It’s particularly early here in the Celtics’ on-the-fly rebuild, but the status of the program can be summed up by the two guys who sat at the podium for postgame press conferences on Wednesday evening — 37-year-old coach Brad Stevens and rehabbing point guard Rajon Rondo . Stevens had just watched his team complete an eyesore of a preseason with a win over Brooklyn that brought the Celtics to 2-6. Rondo, meanwhile, made mention of the fact that he had been fitted for a brace — an important step in his rehab, and one that could signal a return to full-contact practice soon. Rondo put the knee that houses his surgically repaired ACL at, “87 percent, give or take, depending on how my day goes,” and added that while he has no timetable for return, “I know it’s getting stronger each week and whenever I am able to jump off my right leg and probably dunk, that’s when I think I will be back to play.” Obviously, the Celtics need Rondo back on the court. But what is taking place off it is cause for some encouragement in these parts. Rondo and his coach, it seems, are hitting it off. “Brad isn’t really strict, he lets you go out there and play the game,” Rondo said. “He just wants you to approach every possession extremely hard. I think that’s the way I approach each game and, offensively, he has an offense where we pretty much flow into things as far as pick-and-rolls, getting the ball into the post. Whoever has it going, that is how he coaches the game. It’ll be fun to get back in and go out there and do a little bit of what I do best. Lot of pick and rolls, make my teammates better when I come back.” As with just about everything involving Rondo, there must be some context included. Back when the Celtics originally pulled off the surprise hiring of Stevens out of Butler, the assumption among the NBA’s observer class was that Rondo was not long for Boston; that he would have a toxic relationship with his inexperienced coach; that he would bristle and buck against the watered-down roster the Celtics have assembled in the wake of the trade that sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn . Ultimately, it looked as though Rondo was on a collision course to be traded.
Now Celtics' centerpiece, Rajon Rondo easing into relationship with new coach Brad Stevens
Sporting News | Oct 25