Future buyers and coaches of Rajon Rondo beware.
Sitting down with Red Bull Signature Series host Sal Masekala and redbull.com basketball contributor Brian Kamenetzky, Rondo discussed his relationship with Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, inevitably admitting (while dominating at Connect Four) he's still not easy to coach (via Kurt Helin of NBC Sports' ProBasketballTalk):
I still am. It’s not that I’m hard to coach, it’s just that I may challenge what you say. I know the game myself, I’m out there playing the game. So I may have saw something different versus what you saw from the sideline. I’m going to be respectable. I’m going to let the coach talk.
Various suspensions and in-game antics have left Rondo a victim of his own reputation. Wildly talented, he's often considered uncoachable because of his seeming inability to keep his emotions in check and his hands and basketballs to himself.
Playing in the shadows of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for the better part of a decade allowed Rondo's perceived demeanor to fly under the radar. Once time began to pass and Garnett and Pierce began to age, the Celtics suddenly became Rondo's team. He's now been thrust to the forefront of Boston's scope.
That's left many people uneasy, most notably some of those closest to the situation. Rondo has been linked to trade rumors since the NBA lockout ended in 2011, suggesting the Celtics haven't always been sold on the point guard as a championship cornerstone.
This past season was supposed to be a turning point, though rumors continued to follow him, as Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald explains, but he was going to emerge as an MVP candidate—someone the Celtics could really rely on.
Someone who could be coached.
An ACL injury cut Rondo's season short, but there's little doubt now that Rivers can coach him. Though it has taken seven years, Rondo concedes he and Rivers are now on the same page.
While encouraging, that's also cause for a certain level of anguish.
Rivers' future with the Celtics is uncertain and should he decide to leave, the team will need to find a locker-room presence that can command the attention and respect of their point guard—preferably sooner than a half-decade down the road.
Here's to hoping Rivers doesn't abandon Boston and that you never meet Rondo in a Connect Four tournament.