Is Rondo fit to lead the Celtics?

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Is Rondo fit to lead the Celtics?

For the sake of this column, lets assume that Rajon Rondo stays in Boston.

Of course, with Danny Ainge, to assume anything is to set yourself up for massive embarrassment. But at this point, with Chris Paul destined for one of two Staples Center locker rooms (or a crawl space in David Sterns basement), and the season less than two weeks away, lets go out on a limb and say that Rondo will be here on Christmas Day, Valentines Day and every day until the season ends.

If not, well at least we had this conversation.

As you know, on Tuesday morning, the Boston Herald ran a story on Rondo in which, among other things, Steve Beatlemania Bulpett detailed a behind-the-scenes altercation during last years playoffs.

It was an off-day in the Miami series, with the Celtics trailing 0-2 and Rondo a few quarters away from the most gruesome elbow injury this side of Andrew Bogut. As it goes, the team was watching film and Rondo was getting torched. Then

According to multiple sources, Rondos errors were being pointed out when he arose and began discussing the mistakes of his teammates. Loudly. Using harsh language.

Coach Doc Rivers got up and fired back, and Rondo threw a bottle that shattered the video screen. He bolted from the practice facility and was prevented from returning when he tried later.

Rondo eventually apologized, and later atoned with his Game 3 heroics, but the damage was clearly done. Someone wanted it out there.

Now it's in the headlines, and we're forced into another round of: What's wrong with Rondo?

(First of all, let me say that I don't really care what happened in that video room. Of course, it's an interesting story; it's always fun to look behind the curtain. But in general, it's not an enormous deal. This sort of thing happens all the time. (For instance, last Sunday on the Patriots sidelines). But seeing that this is hardly the first time we've heard something like this about Rondo, it's hard to ignore.)

On the court he's fine. Foul shots aside, he's a Top 5 point guard (Paul, Rose, Williams, Westbrook, Rondo) and still getting better. For 37 minutes a night, there are very few guys you'd rather have running your team. The Celtics are lucky to have him.

The problem is that Rondo hasn't matured off the court as much or as quickly as anyone would like. From the moment he signed that extension in 2009, he was pegged as the future of this team. He became the captain in waiting, and was expected to act as such. But two years later, he's still not there. There are still reasons to question whether he'll be able to become the face of the Celtics when the Big 3 fade away.

But more than "Can he lead the Celtics?" the more troublesome question is: "Does he even want to?"

Later on in Bulpett's story, Rondo talks about ways to improve his attitude:

Im not going to point the fingers on anybody, he said. Any relationship problems I have with anybody on the team or anybody on the coaching staff, I have to do better as a player and as a leader. You know, I didnt ask for this role, but its part of it for one, being a point guard, for two, the way I play. So I just have to embrace it better.

And that's my biggest fear right now for the Celtics.

That Rondo sees his leadership role as more of a burden than a passion. That leading the Boston Celtics is just something he has to deal with, as opposed to something he's dying to do.

With that attitude, it's very easy to say the right things in training camp, but when another thing entirely to step up when it matters. And only time will tell if Rondo has that in him.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Despite Crowder's ties to Falcons, Celtics pulling for Patriots in Super Bowl

Despite Crowder's ties to Falcons, Celtics pulling for Patriots in Super Bowl

WALTHAM --  Go up and down the Boston Celtics roster and you won’t have any trouble finding players who will be cheering on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
 
But there are some Celtics who understandably have mixed feelings about the game.
 
Among them is Jae Crowder, who grew up in Villa Rica, Ga. which is about 32 miles outside of Atlanta.
 
“I’ve been cheering for the Falcons all my life,” Crowder said. “I’m here in Boston; I’ve been a Patriots fan.”
 
And within that fandom, Crowder has developed a friendship with New England players, among them being Patriots running back LaGarrette Blount.
 
Not soon after the Patriots punched their ticket to the Super Bowl, Crowder got a text message from Blount.
 
“He knows,” Crowder said of Blount. “Yeah, he knows I’m in between.”
 
Isaiah Thomas, whose hometown Seattle Seahawks were beaten by the Falcons, said Crowder didn’t become a Falcons fan until they made the playoffs.
 
“Bandwagon? But I just took his money though,” quipped Crowder, referring to the Falcons beating the Seahawks in an earlier round of the playoffs. “We did them Seahawks real dirty; bandwagon.”
 
He’s not the only Celtics player with ties to Atlanta.
 
Boston rookie Jaylen Brown grew up just a few minutes outside of Atlanta in Marietta, Ga.
 
Thomas said Brown is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
 
“I don’t know how that is,” Thomas said. “Don’t let him tell you he’s an Atlanta Falcons fan. Jae just started reppin’ them when they made the playoffs. They can do what they want; they might as well root for the Patriots.”
 
For Thomas, cheering for the Patriots is more than just supporting his fellow professional athletes. As he tries to continue growing as a player and a leader for the Celtics, the Patriots and the way they do things in many ways has been a blueprint of sorts for Thomas.
 
“They’re the team you want to be,” Thomas said. “Every year they give themselves a chance. From top to bottom, they’re 100 percent professional. They think championship every year. That’s how you should be. We want to model that. Hopefully the can go out and win it, and we can try to piggy-pack on what they did.”
 
Another Celtic with Atlanta ties is Al Horford, who made it clear which team had his support.
 
“Going to school in Florida, being in the south for so many years, college football is kind of my thing,” said Horford, who revealed that he never attended a Falcons during his nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks. “I would watch them on TV and stuff like that. I know it’s exciting for them. It’s a big deal to be in the Super Bowl. But I’m here in New England now so I’ll be cheering for the Patriots.”

Andy Dalton named Tom Brady's Pro Bowl replacement

Andy Dalton named Tom Brady's Pro Bowl replacement

With Tom Brady spending this week and next preparing for the Super Bowl, Andy Dalton has been named his replacement in the Pro Bowl. 

This will mark Dalton’s third Pro Bowl appearance. He finished fourth in the AFC in passing yards (4,206) and tied for 10th with 18 passing touchdowns. Brady threw 10 more touchdowns in four fewer games. 

Though he’s often skipped the actual games, this was the 12th season in which Brady was named to the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster. He’s been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last eight seasons.