Rajon Rondo, an ever-polarizing player to fans and experts alike, can get everyone to agree on this: His attitude will always, fair or not, be part of assessments of his value.
Rondo, now the undisputed leader of the Boston Celtics, played himself into top-player talk while quarterbacking the Celtics during the reign of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. He’s now considered one of the best point guards in the game and a regular trade target — when others aren’t detracting from his apparent skill, that is.
Rondo has often drawn scrutiny for his nonchalance or surly demeanor, an attitude that critics say diminishes his game and makes him less of an asset than he appears. That view was reiterated this week in an ESPN Insider article in which an anonymous Eastern Conference scout unloaded on Rondo.
“Three years ago, I was the only scout saying Rondo is overrated, and I was crucified for it,” the scout said. “I was saying he was awful. I think he’s a selfish player. He’s only going to pass it to you if he thinks he can get an assist. I’ve seen him come out for pregame warm-ups with his shoes untied, shooting lefty foul shots. For him to come out for a game with that attitude makes me question his work ethic. I’ve never liked his game.
“If you play with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen at close to their peak, they’re going to raise everyone’s game. Defensively, Rondo’s a bit of a gambler, and I don’t think his defense is all that. If I was starting a team and had my choice of any point guard, he would be 40th. I mean it. I’d take some backups before him.”
The article comes out a day after Rondo had another less-than-pleasant run-in with the media, this time over why he missed a game on the Celtics’ recent West Coast road trip. While scouts, coaches or fans have little to quibble about in terms of Rondo’s talent, his ability to get along and make the most of that talent is a highly debatable topic — and one that apparently still carries weight to those who might help shape Rondo’s free-agent future.