Boston Celtics: What Danny Ainge Can Do to Placate Rajon Rondo
After everything he's brought to the team, whispers are afoot that his services are no longer requested nor required in Boston. One NBA Championship and two Eastern Conference Championships later, it seems that some in the Celtics fan base and front office, including President of Basketball Operations, Danny Ainge, would prefer the talents of Chris Paul, at least prior to a potential CP3-for-Rondo trade falling through.
Danny Ainge would later come out and say that the Celtics "love" Rondo, but even this public display of executive affection may not be enough to keep Boston's star point guard happy.
Here are a few things that Danny Ainge could do and keep Rajon Rondo happy during his time in Boston (however long that is).
Sign Anyone Who Can Catch Alley-Oop Passes
Alley-oop passes are unique in that they're not only exciting and a great way for a team to send a message to their opponents, but it's also one of the ways that point guards and big men come together in a single instant; the point guard sets up, his target goes in motion, he fires a high, fast pass, the elite big leaps and slams it home to the delight of the home crowd and the dismay of the road crowd.
With the aging Celtics roster, Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O'Neal are probably too old to be going for alley-oops, especially with KG's knee injuries (you never know what a bad elevation or an awkward landing will do) or JO's history of injuries in general (don't even get me started).
Every player likes to be appreciated; for point guards, it's not just getting assists, but being half of a highlight reel as well. The Celtics front office can make Rondo feel more involved by picking up some hard-core alley-oopers.
Lay off Publically Criticizing His Late Arrivals
Back in 2010, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers criticized Rajon Rondo at a press conference for arriving to the Garden late for a Playoff game. This caused a brief disruption in team chemistry, as young Rondo was made an example of not only for the team, but for much of the NBA as well.
This scolding caused a marked decrease in production by Rondo, who, although rebounding quickly, was left feeling at least a little bit embarrassed by the whole situation.
Maybe what Doc and Danny need to do is let him go his own way. Sure, he showed up late, but he didn't miss the start of the game or get busted with any controlled substances or spurious individuals. Besides, he usually puts on a pretty good performance.
Give the kid a break. He'll learn in time what it takes to have that old Celtic work ethic.
Convince Ray Allen to Give Rondo Free Shooting Lessons
Foul shooting? Jump shooting? Rajon Rondo needs help with both of these and Ray Allen is just the man who can help him.
Allen is one of the best pure shooters in the NBA, especially from beyond the arc. He just passed Reggie Miller's record for most three-pointers made and shot .444 from three-point land this year.
Well, alright, Rondo won't be shooting threes any time soon, but he can learn a thing or two from the master of clutch shooting. Rondo needs to develop a jump-shot now if he wants to prove he's an elite point guard (and just as good as Chris Paul and/or Deron Williams) and, with Ray Allen's Hall of Fame caliber abilities, Rondo will be in good hands.
Along with jump-shooting, free-throw shooting is also something that Rajon Rondo desperately needs help with. Once again, Ray Allen is sure to be his go-to guy. He's shooting .893 from the charity stripe for his career and only a few years ago was shooting .952. With Ray Allen's help, Rondo too can become an elite free-throw shooter.
Well, maybe not elite per se, but certainly than the .622 he shoots from the free-throw line now.
Sign Him and Kendrick Perkins Up for a Pen-Pal Program
Let's face it: the trading of Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City caused the Celtics to come apart at the seams down the stretch.
Despite a four-game sweep of the New York Knicks in April, the Celtics succumbed to the Miami Heat in five games due in no small part to the fact that KG and JO seemed powerless to stop Miami's big from controlling the paint. Had Perk been around to go toe-to-toe with Chris Bosh or Joel Anthony, the series might have gone on a little longer.
There's no doubt that Rondo and Perk miss each other. They, like the Celtics as a whole, had a lot of chemistry and a big-man-to-point-guard bond that should not have been broken.
Danny Ainge can keep Rondo happy by ensuring that Perk is always around, at least in spirit. Twitter's far too impersonal; a traditional letter-writing correspondence between former teammates will keep Rajon Rondo occupied during his free-time and not give him time to dwell on the impact of losing interior defense in exchange for another shooter.
Where Do We Go from Here?
What else do you think Danny Ainge can do to keep the Celtics' troubled star point guard happy?
Let me know in the comments!