Celtics’ Rajon Rondo Learning How to Lead Without Hurting the Team


October 22, 2009

Celtics' Rajon Rondo Learning How to Lead Without Hurting the Team It seems as if all was not well in the world of the Celtics last season, but nobody really had any idea of how bad it got once Kevin Garnett went down.

According to Yahoo Sports, 23-year-old point guard Rajon Rondo's late-season suggestion for a team airing-of-grievances meeting could have caused a rift in the Green that persisted for the remainder of the season.

On April 12, following an embarrassing 107-76 loss at Cleveland, Rondo's attempt to rally the troops during a flight to Philadelphia went horribly wrong as two warring sides seemed to form: the young guys versus the Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

"I hate player meetings," Rivers told Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. "The right things are never said. I've always believed that either guys blow smoke up each other's [butts], or they go the completely opposite way and say [expletive] they can't repair. Well, they had it and everyone got on the bus all pissed off at each other."

Although Rondo didn't vent much during the ill-fated meeting in the back of the team plane, one young player who challenged Garnett later said he wished he'd never spoken up.

Rivers believes it was Rondo's way of taking a leadership role on a team struggling without its biggest defensive asset — and its biggest motivator.

"Here we are, going to the playoffs, and the problem was that Kevin wasn't playing and it's tough to lead when you're not playing," Rivers said. "I don't think you can. There was that and a lot of other crap going on."

Rondo went into the meeting with good intentions, although the likelihood of him ever staging a repeat vent-session seems small.

"It's hard to play when guys have things on their chest," he said. "I think it's best to get it off there. But obviously Doc thinks otherwise. A lot of guys said what they had to say, but I don't know if it helped us or hurt us."

At least he learned his lesson.

"I think Rondo did learn," Rivers said. "You do learn a lot of times by trial and error. And it's usually error."

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