As Celtics Nation all breathes a sigh of relief that Paul Pierce isn't gone for the season (see my anatomy of the broken foot rumor below), there are other issues coming to the front. It seems that some comments from Rajon Rondo allude to some locker room unrest on the team. Doc has alluded to this several times after losses recently and now Rondo comes right out and says it. Here are some of his comments from Bulpett's article in the Herald this morning:
“We are getting bored with it some,” he said, “but I think it’s a little bit of different agendas maybe creeping in. It just all depends. You know, I think if we all had the right spirit as far as one goal, one thing in common, I think we’d be a lot better.”
“It’s a different team this year,” Rondo said then. “That’s our problem. A couple of years ago, we didn’t have the same team. We had the same main guys, but it’s still a team effort, from the first guy to the 15th guy.”
“I can’t really elaborate on it too much, but I think we’ve just got to be a team with no agendas,” Rondo said. “We’ve got to play unselfish, you know? That’s on defense and offense. You’ve got to want the best for the next man out there regardless if you’re in the game playing well or you’re out of the game not playing well.”
“In the locker room, you can feel it,” Rondo added. “You don’t feel like it’s the same continuity and camaraderie in the locker room as it was the first year. The first year, it was a crazy spirit in the locker room. But now it doesn’t feel the same. It’s not the same right now. We’ve got to find a way to get that back somehow, some way.”
And one player I know doesn't play for stats and is the ultimate team player is Perk. He echoes what Rondo had to say:
“I think each person’s just got to take (himself) out of the equation,” he said. “You know, whatever you’ve got going on the personal side - whatever you’re trying to get done - just take it out and just think all about team.”
Let's take a look at this a bit. This isn't the same team as the championship team. Who are the key additions? Sheed and Quisy. Since Quisy hasn't been playing that leaves one player that has several fingers pointed at him. It has been obvious to everyone since the beginning of the season that Sheed came into camp out of shape. He's still not in the greatest shape. It's possible that Sheed's constant 3 point bricks instead of finding the best shot may be grating on his teammates as much as it is on the fans watching the games. I think Sheed may still be a big help to this team but he HAS to limit the 3 point bricks. They are killing this team's offensive flow. Maybe it's time for one of those team meetings and get this all aired out. The good thing is that the frustration level has risen to the point that this is coming out now with half a season to go before the playoffs. There is plenty of time to right the ship and get back on the ubuntu track.
I never thought I'd say this but Tony Allen is the reason that we won the last game and that we were competitive in the Lakers game. He has come off the bench with an infusion of energy and for the most part has been playing very well. We have been seeing far more good Tony than bad Tony lately. Could it be that he finally gets it? If so, it couldn't come at a better time.
I think the biggest need on this team is a playmaker on the second unit. Our second unit plays very well when Doc leaves Rondo out there with them. But, Rondo can't play 48 minutes every game. They were also playing very well before Marquis Daniels went down. Even though Quisy isn't a point guard, he was more than adequate as a playmaker for this unit. The group off the bench seems to be aimless much of the time and they struggle to score. A true point on that unit would do wonders for this team.
Don't you just love this time of year? With the trade deadline sneaking up on us, we are hearing a lot of trade rumors, most of which are swirling around Ray Allen and his expiring contract. Ray has said that he wants to stay in Boston. He likes the town and the team. He wants to stay close to the Joslin Diabetes center for his son. He has said that he would sign for much less money and take a role off the bench. In other words, he would do just about anything to stay with this team. If Red was still running the team, Ray would be a Celtic for life. Red believed in loyalty to players who were loyal to the team. I'm kind of torn on this subject. On one hand, I feel loyalty to a player like Ray who is such a good guy to have on the team. And on the other hand, I just don't want to go through another 22 year stretch like we did between the last 2 championships. Even so, I feel that trading Ray may be a mistake from a Chemistry point of view.
But, Danny is definitely not averse to trading any player. Danny would probably trade his mother if he could get good value for her. It has been well documented over on Lex Nihil Novi that Danny had told Red to trade Larry, Kevin and Chief while they still had value. I wouldn't put anything past him. One thing I don't do is believe a single thing out of his mouth. Every time I sit down at the computer, I expect to see some kind of a move from Danny - either a signing to fill that last spot or a big trade to shake up the team.
KG seems to be working his way back to game shape. There was a lot of talk that the knee still wasn't right and that he wasn't the same and even that he might need more surgery on that knee. He looked a lot better in the Wizards' game. In my humble opinion, I think he just needs to get his timing and conditioning back and then is going to be fine. He sat out 10 games and it takes about that many games to get back to playing at full speed. I, for one, am not worried. He will get there.
I still expect this team to get healthy and to work out whatever locker room troubles they are having and make a run. By playoff time they will be running on all cylinders and are going to definitely be a formidable foe in the playoffs. Then, it will be a matter of heart and grit and I believe that this team has plenty of both when they set their minds to it.
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