Rajon Rondo could be a little difficult to deal with early in his career. In fact, Rondo admits those days are not completely behind him.
In a series of videos released by Red Bull, one of Rondo’s marketing partners, the Celtics point guard touched on his relationship with Doc Rivers and how his bond with his coach has grown over the years. One of the knocks on Rondo has been that he is tough to coach, and he did not dispute that when it was mentioned to him.
“I still am,” Rondo said. “It’s not that I’m hard to coach, it’s that I may challenge what you say. I know the game myself. I’m out there playing the game, so I may have saw something different versus what you saw from the sidelines, so I’m going to be respectful. I’m going to let the coach talk. Me and Doc talk all the time, just different dialogues, but we’ve built to that relationship. We’ve been together for seven years, so if I’ve got any questions, he pretty much has all the answers, and if he doesn’t, he’s always honest with me. Like I said, I wouldn’t rather play for any other coach.”
If Rondo truly would rather not play for any coach but Rivers, he must be watching this offseason’s proceedings closely. Rivers has yet to commit to returning to the bench for the Celtics next season, and a report Monday suggested Rivers would be hesitant to commit to another long-term rebuild. Rondo devoted a lot of time to building his relationship with Rivers. Come next season, he may have to start all over again with a new coach.
“We’ve always been on the same page, pretty much,” Rondo said. “Each year we’re growing, learning each other more and communicating better each year.”
Rondo has become more receptive to criticism, he said, because he came to understand where Rivers was coming from. Now 27, Rondo said he sees Rivers was tough because he cared.
“As a young player, you always think the coach is being hard on you,” Rondo said. “He should be. If he’s not, it means he doesn’t care. They always say, ‘When I stop talking to you, that’s when you should worry,’ versus when he’s hollering at you. My first year was pretty rough, but I have great mentors in my life that I could call, that would say, you’ve got to listen to your coach, so I was able to make it through that. It wasn’t a big deal, it was just tough. We lost 18 in a row that year, so I felt I could help the team.
“Then you’ve got to look at it a different way. The way I look at Doc, you know, the coach doesn’t want to hurt you. We all want the same thing, which is a win. Whatever he’s telling me or the team, it’s for the betterment of the team. You have to take yourself out of it and look at it from a team aspect.”