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."
Head Coach Bill Belichick on Patriots Monday
Former Patriot Heath Evans, now with the NFL Network, joins Dale, Holley and Thornton every Monday for a thorough analysis of the Patriots and the NFL. This week we break down the shutout of Houston, and look ahead to the Bills.
We check in with safety Patrick Chung for a brief visit on Patriots Monday and discuss the win over Houston, and the upcoming game against the Bills.
Sam Packard is joined by Celtics 2nd Round draft pick Abdel Nader to discuss his path to the the NBA and how he plans to improve his game. Sam then talks to Player Development Coach Nick Friedman from Elite Skills Training, the pre-Draft camp Nader attended. Friedman also gives his opinion on the Celtics performance at summer league and the development of Jaylen Brown.
Isaiah Thomas talks to Glenn and Lou about why he loves Boston, the NBA Money Bump, oh, and some Durant guy
Danny Ainge joins Glenn and Christian to explain the Celtics draft process; and he also discusses the trade rumors that permeated the night.
Rob Bradford is joined by former Red Sox, and current Cubs, catcher David Ross, who admits to joining teammates Jon Lester, John Lackey and many members of the Chicago front office in at least contemplating the idea of a Red Sox vs. Cubs World Series. Ross also compares his retirement tour to David Ortiz's, reveals stories of clubhouse celebrations, while suggesting that Lester is pitching better than ever.
Dale, Michael and Jerry speak with Sox slugger David Ortiz in his final regular season week of his career. We touch on the 2016 Sox heading into the playoffs, retirement, memories and Jose Fernandez.
Joe and Tim talked to the Sox catcher, who caught 23 strikeouts from Sox pitchers in the extra-inning win in Tampa Bay.
Joey Mac joins Ken Laird on his Saturday show to discuss the David Backes addition and Loui Eriksson departure in NHL free agency
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
The 6am hour upload from Monday with Mike Mutnansky in with Kirk and Gerry, with first thoughts from the guys on several of the big weekend stories in sports
Who is more important, Brady or Belichick? Tim Hasselbeck is pissed at Kirk and Gerry and Dan Le Batard cried.
Mut, Gerry and Kirk discussed a column ripping Ortiz and Kirk is pissed at Curtis.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian invite Anthony L. Fisher of "The Week" on the show to explain his article where he discusses why David Ortiz is a jerk and a fraud.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian are slightly taken aback by Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback article where Paul Brown, not Bill Belichick is named the greatest Coach of all time.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian discuss the Jimmy G vs. Brady conundrum, and then delve into the atrocious AFC.
We sit down with the head coach of the Patriots Bill Belichick to break down the win over Houston, and look ahead to the Buffalo Bills this Sunday.
Kirk Minihane sits down with the Boston Globes Sports Media Columnist, Chad Finn. Kirk and Chad talk about the long and storied feud between WEEI and the Boston Globe and the ongoing ratings war between WEEI and the Hub.
Kirk and Gerry talk about how the show is going since the departure of John Dennis, how the fill-in hosts have been doing so far, and what they are looking for in a third host.
Kirk Minihane loves TV and movies, he sits down with TV critic and author of the new book "TV (The Book)" Alan Sepinwall to discuss the best TV shows of all-time and which show should be number 1. Kirk and Alan disagree on which show is the best of all-time and they both have compelling arguments. Kirk and Alan talk about "Cheers" being one of the most underrated and forgotten TV shows of all-time.
Thomas and Conor give a breakdown of the BC-Wagner game this weekend and look forward to next week's Buffalo game.
Christian Fauria and Dr Gill talk about Andrew Benintendi's knee sprain and what that will mean going down the stretch, David Ortiz's ability to keep himself healthy at age 40, and how Pablo Sandoval can return from his season off.
After another big win for the Pats on Thursday night, New England rejoices so Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson get their thoughts in on the game, the Pats future at Quarterback and the difference between the Patriots organization and everyone else. Then the conversation turns to Fantasy Football featuring the slew of injured Runningbacks and who you need to get and start in their place, including Jerrick McKinnon, Charles Simms and Theo Riddick. The boys wrap it up with a look at solid Starts & Sits from RB to WR to TE. Something for every Fantasy Footballer and Football fan. Make sure you join Jim and Pete on Sunday at 8:00am for the WEEI Fantasy Football Hour.
Mut, Gerry and Kirk discussed a column ripping Ortiz and Kirk is pissed at Curtis.More from this show
Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels joined the show to discuss the teams big win over the Texans and his future as a NFL head coach.More from this show