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Pierce, Garnett talk Rondo’s adjustment to injury, very different team

Jul 22, 2013, 9:55 AM EDT

Rajon Rondo AP

The Boston Celtics are Rajon Rondo’s team now.

The veteran leaders Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are long gone, which was already going to make this a strange season for Rondo — they have gone from a team that thought about titles to rebuilding. Add in the fact Rondo is coming back off an ACL injury and it gets tougher.

Garnett and Pierce were speaking to ESPN Boston’s Jackie MacMullan and they had a word of advice for Rondo — don’t rush your return back from injury. And understand the losing is temporary if you keep growing.

“Right now, he’s injured, and I told him this is probably going to be the toughest year of your whole career, mentally and physically,” Pierce said. “Physically, you’re dealing with an injury. Mentally, you know nothing but winning since you came into the league… You may be put in a situation where you may not win a lot of games. You have to be a leader now; you know me and Kev are not there anymore.

“You have to go through these times. I’ve been through them. I explained to him how I went through it. I feel like, I’m one of the best players in the league and now… [Rondo is] going to be in that situation for maybe one year or two years, who knows? But you have to be mentally prepared for it, and that’s some of the things we talked about.”

Pierce might simply have been speculating, but he had noted earlier Thursday that Rondo is “probably not going to be back until probably December, January, who knows?”

There has been talk about Rondo being ready for opening night. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. But he’s just entering his prime at 27 and shouldn’t try to push through too much to make it just get back on the court. Don’t risk your career to play injured, it will still be there in a month or three.

Leadership will be developing good habits for a team that is not winning, building a foundation to be there when the talent starts to fill in on the roster. Rondo can do that, but it’s a new role where he is the leader.

  1. 1historian - Jul 22, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    grow up

    • jcmeyer10 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      You can say that after this season. Give the kid a chance to actually be a leader here before you smack him down.

      • redbaronx - Jul 22, 2013 at 12:07 PM

        @jcmeyer10 – Pierce wasn’t “smacking him down”. He was just saying this is going to be a tough year, and he’s absolutely correct. Coming back from injury is tough by itself. Rondo is going to have to deal with less talent on the team, a more inexperienced coaching staff, and it’s going to be more of a struggle. And he’s the only one left there with that championship / winning experience and he’s going to have to teach the other guys how to push through things.

        I really don’t understand you guys that make these negative comments anytime someone analyzes anything on these posts. If someone says “The Lakers are going to have to rebuild” people start calling them “haters”. If someone says “Miami needs to reinforce in the interior” that’s “hating”. If someone says “Boston is going to have a rough year” it’s “hating”.

        Can we please stop with all the moronic comments about “hating” or “smacking” down on here? Not everything YOU disagree with is a put down or negative!

      • jcmeyer10 - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:27 PM

        I was talking to 1historian slamming Rondo without giving him time to prove he can grow up. This is a new situation for Rondo, we have no idea how he will react.

  2. ProBasketballPundit - Jul 22, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Rondo’s first season was without Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett and the Celtics won 24 games. Just sayin.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jul 22, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      Two very different teams talent wise.

    • jcmeyer10 - Jul 22, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      It’s even more crazy when you think that they had the talented Ray Allan on the team. No that’s not a typo.

      How does a team like that not win more than 24 games!?!

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:13 AM

        Because they didn’t have Ray Allen. They had Pierce, Al Jefferson and their third highest scorer was Wally Szczerbiak.

      • jcmeyer10 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:22 AM

        No they didn’t have Ray Allen, they had Ray Allan. A kid from Villanova who only played one year. I said Allen/Allan wasn’t a typo.

        http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/BOS/2007.html

      • jcmeyer10 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:24 AM

        To the people who downvoted me assuming I meant Ray Allen, please read my comment, note the sarcasm.

        Ray Allan played 22 career games, and was a four year player from Villanova. What I was trying to say is, this team now has more talent (on the whole) than that team.

        If you are still confused, follow this link to actually learn something about that team.

        http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/BOS/2007.html

      • jcmeyer10 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:26 AM

        You are very right, 35 to be exact.

      • jcmeyer10 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:26 AM

        Sorry I meant Allan Ray.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        You mean Allan Ray, the guy whose eye got gouged out at Villanova?

      • redbaronx - Jul 22, 2013 at 12:10 PM

        Ray Allen was NOT on the team that won 24 games the year before the championship. Ray Allen and Garnett came on board the SAME YEAR (2008) they won the banner.

      • pdub923 - Jul 22, 2013 at 1:54 PM

        wow. disaster.

      • 00maltliquor - Jul 22, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        Don’t you mean Allan Ray? That WAS a typo, trying to be too cute. Aren’t you a Celtics fan? How I know your old fringe players better then you?

      • 00maltliquor - Jul 22, 2013 at 3:42 PM

        …..oh, scrolled down a little more to find out you caught your own mistake. **facepalm** #fail #doh!

      • jcmeyer10 - Jul 22, 2013 at 6:25 PM

        It’s all good. I deserve some flak for jumping on it without getting my facts straight.

  3. lastdukestreetking - Jul 22, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Didn’t Pierce also miss quite a bit of Rondo’s first season due to injury?

    • gugurich - Jul 22, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      Yeah and they lost 19 straight games while he was out.

      That was one young, overmatched team. They didn’t have a lot of veterans besides Pierce to begin with but the few they had like Wally and Theo Ratliff, were also out, although both were well past their prime and not significant contributors. Ainge then took that young core, minus Rondo and Perkins, and got Garnett out of it. Thank you McHale, you deserve another jersey in the rafters!

      There was not one meaningfully close game in that losing stretch. They must have trailed by 20 points in every one of them. The other teams weren’t even playing that hard. A few of the games ended up looking closer than they were because the Celtics made some empty fourth quarter comebacks after teams packed it in.

  4. melo5812 - Jul 22, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    The season they won 24 games is the year they ended up with the 5th overall pick which they used to trade to the then supersonics for ray Allen so sorry to say ray was not in that team I believe their starting 5 that year was Kendrick Perkins al Jefferson Paul pierce tony Allen and rondo and yes pierce was hurt for a lot of that season!

  5. melo5812 - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Next time I wanna be funny and use sarcasm get the name straight so the rest of us can enjoy it as well lol

  6. dezglobal - Jul 22, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Rondo isn’t the type of leader Pierce is.. He’s the type of player that will demand a trade before making things work.

  7. dls612 - Jul 22, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    There’s many questions as to how well he do this up coming season! Not only returning from an serious injury ,Rondo might not gel with his new teammates or his coach. He had crazy chemistry with Paul and Kevin and they’re gone. I picture him being more frustrated than anything and wanting out!

  8. onlyavoice - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    December or January???
    Just As Long As He Can Play & Everyone Can See It Before The Feb. Trade Deadline.
    Then Ainge Will Make The Blockbuster Trade.

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