Rajon Rondo Has Bumpy Start, But Finds Groove As Game Analyst On CSNNE
Celtics G Rajon Rondo last night made his debut as a color analyst on Comcast SportsNet New England during the Celtics-Bulls game and "stole the show," according to Chris Forsberg of ESPN BOSTON. Rondo's appearance "generated plenty of buzz and made it must-see TV." Rondo, who broadcast alongside play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman, found his "groove in the second quarter and added intrigue" to what would be the Celtics' 51st loss of the season. Rondo "gutted through the pregame standup (the toughest part of the broadcast, he'd later admit) and leaned on Gorman's cues while tip-toeing through the first quarter." But he was "much more natural in the second frame, breaking down plays and offering insight on personnel from both teams." Rondo, who was "resting on the second night of a back-to-back, spent the second half of the game on the Boston bench in coach mode," while Celtics radio analyst Cedric Maxwell finished out the broadcast. Rondo said of his debut, "Mike made it easy for me. Obviously, there's room for improvement. But, for the first time out, I think I did a pretty good job." Forsberg notes Rondo "shined in the second quarter while breaking down one of Boston's offensive sets, detailing the weaving nature of the play and how coach Brad Stevens anticipated how Chicago would 'tag on the cut' and leave a weakside shooter open." Rondo was "guarded at times, likely told by Boston brass to avoid saying too much, and his dry wit didn't shine through as much as it could have." But he "kept you glued to the broadcast" (ESPNBOSTON.com, 4/1).
LEARNING CURVE: In Boston, Gary Dzen noted for "virtually the entire first quarter, it was as if Rondo didn't know he could speak without being prompted by Gorman." That led to Gorman "conducting what was essentially an interview" with Rondo. But as the game went on, Rondo "improved." He offered "honest takes on several plays, just like your buddy would sitting next to you in a bar" (BOSTON.com, 3/31). Gorman said of working with Rondo, "I'd like to do it again, because I thought he did some really good things." In Boston, Mark Murphy notes Rondo "may like to make another appearance too, but apparently has to run the idea through a lot of channels." Rondo said, "Talk to my agent, Danny (Ainge), my GM, my lawyers, coaching staff, but it's a possibility. If the broadcast wants me back on, then we'll see" (BOSTON HERALD, 4/1).