously players rise to the occasion when a big matchup is on the table, but imagine if Rondo could give this kind of effort night in and night out. Nobody expects a 18-20-17 stat line every night, but if he could get somewhere in the ball park he’d be even more spectacular than he already is.
It is for this very reason he continues to be in trade talks. Rondo’s inconsistency frustrates Celtics Nation, and judging by Garnett’s comments above, it appears it might be an internal dilemma. As if he chooses when to turn it on or not. Maybe he just needs the big stage or maybe he just needs doubters and haters around him so he can prove them wrong. It is for these reasons people think Rondo is a head case, and that is why trade speculation occurs so frequently. Nobody seems to know how to make Rondo go. This season has really been a love/hate season for Rondo. We can’t stand it when he gives a 5 point, 10 assist effort and get suspended in a loss against Detroit, or when he goes scoreless in a win against Cleveland. But then he draws us all back when he puts up 17-20-18 in arguably the most exciting win the Celtics have had this season. I think everybody thinks Rondo is an incredibly talented player, but only want to move him because we get weary of the up and down ride with him. But let’s be honest, the Celtics go as Rondo goes.
I for one think it’d be an extremely idiotic move to trade Rondo. In a league dominated by point guard play, why on earth would you want to trade one of the best in the game (except for maybe Peter May’s idea)? Every All-Star or dominant player has their flaws, and Celtics Nation tends to get hung up on Rondo’s flaws too much instead of recognizing how good this kid really is. I think Celtics fans need to be a little more patient with Rondo, he’s only 26 years old. Celtics fan’s maturity expectations for him might be overblown simply because he plays with three veteran Hall of Famers. Allen is 10 years older, Garnett is 9, and Pierce is 8 years older than Rondo. I’m not sitting here making excuses for the guy and agree that he is immature at times, but I’m just saying that we might be getting a little ahead of ourselves. It’s the NBA and some of these players are hot heads. Do you really think Rondo is the only All-Star that has a tough personality to manage? Maybe it’s time for a reality check, but Rondo is still developing and has shown on multiple occasions his unreal potential. Just look at his numbers from this past Sunday, the last guy to post numbers like that was Magic Johnson in 1989. Rajon Rondo is the best player on our team now and should be our building block for the future.
Blocking out the trade chatter (including the rumors surrounding the rest of the team), the Celtics have a daunting 8-game road trip quickly approaching, which features back-to-backs with both Los Angeles teams, Sacramento-Denver, and Milwaukee-Philadelphia. Therefore, it is imperative that the Celtics take these next three games, two at the least, against Houston, Philly, and Portland. With those W’s, the Celtics would enter this season-defining road trip at a record of 21-18 (hopefully 22-17), and will be in great position to conquer this road trip or at least come out alive.
Keep in mind that the trade deadline is March 15th, which is in the middle of this road trip. I really hope Danny knows better not to blow this thing up in the middle of that.