2.24.2009

Russell's Barber Can't Use Occam's Razor

So last week, the thing du jour around the basketball blogosphere was Michael Lewis's NYT article, specifically its discussion of how players like Battier, wholly complete and savvy behind-the-scenes type guys who do little things we can't notice, make happiness and winning. It's interesting stuff and more good than bad, but at this point is probably like two months away from falling into evil hands and being subverted into some form of scientific discrimination—maybe a reason to keep Julian Wright off the floor. What interests me at this point are the differences between the explosively subtle. The two top teams in the East both feature point guards who are both far from superstars and absolutely and completely indispensable to everything they do. And they could not be more different in every way possible. While Mo's fundamental soundness have stabilized the Cavaliers to a great degree, the far more interesting case study in my opinion is what Rondo's glorious incompletionism and rejection of fundamentals at the individual level have done for his team.

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I'm not even going to try and put a quick label on Rondo. He simply defies them, whether positive or negative. As much as any player in the NBA, Rondo is paradox incarnate. Rather than being a paradigm of quiet contribution and efficiency at all times—the standard "know your role" PG—Rondo is at once an unstoppable for whom there is no possible answer and a gaping wound whose weakness provides a possible attack point. He is the type of young, talented, and developing player who normally thrive on bad teams, but he runs the point for the league's current juggernaut. He the worst shooting guard in the NBA, and yet leads all guards in FG%. He's brimming with athletic skill and his body looks like the product of Jay Bilas being allowed access to the Forge of Hephaestus, and yet he's more beloved by stat heads than scouts. His play is more audacious than any guard in the league, and yet he is the unknown star of the Celtics.

The fantastic of Rondo all traces back to the fact that he has no jump shot. This is hardly news. However, it is important to make some distinctions between having a bad jump shot and Rondo's jump shot. Russell Westbrook and Raymond Felton have bad jump shots. They are given space and it is the goal of every defense to force them into taking a shot, and it is a constant struggle for them to create lanes by trying to keep defenses honest. Rondo has no jump shot. He has eschewed it. It is a false God to him. It is not a part of his decision tree but an unwelcome last resort. Defenses do not try to force him to take a jump shot, for there is no pretense he will actually take one. When Rondo gets the ball in his hands, the clarity of his goal actually leads to a greater set of permutations than it normally would-if we are to stretch the metaphor of the outside shots, than the difference between other point guards' possessions and Rondo's possessions are the difference between a gunfight and swordplay.

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To wish, as most do, for a Rondo with a jumpshot is to wish for a sober Bukowski, a Woody Allen with normal relationships, Obama without the Bush era. Part of what makes him so much better this year, and most of what makes the Celtics tolerable now, is Rondo's embracing of his own destiny and his mandate to all others to get on board. Rondo this year has matured by regressing to his orginal state and taking it to its logical conclusion, rather than attempting to straddle compromise. Whereas last year, he flirted with the idea of playing like a conventional point guard and even started to become passable at it-last year 56% of his shots were jumpers and he shot a very acceptable 42% on them, which is far from terrible. All his shots were wide-open, yes, but that is a better mark than LeBron James has ever posted. This year, however, he has decided to completely reject any semblance of obeying a positional doctrine and has seen his jump shot FG% fall to 33% and, more importantly, has upped his percentage of "inside" shots to 58%, which is a full 10% higher than the next guard and higher than, for example, Pau Gasol and Amare Stoudemire.

At the same time, while Rondo would occasionally sit in the corner and take a passive offensive role last season and allow Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to make the plays, this year he demands that the veterans fall into line and allow him to be the one who creates. And Rondo is perhaps the purest creator in the NBA. I've long maintained that point guards are like writers, whose effectiveness is determined not by their own personal ability to put the ball in the basket but to turn the court into their own dark funhouse and make the opposing team see the game on the point guard's revised and ultimately manipulative terms. Steve Nash's world is one of impossible choices-he is the best-shooting guard in the league, and he forces defenders to attempt to consolidate their force into a stationary Maginot line that he can fit the ball around. Chris Paul's is one of forced annexation-he is everywhere on the court he wants to be, invading spaces (against the Lakers, there was one possession where he got a basket by going to the basket by dribbling in step behind Lamar Odom's turned back) and blowing up rotations into a chaos only he can see angles through. Rondo's game is predicated, more than anything else, on his ability to become a creature of nightmares. While Paul is a wily trickster who flits around defenders and coerces them out of their comfort zones, Rondo uses his athleticism to fool defenders into seeing things as simpler than they really are. For Rondo to succeed without having any sort of personal go-to scoring moves, he must make himself capable of all things.

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The most important of Rondo's myriad dichotomies is his relationship to the rebulous concept of completionism. Clearly, Rondo is an incomplete player on an individual level. However, on a team level, he completes his team in a way Battier could only dream of doing for his own. Rondo's lack of individual manuevers means that all of his actions are aimed at either getting to the basket or creating a wide-open shot for somebody else; his lack of completion makes him exist less as a player and rather as a concept of absolute efficiency-that he has no step-back jumper as his Plan B just means the game to him is an infinite number of paths to Plan A. Not only does Rondo thrive on the Celtics, but he could only exist on the Celtics-without options around him, his freedom would be channeled unto himself instead of serving to transform him into a manifestation of Occam's Katana Blade. And it should be noted that the receiving end of Rondo's creation is often a simple 18-foot jumper by Kevin Garnett, who, many years ago would once position himself as the roll man and look to spin and finish in a spectacular and wholly improvised fashion before he became Complete and relegated himself to an upgraded Antonio McDyess.

Mo Williams, who I'm realizing I find far less interesting than Rondo, nonetheless provides the counterpoint to how individual completionism can have team-level benefits. Mo utilizes a sort of hybridization of the short-lived Iversonian school of scoring, which is to block out the court and turn the game into a battle against one defender for the best immediately possible shot opportunity and the new efficiency-dictated model for scoring, which is to find a way to get the ball to the most high-percentage shots on the floor and to value quality possessions over shot creation.

Mo functions well as a finisher of created plays, but with the ball in his hands Mo has a few spots on the floor that he uses a screen to get to and can always get off a decent-percentage shot from. This shows in Mo's stat line-with radically different teammates around him, his PER is exactly the same as it was last year, and his shot breakdown remains nearly identical. Mo doesn't change dynamics of a given play the way Rondo does, but his abilities as an Island Unto Self provide a foundation atop which ball movement and the general Amazing made by LeBron can then be placed with Mo functioning as a safety net.

And so there it is-Mo succeeds with fundamentals, Rondo with spectacularly flawed gifts. To say that a combination of them would be the perfect guard is to miss the point of them entirely.

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40 Comments:

At 2/24/2009 3:04 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Careful here,... if the Cleveland fans gets the idea in their head that you're praising rondo as more likable or "FD" than their beloved ALL STAR Mo, we're all gonna be in for another inferiority complex firestorm...

Cleveland is turning into the New Boston, before they won all those titles recently.

 
At 2/24/2009 3:06 PM, Blogger breene said...

I wish that assassins poster was in french and the guys had a maple leaf on their red shirts.

I think Rondo's evolution is the lynch pin to the Celtics being fun to watch this year. And I hate to say this, but I sorta miss the Milwaukee Bucks' Mo, not that he hasn't been great this year.

 
At 2/24/2009 3:18 PM, Blogger DocZeus said...

Rondo wouldn't nearly be as effective if he didn't have three Hall of Famers drawing the attention of the defense. It's his teammates that allow Rondo to do what he does not the other way around. You place Rondo on a bad team and he's a slightly better version of Sebastian Telfair. Mo Williams has proved that he'd be basically the same player regardless of his situation. It's not flashy but it's startlingly effective thus not "FD" and thus something that will win you games. There is a reason that Spurs own the Suns' soul.

"Cleveland is turning into the New Boston, before they won all those titles recently."

Boston never should have been bitching in the first place since the Celtics winning 16 championships instantly negated the 86 years that the Red Sox sucked. Try 50 years of complete and total failure on all fronts before you begin to whine, Morrisey. It's been Cleveland's birthright to be the star-crossed, self-loathing whiny underdogs but Cubs and Boston fans have stolen it from us out of bad faith because Bill Simmons gets to write a column for ESPN.com.

 
At 2/24/2009 3:24 PM, Blogger Krolik1157 said...

@ DocZeus-don't I say that Rondo could only exist on the Celtics in the graph below the assassins poster? (BTW, Breene-props.) That's part of what makes him cool-instead of completing his own game, he's focused his attention on completing an offense.

And Telfair's issue has never actually been his outside shot, although that's been bad-he's never been able to finish inside. Telfair shoots less than 40% on "inside" shots, which is horrifyingly bad and actually worse than his number on jumpers. Rondo from inside shoots 65%, a top-5 mark among guards. So comparison not valid. Pet peeve of mine when people don't realize how much of a difference in finishing ability exists among guards.

And if this post turns into a Boston/Cleveland bitch-fest, than I apologize to humanity for allowing this to exist.

 
At 2/24/2009 3:31 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

One of the things I love about Westbrook is that he's not just an inconsistent jump-shooter, he's also far from money around the basket. Which is hilarious, considering he's able to get there ahead of/over pretty much anyone standing in his way.

 
At 2/24/2009 3:55 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

I've thought this all along and will continue to argue that Rondo wouldn't be as good for the celtics if he made (and presumably took) more outside shots. He's constantly probing for weaknesses, and when no layup or dunk can be found he'll kick it out to one of the many efficient shooters on the floor. If Rondo were able to shoot, when on the surface it appeared that no other avenues were open, it would make him less dynamic, less unique and even less effective. And even though Rondo has that great inside finsihing rate I feel like he blows a ton of layups, which only goes to reinforce how easily he finishes most of them.

WV: sords - what Rondo brings to a knife fight.

 
At 2/24/2009 4:08 PM, Blogger Nicholas said...

Good point about Rondo's eschewing the jump shot. There's a certain suspense there that doesn't exist with a "complete" player--we know the drive is coming, we just don't know when or how. It's like prose vs. poetry. Poetry doesn't make promises; it goes where it will and we're left to follow. Prose (at least, conventional prose) shows us a conflict, and provides drama through the collision of desire and obstacle. Kobe is a poet, employing infinite countermoves to address obstacles without confronting or overpowering them directly. Rondo's form is prosaic--each of his possessions might as well begin "He was [a young] man who [ran point in boston] and he had gone eighty-four [seconds] now without taking a [layup]."

 
At 2/24/2009 4:50 PM, Blogger Teddy said...

Excellent--I've been eagerly awaiting a long-form Rondo post.

Random thought--For all of the KG-Bill Russell comparisons that got drawn last year, the better historical analogy is between Rondo and Bob Cousy (who shot all of 37% from the floor for his career).

 
At 2/24/2009 5:02 PM, Blogger DocZeus said...

Krolik-

You're right I apologize, I misread your argument. I was more caught up in your thesis that Rondo was the dynamic driving engine of the team. I think he's just a product of the system.

However, I still think he's an overrated figure because his game is predicated on those around him. He's the fourth option on a team of four options and he's talented enough to succeed in this but if he's the first or second best player on your team, you're team is winning 17 games. However, my point about comparing him to Telfair is that Rondo couldn't possibly succeed as a player as well as he does if he's got to be the Man since his game is so limited. You place Mo Williams on the Celtics, he's Mo Williams. You place Rajon Rondo on the Cavs, he's Larry Hughes(metaphorically speaking).

Of course, he's much better than Telfair because he does the little things. Like play excellent defense. And hustle. And give a crap. Rondo's got balls which is why it's working on the Celtics and Telfair will continue to be a failure.

But's he's in a class below young point guards like Mo, Rose, Harris Jameer Nelson, et al. Let alone, CP3, Nash, and Deron Williams. He needs to learn to shoot before he can get that.

I'm not necessarily sure he's inherently better than Delonte West.

 
At 2/24/2009 5:29 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

From the vaults: Here's my cheerleader-y assessment of Rondo's future during last year's Finals.

 
At 2/24/2009 5:38 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

What about his use of English around the basket and spectacular turnovers and streak/slump tendencies aside from shooting? Those are intriguing.

 
At 2/24/2009 5:42 PM, Blogger Jon L said...

Connecting Rondo with Telfair is interesting to me, because Bassy was also part of the Celtics the year before the big trades. Come to think of it, so was Delonte West.

Which makes me wonder, what is it about Danny Ainge that attracts him to these types of flawed PGs?

 
At 2/24/2009 6:01 PM, Blogger the_capital_t said...

This post needs to be copy-edited in a couple of places, but, in general, it's a brilliant piece of writing. Well done, man.

 
At 2/24/2009 6:07 PM, Blogger Kaifa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 2/24/2009 6:10 PM, Blogger Kaifa said...

Since you mention the new stats approach falling into evil hands, I feel obligated to point to the Wizznutzz'z take on this:

http://www.wizznutzz.com/2009/02/nba-trade-deadline-came-and-went-last.html

I just hope it doesn't steer the discussion away from an excellent post. I really like Rondo vs. Nash or Paul and I think there might be an at least 4-dimensional Ziller diagram hidden in it. Something about creating angles, gaining space, degree of perfection of certain skills, scoring vs. setting up instinct, all cross-referenced with different types of shots created for themselves and others.

Also, when thinking of Rondo vs. Paul, they both have a great alley-oop combo going with KG and Chandler respectively. But Paul/Chandler is much more confined to tight spaces and plays out more on the vertical plain while Rondo/KG usually covers much more horizontal distance. My first assumption was that the deciding factor was who was on the receiving end of the play, KG being guarded further out than Chandler.

But the short lobs of Paul are probably also a direct result of him "annecting" as much space as possible before making a play. Rondo on the other hand throws the ball up quickly before the two pick and roll defenders can even decide to sag off of him while KG immediately dives to the basket. So the alley-oop seems like another method to not having to decide whether to shoot a jumper.

 
At 2/24/2009 6:58 PM, Blogger Dan Filowitz said...

This is an excellent post.

In terms of the impact of the other HOF players around Rondo: remember at the beginning of last season, when everyone said that the Celtics couldn't win, even with Pierce-Allen-KG, because Rondo was their PG?

It would have been impossible for Rondo not to have heard all of that talk. How must that have impacted him, mentally?

Pair that with playing for an ex-PG as a coach, and with a notoriously intense and competitive KG. Imagine the pressure.

The fact that he not only overcame that but thrived last year is a testament to him. That he's become even better this year is incredible.

Also, I remember some discussion here that if the Celtics won the title last year, the weight of expectations would be lifted and we could see all these players return to the form we all loved, but even more liberated, since they were bestowed with championship legitimacy. This was more in relation to KG, but it seems like it's definitely applying to Rondo. As you say, "this year he demands that the veterans fall into line and allow him to be the one who creates."


wv: indeds - RIP, Omar.

 
At 2/24/2009 7:01 PM, Blogger carbs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 2/24/2009 7:09 PM, Blogger Fifty Ninjas said...

This is what interests me, Rondo is obviously a flawed point guard, but those flaws make him less bad, rather than an untraditionally good, point guard. In other words, the Celts are fine with his flaws, because his strengths are magnified by the strengths of the players around him (when all four of his teammates have above average outside shots, why should he need one as well?).

However, as evidenced by the signing of Miki Moore, they fail to use the same reasoning when assessing their inside role players (Powe, Big Baby, Scalabrine, and even Perkins). They simply stick to traditional guidelines of big man assessment (7' or more = GOOD, 6'11" or less = BAD). I mean whose to say that 300 pounds, or more, of Baby wearing on Gasols legs won't wear on him in the Finals more than 220 pounds of Mikki. Or if Powe's offensive pressure wouldn't counter Odom's new love of rebounding.

Interesting that the franchise can love a non-conforming backcourt that succeeds (shouldn't Eddie House's completely illogical role, and SUCCESS, as Rondo's back-up at least warrant a footnote in this debate?), while the same team must stick to a uniform criteria at the four and five.

 
At 2/24/2009 8:20 PM, Blogger Krolik1157 said...

kaifa-there was an original PS that said that there could well have been a four-quadrant Ziller graph off of this with "Court Changers vs. Island unto Self" on the X-Axis and "Active vs. Passive" on the Y.

And by the way, I promise this piece was in drafts before this weekends Rondo-plosion. Ask Shoals if you don't believe me.

Finally, all these comments are reminding me how much I miss you guys.

 
At 2/25/2009 12:42 AM, Blogger ItTakesAThiefToCatchAThief said...

I need a post on the upcoming apocalypse that is Marbury and KG on the same team.

 
At 2/25/2009 7:21 AM, Blogger StreakShooter McFloorburn said...

Somebody may want to slap me for bringing up LeBron again here, but Rondo definitely lives up to a cliche that's been used for LeBron and others; that they never had to develop a jump shot because they could go by everybody on every level they played on, and - like LeBron, Rondo can easily get to the rim at will, even against NBA players. He won't need a real mid/long range shot 'til he's in his mid-30's unless some team makes him their first or second option on offense, but if and/or when he needs or chooses to get one, and only if he still plays for Boston, I think it should be an old-fashioned set shot. From another angle, I guess this post helps me understand FD's love for Iverson a bit more as well, as he is an even more deeply flawed player who finishes well at the rim but has a laughable (though existent) outside shot. Here comes an Iverson related tangent: How does the FD community feel about players whose physical talents are clearly not what they once were refusing to adapt to age? Should guys just retire once they're not exciting anymore? I mean, say what you want about Jason Kidd, but he at least finally got his 3 point shot to a point where it's consistently reliable. Iverson still has enough left physically that if he'd bothered to become more well rounded or (gasp!) fundamental as a scorer, he could still be a legit superstar in the NBA, or at least legitimately help a team. Would he be less enjoyable this way or inspire vitriol in this space for having done so? He's rapidly becoming a tragic figure, with Detroit's horrible play of late and seemingly headed towards failing to live up to even the expectation that they would still be a second round playoff team this year, and possibly falling out of the playoffs in the mediocre mid-pack of the Eastern Conference if they continue their current slump. I know it's been brought up, here and other places, before - but does he even have any value past that of his contract after this season? I could never really tell if FD cares more about the narrative than the players. As in, do y'all root for McGrady to continue down the spiral, possibly retiring in relative anonymity after a botched surgical procedure/failed recovery, or do you wish for him to have a triumphant return from microfracture in a year, rested, renewed, and ready to cast off his demons? I can't imagine you'd want a Penny Hardaway or Grant Hill style story (years of good or mediocre play on decent-to-bad teams). Is it simply a matter of which outcome makes for a better story? He certainly hasn't ever been aggressively unpleasant, that is, unless you're a Houston or Orlando fan that thought he'd carry your team to any meaningful type of success. If the answer truly is story over substance, I might suggest a WWE blog, or perhaps an Olympics blog next time those roll around. No disrespect intended, I'd actually love to read FD quality writing on either of those subjects, and am honestly looking for answers.

 
At 2/25/2009 9:07 AM, Blogger Mercurialblonde said...

How would the Celtics play if Delonte West was still their point guard?

 
At 2/25/2009 9:52 AM, Blogger W2 said...

Great post. Rondo is a huge dose of fun. Is there another player who can play at a top three point guard level one week and a numer twelve the next.

Additionally, is there a more FD point guard crew than Starbury, Rondo, and Eddie House? They even let Tony Allen run the point. Every possession will hold the potential for highlight reel good times or Toine-like, cover your eyes disaster.

 
At 2/25/2009 12:39 PM, Blogger jim said...

The only problem I had with this was that Rondo does have a little individual scoring move. He has that thing where he fakes it around his back and then brings it back around to pass or lay it in or clank it off the bottom of the backboard. He does it from 3 or 4 angles and about twice a game.

 
At 2/25/2009 1:37 PM, Blogger mattocsd said...

"Mo utilizes a sort of hybridization of the short-lived Iversonian school of scoring, which is to block out the court and turn the game into a battle against one defender for the best immediately possible shot opportunity and the new efficiency-dictated model for scoring, which is to find a way to get the ball to the most high-percentage shots on the floor and to value quality possessions over shot creation."

Seriously??? sentence or paragraph. I may have broken a sweat trying to get through that article. Good content but... Just trying to remember what you were even talking about at the end of some of those parasentences was a chore.

As for Rondo. Really?? You seemed to of put great time and thought into this piece. And you even may know what you're talking about. But Rondo??? Is he truly worth this type of discussion? I think not.

Good day sir...I SAID GOOD DAY!!

 
At 2/25/2009 2:13 PM, Blogger W2 said...

Rondo just torched Nash and Billups. He held his own against CP3 and Williams. He is the point guard and director of a top three offense in the NBA (wins baby).

Plus he is a weird dude. Figure skating. The article is a bit all over but this is Darko and these monkeys through decent smelling shit!

 
At 2/25/2009 2:46 PM, Blogger Burley said...

To expand on a comment above:
If Kobe is a poet, freewheeling and improvising his way to basket.
If Rondo is an essayist, using creative flourishes within set boundaries to convey a predictable and repeated story.
Then I would say that Lebron is the published academic scientist, whose talent lies in taking a difficult and infinite concept (scoring points, in all its various forms), and is able to boil said research down into the clear and easily understood form of the Scientific Abstract: all the important details of procedure and conclusions in one page or less (I will dribble the ball, my body will get to the basket, there may or may not be people in the way, the ball will go in the basket).

 
At 2/25/2009 2:57 PM, Blogger mattocsd said...

So he torched two past their prime pg's. And he held his own (as most all starting pg's in the NBA should)against two of the best.

I'm not saying he isnt a good pg. I just question the root of this whole post. I honestly dont think he has the type of game that is worthy of being dissected. As some others have already posted-you stick in another random pg and you very well could/should/would get the same results...wins baby

 
At 2/25/2009 3:02 PM, Blogger RHYbread said...

@Burley

You might have gotten that backwards.

Lebron is the poet, freewheeling and improvising, making whatever he does work, because rhyme and meter are good in theory but all that matters is the final product.

Kobe is the published senior scientist, his status and ability the result of years of work and late nights all alone at the lab bench. The final result seems so polished and relatively easy to understand, because no one ever wants to read the part of the paper talking about the materials and techniques used, or how the entire experiment and hypothesis were formatted.

 
At 2/25/2009 4:03 PM, Blogger Caleb Tyler Adam said...

Sorry, but anyone comparing Rajon Rondo and Sebastian Telfair and using the words "slightly better" to describe Rondo hasn't seen the two play this year. I watch Telfair every week (usually more than once) since I live in Minny and you all know Boston is on TV all the time. Rondo is a far superior defender, a far superior rebounder, and, as Krolik pointed out, Rondo's game is finishing at the rim whereas Telfair simply CAN'T finish. I can't tell you the number of times Bassy's brought me to my feet with an illy combo of ballhandling & quickness only to have the layup he threw up from his 3 foot hip get rejected by a weakside defender.

 
At 2/25/2009 6:20 PM, Blogger Burley said...

@RHYbread

I was going off a previous poster who made the Kobe=poetry analogy. And I go with that one, because while Kobe has much more of the "I can score with the fadeaway, the spin, the up and under," etc., and his actual style of getting his points is so creative, while Lebron's method is much more "We both know I'm getting from point A to point B, but, much as with a runaway locomotive, you will not stop me." Hence the Scientific Abstract: Hypothesis, Procedure, Expected Result.

 
At 2/25/2009 6:35 PM, Blogger Manesh said...

@ mattocsd

Maybe you should look at Rondo's stats for the last five games (and stats in general0 before you comment again. Not "any" point guard can do this stuff.

 
At 2/25/2009 9:25 PM, Blogger mattocsd said...

@ Manesh

So by looking at just stats(last 5 games or season) which you seem inclined to-should I be waiting to see a post dissecting Nate Robinson? c'mon. You've again missed my point. Gushing over Rondo as Krolic did is simply not justified. Yes, HE IS GOOD. Yes he won a ring. But, to me, thats where it stops. I believe that you can manufacture any manifesto about a players game and make it sound legendary i suppose. Hey, maybe someday Rondo will be worthy of this but right now i just cant see it. I know i'm repeating myself,but with the great ones or even really good ones you can do this, put him on an average team and then we ARE reading a post about Nate Robinson instead. Krolics post actually disappoints me because its something i would excpect from a drooling Celtic fan that had a thesaurus next him hyping up his favorite team. Is that you??

 
At 2/25/2009 11:24 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

I thought a main point of the post was that he was flawed. Just sayin'.

 
At 2/25/2009 11:59 PM, Blogger mattocsd said...

"flawed GIFTS"...sayin.

maybe i'm reading to much into this.

or maybe more of you need to CLOSELY reread it.

 
At 2/26/2009 3:25 AM, Blogger Crabbie said...

...or maybe you aren't familiar with this blog and its ethos.

This was a great post, and why I come to this site.

 
At 2/26/2009 5:31 AM, Blogger Bhel Atlantic said...

Most amazing is Rondo's admission here that he intends no work to improve his jumper; his penetrability shall be enough for him! I think maybe he's imbibed too much swag from his teammates.

 
At 2/26/2009 10:58 AM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

Penetrability is definitely the wrong word there, if you think about it.

I would like to see Rondo work on the jumper, if only as a lark; much as a pipe-smoking sophisticate would dabble in something like Ancient Military History. Not for utility's sake, but to feel more well rounded and to carry a fresh viewpoint for when you go back to your bread and butter.

As far as the poem/prose/science analogy: I can't get too fired up about it, because whenever it comes up, I just don't feel comfortable about pure mental creativity and physical genius fitting snugly into the same constructs. It always seems a bit off to me. But if forced, I would say that Kobe is Steven Pinker to Bird's early Chomsky (pre-politics). Kobe sees the molecules of the game, but Bird, with less to work with, saw the quarks.

 
At 3/01/2009 6:45 AM, Blogger Brian said...

@ mattocsd

The point of the post is to examine players who bring together a team's identity in ways other than Battier's, with a focus on PGs. Their unheralded contributions are more paradoxical than Battier's because as point guards they are supposed to "run" a team, and do so, but in a way wholly other from a classical PG model (Billups), Rondo most of all.

I don't understand your criteria for a player being "worthy" of examination. The article wouldn't make as much sense if Rondo was ALREADY getting that level of recognition, and you seem to think that recognition should only be parceled out to those who already have it (speaking of paradoxical).

 
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