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Rajon Rondo on Brad Stevens: 'Who Doesn't Want to Play for a Coach Like That?'

WALTHAM, MA - SEPTEMBER 30: Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics poses for a picture during media day at the Boston Sports Club in Waltham, Massachusetts on September 30, 2013. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE  (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2017

First-year Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens is still getting his feet wet in NBA waters, but he's already debunking several basketball myths.

Like the one about college coaches not being able to transition to the professional level:

Or the one about how the Atlantic Division-leading (!) Celtics were definitely going to tank this season:

Then there's my personal favorite—coaches can't reach enigmatic point guard Rajon Rondo.

The 27-year-old hasn't seen a minute of floor time since tearing the ACL in his right knee on Jan. 25. He's still working without a timetable for his return.

Yet the four-time All-Star and two-time assists champ has already bought into any and everything that Stevens is selling.

"I think he’s an easy coach to play for,” Rondo said, via Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. “He’s very positive. He not a yeller. He’s always encouraging and moving on to the next play. Who wouldn’t want to play for a coach like that?"

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 06:  Head coach Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics looks on in the first quarter against the Utah Jazz at TD Garden on November 6, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Stevens no doubt helped make Rondo more receptive to his messages by reaching out to the point guard this summer. By the time media day rolled around, Rondo was gushing about the relationship he'd fostered with his new "best friend," via ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg.

But his recent praise of Stevens is more than buddy-buddy talk.

He's seen what his coach can do. Stevens is a modern miracle worker.

How else can you explain Boston's No. 12 rank in defensive rating (101.3 points allowed per 100 possessions) with no rim protector on the roster? Or Jordan Crawford's rapid rise from uncontrollable chucker (12.7 points on 11.9 shots over his first three seasons) to poised, potent Eastern Conference player of the week?

Rondo knows he sees. His eyes aren't playing tricks on him.

Stevens is the perfect coach to oversee Boston's rebuilding project. And the right man to maximize Rondo's freakish athletic gifts.

 

*Statistics used courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com.

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