What I Should Have Said…

The day Sam Cassell first reported to the Celtics, I asked Doc Rivers if he was concerned about the feelings of the guys who’s playing time would suffer with Cassell and PJ Brown on board.

Doc said something to the effect of, “if they care about winning, it shouldn’t bother them at all. This isn’t about egos.”

Well, he’s right, to a point. What I should have asked was, “how do you explain to these guys — who helped you put together the NBA’s best record — that you don’t think they can go all the way?” That may not be true in Doc’s mind, but I’m sure the thought has crossed the minds of Rajon Rondo, Eddie House, Glen Davis, Leon Powe, and Brian Scalabrine.

This popped into my head watching Sam Cassell play pretty much the entire 4th quarter against Dallas. Rajon Rondo is an impressionable young player, and a human being. You can’t tell me that it didn’t bug him to not be out there in the crunch (as he has throughout the entire season). Clearly, Rondo was not having the best game, in fact, he bricked every shot he took. But with everything pretty much wrapped up, don’t you want him out there getting the kind of experience he’s going to need if the Celtics are to succeed in the playoffs, with or without Cassell?

I’m sure Sam, who will be a great NBA coach someday, is doing his best to keep Rondo’s head up. But I wonder if Rondo will let it get to him if Doc continues going with the veteran in the clutch. If he doesn’t, and his play only gets better, then the Celtics will have a special player – one who’s mentally and physically tough – manning the point for years to come.

-SI

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