Rajon Rondo Calls Out Teammates for Lack of 'Celtic Pride'

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2014

USA Today

Rajon Rondo hasn't always been the most vocal of leaders, but now that he's an elder statesman on the Boston Celtics, that appears to be changing.

Then again, who wouldn't have something to say after taking it on the chin from the lowly Philadelphia 76ers in a 111-102 loss?

Head coach Brad Stevens wasn't happy, either.

And some of the more junior Celtics didn't have much at all to say.

All commentary aside, it's fair to assume Boston was embarrassed by its effort. The Celtics are clearly amid a rebuilding season, but they're not reconstructing as much as the Sixers; Philadelphia is tanking, and it's shown with a 17-59 record and a 26-game losing streak. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics' frustrations have been culminating for a while. This was just a low point in a season of valleys.

Rondo didn't return to the lineup from knee surgery until mid-January. Suffice it to say, that hasn't been nearly enough to turn the Celtics' season around. They're now 23-53 on the year—hardly something to be proud of, even for a team with supposed Celtic pride.

Charles Krupa

Boston is also coming off a brutal 118-92 loss at the hands of the Washington Wizards. The C's have lost seven in a row and 14 of their last 17 games. 

According to NESN's Ben Watanabe, Stevens took a while to make his way to the postgame press conference and, naturally, didn't look to be in high spirits once he got there.

Per Watanabe, the ire is to his credit as a coach:

Part of what made Stevens so successful at Butler — what makes any coach successful anywhere, for that matter — was his utter distaste for losing. Yet through two national championship game defeats with the Bulldogs and another season’s full of hard-to-swallow losses with the Celtics (23-53), Stevens has taken the brunt of each defeat upon himself.

At least he has Rondo to join in his sorrow. Both Celtics leaders will be suffering from some wounded pride for the foreseeable future.

Boston doesn't have any quick solutions to its current plight. The Celtics will look to add new talent through the draft, but the organization won't have significant cap space to pursue free agents until 2015. Of course, trades are also a possibility, and Rondo has been at the heart of more than a few of those rumors.

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge remains unlikely to deal Rondo precisely because of the leadership he's shown of late. At 28 years old, he is capable of growing alongside a team that will increasingly consist of young prospects. 

Disappointed as Rondo may be in his team from time to time, he's also given no indication that he wants to leave.

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