Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, in an interview on WEEI's Mut & Merloni Show on Thursday, suggested that he feels increasingly comfortable with a growing leadership role. The 26-year-old said that, at the start of last year, teammates Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen made clear that it was Rondo's time to be a leader of the Celtics.
"I was 20, 21 when I first got here. I'm 26 now, my seventh year in the league. Actually, last year, the Big Three and I had a meeting at the start of the season in Doc's offense. They told me they gave me the keys last year. I just want to continue to grow as a player and as a leader on this team, being more consistent everyday on and off the court," said Rondo. "I think each year my role has gotten bigger since we won the championship. A lot of people are saying this year, it's my team this year, I'm the leader this year. But obviously, the past couple years I think I've been a leader. Trying to let my leadership expand each year. This year, I guess it's at an all-time high, but I just want to go out and play hard for my teammates each and every day."
As a leader, Rondo made clear that his loyalties are solely to his teammates. Asked if he "hates" opponents such as the Heat or Lakers (a claim made by new teammate Jason Terry), Rondo suggested that he's not looking to make friends with players from other teams.
"Hate’s a strong word, but I agree with my teammate," said Rondo. "We don’t like anyone. It’s our job to go out there and win. We’re not trying to be friends with anybody. I think KG shows it best. He plays with a lot of intensity. He has no friends out there on the court, and that’s our mentality. That should be everyone’s mentality. We're competing. There’s no friends on the court.
"I use the phrase, even if you were playing against a family member, your mother, you still go out there and try to beat her," he continued. "It’s just a matter of just competing. We love to win, I’m very competitive. Anything I do, I want to win. So I don’t have time for friends. I don't talk to a lot of guys in the offseason, so why I should talk to them on the court and try to be their friend? I'm friends with my teammates. I know I’m a great teammate. Other than that, if you’re not my teammate, I could care less."
Rondo also discussed the evolution of his game this year, chiefly, an increased willingness to take jump shots. In the early-going, Rondo is 14-for-26 (53.8 percent) on jumpers.
"I'm just taking it more this year. I'm not passing it as much, as far as passing up my shots. I have my mind set up to take the jumpshot. I'm thinking about myself, shooting the ball, instead of always thinking to pass the ball to one of my teammates," said Rondo. I've been doing it in practice. It starts in practice. That's what I've been trying to do consistently, taking the open shot in practice.
"I've been shooting six, seven, eight jump shots a game," he continued. "Obviously, I've been hitting a lot more this year and I've been taking a lot more. I think it's a part of repetition. I don't think you can get in a rhythm when you shoot one or two jump shots, so I've been trying to make a conscious effort of, when they go under, to shoot the elbow jump shot, regardless of whether I miss or make."
Butch and Price discuss how Belichick and the Pats manipulate the roster with cuts, injuries, practice squad etc. - it's a complicated subject! They then move on to the improving play of QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Butch and Price start salivating over the thought of regular season football being less than 2 weeks away and discuss some early intriguing matchups.
Butch is in for Dickerson on NFL Sunday and he and Chris get into the victory over Carolina and their take-aways - the receivers could be in trouble if they don't get healthy with Wayne struggling and Boyce not contributing at all, Scott Chandler is a beast that could be a huge redzone threat with Gronk on the field and more. They talk about the offense and break down the running back depth chart. Then Trags gives them a call to give his take on the roster and their play so far.
WEEI's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Reggie Wayne's arrival in New England and look at what he might be able to bring to the team.
Jay King of Masslive.com joins the show to break down the performance of the Celtics during the NBA Summer League. Then Ben and Sam discuss the exciting possibility of a Space Jam sequel.
Michael joins Ben and Sam to discuss the wild NBA Free Agency period and the upcoming Celtics season.
How long will this rebuild take? How much money will it take to keep Bae Crowder? Are Draft Picks even worth anything? With the Danny Ainge not landing any big names in the draft, and unable to lure any big names in free agency, Sam and Ben discussed if the Celtics are doomed moving forward.
Butch and John are talking Red Sox on the Sunday Sports Roundtable. They get into the current state of the rotation and how things have improved as of late. Joe Kelly has been on fire, but is he a trade asset? The guys discuss the starting pitchers that will be free agents this year and if any are good fits in Boston. Then they move on to the decision to let Orsillo go in favor of Dave O'Brien - Tomase has an interesting perspective on this topic.
Joe & Dave talked to the Sox starter, who pitched into the eighth inning and allowed just one run in the win over the Mets.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart, who hit his first career inside the park home run and propelled the Red Sox to a 6-4 win over the New York Mets.
Don Sweeney, who was hired as the Bruins general manager yesterday speaks with Dale and Holley about his new position and where the Bruins go from here.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
The guys discuss some possible headlines come Pats opening night and talk about the reception that Roger Goodell might get if he's in Foxboro.
On the brink of the Pats' third preseason game, Christian kicks around some players that we might see suit up tonight in Charlotte.
The guys discuss a number of off-topics that are in the news today, including Sir Charles calling out his former agent, a Texas little league coach gives a pre-game talk for the ages & Jay Gruden is becoming sensitive.
We wrap up the week with the best in sound that you may have missed, plus our intern on the mic Laroy Streat has some well-wishes for the birthday boy Jerry Thornton.
We discuss the infamous apologies, and how a little humble pie could have ended this entire Chris Mortensen misreporting mess way sooner.
We talk some Sox, including all things Hanley Ramirez.
Chris Mortensen went on a sports radio station in Arizona today and talked about his deflate gate reporting, and said that the Krafts called him to apologize over the whole situation. Only thing is there's a report tonight from D&C saying their sources at the Patriots are saying that did not happen, could Mort be, dare I say, wrong?
Chris Villani and Lenny Megs talk with Bob McGovern about the proceedings in the Tom Brady and NFL's deflate gate court case.
Villani is in for Mikey, he's talking about Chris Mortensen going on an Arizona station and talking about deflate gate and getting an apology from the Krafts.
It’s peek draft season so Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson are back with today’s Fantasy Football Podcast on Draft Strategy. Pete Davidson’s article at Rotobahn.com “The 2015 Draft Plan” fuels a deep conversation on how to approach the draft at all the key positions Quarterback, Runningback, Wide Receiver, Tight End and Defense. Get prepared and Happy Drafting!
Ben, Russ & Alex discuss their favorite transfer moves of the window, Alex shares his dislike for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and just how far can the Revs go this season?
Gerry and Kirk discuss deflategate and the Patriots relationship with ESPN.
We go inside the audio from 98.7 Arizona Sports Radio/ESPN and listen in as well as Chris Mortensen finally details the circumstances behind the infamous "11 of 12" footballs tweet, and also claims that the Patriots ownership called him personally to apologize... for what he doesn't specify.More from this show
Sean discussed his own firing from the Red Sox broadcast booth.More from this show