Rajon Rondo is failing as the leader of the Boston Celtics.
Coming into this season, never before was there so much talk of Rondo being Boston’s end-all, the one who would keep the Celtics’ cause intact. And subsequently, never before has Rondo been more of a disappointment.
Statistically, the point guard has been sound. He’s averaging 12.9 points, 12.9 assists (which leads the NBA), 4.6 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game on his way to posting an impressive 20.63 PER.
But that’s not enough, because stats aren’t enough.
Even if we overlook the fact that Rondo still needs to score more, you have a flawed leader, someone who is still too immature to carry the hopes of an entire franchise. Boston’s point man made us more privy than ever to this fact when he essentially attacked Kris Humphries for laying a hard foul on Kevin Garnett.
Now, I understand that emotions run high during games and sometimes get the best of players, but this was ridiculous, and completely unnecessary. After all, what did “defending” Garnett accomplish? Rondo was ejected and the Celtics then had no hope at even coming close to beating the Brooklyn Nets.
Not only that, but according to Mike Petraglia for WEEI.com, the crafty floor general was then hit with a two-game suspension.
Danny Ainge says on WEEI that Rajon Rondo has been suspended two games #Celtics
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) November 29, 2012
How is that the mark of a good leader? Franchise cornerstones must be on the court, leading the two-way charge for their team to be considered, well, leaders. Rondo has just done the opposite of that. He has essentially taken himself out of three games and signed Boston’s loss warrant in each of them.
Let’s also not forget that this is the same Rondo who took himself out of the game by tossing a ball at a referee only last season. That act of unkindness landed him a two game suspension as well, while also ensuring the Celtics—who were playing without Garnett at the time—came up short against the Detroit Pistons.
Again, how is that the mark of a good leader?
It’s not, because Rondo isn’t. The 26-year-old man-child still cannot control his emotions; he maintains a twisted sense of right and wrong.
Personally, I don’t care that he was trying to stick up for Garnett. For one, Garnett is 36, stands at 6’11″ and is more than capable of taking care of himself. But furthermore, this wasn’t even a malice hit we’re talking about. It was a hard foul, yes, but Garnett himself has dealt out plenty of those over his 17-year career.
So Rondo’s supposed intentions don’t matter, not one bit. What matters is that this is still an athlete who can’t shoulder the responsibility of leading a contender. And that arguably held true before this act of injustice. After all, the Celtics are barely playing .500 basketball, shouldn’t Rondo be able to do more with a roster like this one?
Oh, we’re supposed to chalk that up to needing more time? Sure, let’s do that. Just like we’ll chalk this up to him protecting Garnett, a momentary lapse in judgment or simply Rondo being Rondo.
Where do the excuses end?
They end here; they end now.
Rondo has had plenty of opportunities to prove himself and his ability to effectively and dutifully lead the Celtics has been approached with the utmost of optimism, yet he keeps actively proving us wrong.
Which means it’s time to head over to the other side of the spectrum, the one that acknowledges Rondo for what he is—a superior playmaker and athlete who simply doesn’t possess the actual team-first mentality necessary to become an altruistic leader.
Now let’s see if Rondo can prove us wrong again.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.