Boston Celtics: Why Boston Must Embrace Rajon Rondo as the Face of Its Franchise
The Big Three are on the wane, and Boston needs a fresh image to rally around after Paul Pierce cedes the throne.
Danny Ainge and Boston's front office have hesitated to endorse the All-Star to represent the organization's brand.
Their concerns are legitimate.
Rondo has struggled with attitude and maturity problems in the past, including a recent two-game suspension he received for chucking a ball at an official during a game against the Detroit Pistons.
But the Celtics should not focus on Rondo's demeanor when considering the new face of their franchise.
I hate to break the news to Mr. Ainge, who would prefer a team of saints, but many professional athletes have attitude problems.
Ever heard of Michael Jordan?
Jordan's attitude issues continued right through his bizarre Hall of Fame speech, which he essentially used as a platform to criticize every coach, team or individual who had supported him throughout his career.
But the Chicago Bulls weren't wrong for building around Jordan's image. In fact, they would be kicking themselves today if they had let him go citing personality problems.
Boston has something special in Rajon Rondo, despite his attitude. Teams don't come across elite players like this every day.
Rondo is one of the best point guards in the NBA, arguably among the top-five, and his stock is on the rise.
This season, he's averaging 13.6 points, 10.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds, making for the best statistical season of his NBA career. In his last seven games, the point guard has brought home two triple-doubles and a double-double.
As he has proven time and again, Rondo unequivocally possesses the special kind of talent that organizations frame themselves around.
And his NBA colleagues agree.
Sports Illustrated surveyed 137 NBA players, asking them who they would choose first if starting a team from scratch. Rondo came in at No. 12.
It's unsurprising. The point guard can create a shot out of thin air. He moves quickly and decisively and has killer instincts.
This is why Ainge must mold the next generation of Celtics around the 26-year-old All-Star. He is a leader on the court and elevates the level of play of those around him.
Another compelling reason for the Celtics to keep Rondo and build themselves in his image is his reasonable price tag.
Boston has No. 9 under a long-term contract that extends through the 2014 season. The five-year, $55 million deal inked in 2009 is a bargain for the Celtics.
Just compare Rondo's asking price with that of other elite point guards.
As Ainge considers trading Rondo rather than building around him, he should remember that this kind of talent at this price is hard to come by.
Further, Rondo has played in a Celtics jersey over his entire six-season career. Fans rally around players they perceive as loyal to the cause.
Fans grow attached to players, and like Wade in Miami, Rondo is a Beantown favorite.
Boston's front office needs to recognize Rondo's value as the future face of its organization before another team swoops in to make him their poster child.
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