Beyond the Arc: Rajon Rondo

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Beyond the Arc: Rajon Rondo

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

On a team of high-energy players who arent shy about expressing their intensity on the court, Rajon Rondo plays it cool. He rarely shows emotion, whether he is driving the lane for an improbable basket or tossing a lob for a game-winning alley-oop -- its all just part of his game.

But underneath that unaffected demeanor is a fiery player with a surging desire to win. It may not always be easy to read Rondos emotions, but there is no doubting his commitment to success.

After Rondo talked about his competitive nature with CSNNE.coms Beyond the Arc, his teammates on the Boston Celtics shared what they most appreciate about his will to win.

Kendrick Perkins has been close friends with Rondo for years. He enjoys Rondos personality both on and off the court.

Hes got like a quiet arrogance about him, Perkins said. He doesnt talk or show too much emotion, but hes arrogant with it. It helps us a lot, because when he picks it up, he picks it up for everybody.

Delonte West was teammates with Rondo during his rookie year. After playing on opposing sides for three seasons, West appreciates his competitive nature - now that it isnt being used against them.

His competitiveness is deceptive, West said. He talks a lot, communicates, and does all the right things, but as far as showing his emotions, you couldnt tell. Like in comparison to KG, by his emotions or a certain action he does, you can tell hes out there competing. KGs into the game, whereas Rondo may not give you all that emotion but hes just as fierce inside. Its like a quiet confidence that you dont understand until you actually match up against him and you see, this guy is quietly really trying to beat me (laughs).

It helps a lot because everyone is so focused on the Big Three, and you have another guy thats just sitting in the darkness and hes not trying to make any noise about it and draw attention to himself, but hes quietly one of the best point guards in the NBA and the world.

Glen Davis plays major minutes with the Celtics starters, and being on the court with Rondo helps him find his groove.

Hes just a floor general, Davis said. Hes a grinder. He wants to win and he has the urgency to win. You can just see it. Hes grown tremendously. Ive been knowing him for a while and Im glad hes on my team. Hes always pumping confidence in us, making us shoot the ball, telling us where we need to be at the right time and place.

Nate Robinson knows how important Rondo is to the Celtics success, so he takes their match ups in practice very seriously.

Hes not really cocky, but he knows that hes good, Robinson said. Thats something that every basketball player has in our system. Thats what I love about him. Hes very, very confident in himself. It motivates me to get him better every day in practice, just try to give him the best look being the other guard, and trying to keep him on his toes so when he gets a look in the game, he doesnt have a drop-off.

Von Wafer knows Rondo is going to give it his all on the court, which pushes him to do the same. He has been motivated by Rondos recent offensive attack.

Rondos been big, he said. I think he could easily average 20 points, but hes been a distributor. But hes been attacking more, scoring more. I think thats good for us. Hes a tough player. It motivates you because youve got to come out there ready to play because youre going to look bad when everyone else is playing hard and you arent. I dont want to look bad out there.

Avery Bradley came into his rookie season hungry to work hard. He was pleased to find out Rondo was on the same page.

I like how hard he plays, how much he loves the game, he said. I learn to always go hard from him. Hes even competitive in practice and some guys arent like that, but he is. It caught me off guard. All those guys, theyre competitive about everything. It was weird because thats how I am and all my friends werent like that. Now being at this level, everybody is like that.

Do you have a question for the Celtics? Tweet it to Jessica Camerato on Twitter and it may be asked on an upcoming edition of "Beyond the Arc." Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Potential is there, now how quickly will Jaylen Brown reach it?

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Potential is there, now how quickly will Jaylen Brown reach it?

Every weekday until Sept. 7, we'll take a look at each player at the Celtics roster: Their strengths and their weaknesses, their ceiling and their floor. We continue today with Jaylen Brown. For a look at the other profiles, click here.

BOSTON –  When it comes to high NBA draft picks, there’s always a certain roll-of-the-dice dynamic in play, regardless of how impressive their credentials were in making them one of the first players selected.

Among this year’s incoming rookie class, Celtics forward Jaylen Brown is indeed one of the many men of mystery whose professional basketball career officially starts in a few months.

Drafted third overall, the 6-foot-7 Brown wasn’t exactly greeted with the warmest reception by Celtics Nation, many of whom wanted Boston to draft Providence College star Kris Dunn (he was the fifth overall pick, to Minnesota) or package the No. 3 pick with other assets to acquire a superstar-caliber player like Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Utah’s Gordon Hayward or one of the Philadelphia big men, Jahlil Okafor or Massachusetts native Nerlens Noel.

But as Celtics fans witnessed when he was among the biggest stars on Boston’s summer league entry in Salt Lake City, as well as Las Vegas, Brown is indeed a player with tremendous potential that could be realized as soon as this season.  

The ceiling for Brown: All-Rookie honors

Brown’s most likely starting point as a pro will be serving as a backup to Jae Crowder, the unofficial Swiss Army knife of the Celtics roster. As we saw last season in Crowder’s first as a regular NBA starter, he can play a lot of positions on the floor and be effective.

Brown isn’t close to being as versatile as Crowder, but he does provide versatility at the wing position due to his above-average length and a level of athleticism that stands out among his fellow rookies.

Depending on what Brown does with his minutes at the start of the season – and he will play early on – he could parlay his on-court time into extended minutes, which would give him a shot at being one of the top rookies this season.

Brown isn’t going to put up the big-time numbers that Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, the No. 1 and 2 picks, will register. Still, unlike those two players, Brown will be fighting for playing time on a legitimate playoff contender.

Both the Sixers and Lakers are poised to once again be among the worst teams in the NBA.

That means Browns’ success can’t be based on statistics, but instead it has to be about impact. We saw glimpses of that in the summer when he showed off his ability to attack the rim and draw contact, which resulted in him taking more than 10 free throws per game.

No one is expecting Brown to be that proficient at getting fouls called for him, especially when you consider only two players in the NBA last season – Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins and Houston’s James Harden – averaged 10 or more free throws per game.

But Brown’s aggressive style on offense, coupled with above-average athleticism and length defensively, will bode well for his chances of being more than just a solid rookie for Boston.

Brown has the potential to make a noticeable impact, the kind that would most likely land him a spot on one of the NBA’s All-Rookie teams and move him a step closer towards being one of the NBA’s better players – a goal he has set for himself.

The floor for Brown: Active roster

If Brown struggles offensively and doesn’t adjust defensively as quick as coach Brad Stevens wants, Brown could find himself on the bench racking up a few DNP-CDs (did not play-coaches decision) this season.

Still, even if that happens, the Celtics will not let him spend too much time at the end of the bench and certainly wouldn’t look to have him on the bench in street clothes as a healthy scratch. They would just as soon send him to play or practice with the team’s Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

While the rumors swirled on draft night that Boston was indeed planning to make a blockbuster-type move that would have involved the No. 3 pick, you won’t hear anyone in the front office complaining about drafting Brown.

They love his competitiveness, his drive to steadily improve as a player as well as his athleticism, which sets him apart from most of his Celtics teammates.

But only time will tell just how quickly the faster-paced NBA game will come to Brown. He’s a player the Celtics – for now at least – have every intention of including as part of their core group going forward.

Dominique Wilkins reflects on his rivalry with Larry Bird

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Dominique Wilkins reflects on his rivalry with Larry Bird

During our series discussing the 1986 Boston Celtics, we have sat down with many players from that championship, along with members of the media that were close to the team.

This week features a few of the opponents that were very familiar with the 1980’s Celtics  - Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins, former Celtics coach (and Hawk) Doc Rivers, and Lakers great James Worthy.

Return of Gerald Green could fill vital bench role for Celtics

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Return of Gerald Green could fill vital bench role for Celtics

Every weekday until Sept. 7, we'll take a look at each player at the Celtics roster: Their strengths and their weaknesses, their ceiling and their floor. We continue today with Gerald Green. For a look at the other profiles, click here.

BOSTON –  Say what you want about Gerald Green, but his athleticism is the one thing you can bank on him delivering.

The 30-year-old Green doesn’t play above the rim nearly as much as he used to, but he does enough to where his presence will indeed be an upgrade for the Celtics this season.

But in terms of what his exact role will be, that will be worked out in the coming months as Green begins a second tour of duty with Boston (the Celtics drafted him with the 18th overall pick in 2005).

The ceiling for Green: Sixth or seventh man

Green’s return will in no way impact Jae Crowder’s status as the Celtics’ starting small forward. And Avery Bradley has nothing to worry about when it comes to Green competing for his spot as the team’s starting shooting guard, either. But Green’s experience will give him a chance to compete for minutes behind both coming off the bench.

At 6-foot-8, Green has the size and length to play both positions. And having played nine seasons in the NBA, Green has learned enough in that time to find ways to impact games in ways besides highlight-quality dunks.

Green is coming off a not-so-stellar season in Miami in which he averaged 8.9 points and 2.4 rebounds, while shooting 39.2 percent from the field and just 32.3 percent on 3s – both numbers below his career averages.

Part of Green’s drop in production last season (he averaged 11.9 points or more in three of the previous four seasons) had to do with the emergence of Justice Winslow, and Green’s own shooting struggles, which eventually led to him playing a more limited role in the Heat offense.

But in Boston, Green won’t be counted on to be a significant contributor in terms of scoring. Instead, he will be seen as a player who can be looked upon from time to time to provide some punch (offensively or defensively) from the wing. If we’re talking offense, Green can help both from the perimeter or as an effectively attacker of the rim.

The floor for Green: Active roster

As much as the attention surrounding Green’s game centers on what he does with the ball in his hands, it his defense that will keep him on the Celtics’ active roster all season. Although Miami sought scoring more often from others, doing so allowed Green to focus more of his attention on defense, which may wind up being the best thing for his career at this stage.

Coming off the bench primarily after the All-Star break, opponents shot 33.3 percent when defended by Green, which was more than 10 percentage points (10.9) below what they shot from the field (44.2) overall.

He was even tougher on opponents shooting 2-pointers against him. They were held more than 15 percentage points (15.5) below their shooting percentage from 2-point range when he was defending versus their overall shooting for the season.

But don’t be fooled.

Green can still score the ball and as he gets older, he’s finding more and more ways to do so.

While much of Green’s NBA success has come about with him attacking the rim, he has progressively improved his game as a catch-and-shoot player. In fact, 54.8 percent of his shot attempts last season were of the catch-and-shoot variety according to nba.com/stats.

That makes sense when you consider that he had an effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) of .491 when he took shots without taking any dribbles, which was better than Green’s eFG% when he shot from the floor and took at least one dribble.

Green’s second stint with the Celtics doesn’t come with nearly as much hype as there was when Boston selected him  out of high school with the 18th overall pick in 2005. Still, he has the potential to fill a vital role for the Celtics now, a role that could go far in determining how successful this season will be for himself as well as the Celtics.