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