Before this season, Doc Rivers was the only NBA head coach Rajon Rondo ever had. While they are no longer both employed by the Boston Celtics, Rivers hasn’t stopped being Rondo’s coach from afar.
Now in his eighth season, Rondo has jelled easily with Brad Stevens, the first-year head coach of the rebuilding Celtics. After adhering to Stevens’ instructions for 48 minutes and listening to Stevens’ postgame breakdown, though, Rondo occasionally seeks out a more familiar voice.
“I speak to Doc all the time,” Rondo told Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe. “I’ve talked to him on the phone. I’ve talked to him after games, text-wise. He gives me advice all the time.”
The major piece of advice Rivers has imparted, according to Holmes, is to be patient. The retooling process will not be fast or easy in Boston, as Rivers and Rondo know from experience. They weathered the 2006-07 season together, winning just 24 games and losing a franchise-record 18 straight at one point.
But Rondo also knows being part of a turnaround has its benefits. After taking part in the 2008 championship and helping to lead the Celtics deep into the playoffs the next year, Rondo was rewarded with a five-year, $55 million extension. Similar rewards could await anyone on this season’s team who is still around when times get good again.
“Everything I tell guys or any advice I give is for the betterment of them and the team,” Rondo told the Globe. “I don’t benefit from it — well, maybe from getting an assist — but I want them to be in the right rotation defensively. I want us to all be on the same page. And then when we win, we all win. When we win, everybody gets paid.”
Rivers couldn’t have said it better.