This week, millions of students, including yours truly, went back to school. Whether it is taking the next step for a high school diploma, graduating college, gaining a professional degree, or just learning some new skills, we as a society, put a high value on continuing education.
With that in mind, if the players on the Boston Celtics had the chance to return to school, or practice one thing this offseason, what would that one skill be? Hopefully they are spending their summer this way in the first place, but if not, what should they be doing?
Rajon Rondo – Health
Being healthy is a skill, a skill that Rondo has struggled with over the last few years. In the last three seasons, he has played only 91 of 246 regular season games. He has battled a torn ACL and plantar fasciitis. If the Celtics have any hope of making the playoffs, Rondo needs to stay healthy. He also needs to stay healthy and productive if the Celtics decide they want to trade him. He should be working constantly with the team physicians in order to be in peak physical condition.
Marcus Smart – Leadership
Smart is the future of the Celtics and sooner or later, he is going to be the starting point guard and face of the franchise. To make sure he has the tools to lead the Celtics for the foreseeable future, Smart should enroll himself in some leadership and management courses. So much of basketball is psychology and team building. Smart should be learning as much as he possibly can before he even sets foot on a basketball court.
James Young – Passing
We already know that Young is going to be a deadly shooter and to complement his shooting, Young should be dedicating himself to passing. That way, when he inevitably gets the ball behind the line, the defense won’t be able to afford committing themselves 100% to defending him. If he can learn to pass and find an open guy, defenses will have hesitate a split second longer when he gets the ball, which could open up even more shots for him in the future.
Jared Sullinger – Rebounding
Sullinger only snagged 16.7% of the rebounds available to him throughout the season. He did pretty well on the offensive glass, grabbing 13% of those rebounds, which was good enough for 7th in the league. The defensive end is where he needs to improve upon. Sullinger should spend the time before the season studying tapes of Dennis Rodman and working on his footwork and instincts.
Jeff Green – Assists and Turnovers
Green averages 2.0 turnovers per game and 1.7 assists per game. To me, that means he averages -.3 assists a game. That is not a good thing. He needs to learn to take care of the ball, as well as distribute and set his teammates up more often. If he is going to stay as inconsistent as he was last year, he should at least have the courtesy to rack up some assists on the nights he decides not to score.
We should all be continuously learning and expanding our skill sets. Whether it is through a conventional school or other adult learning programs, we should never stop learning. That goes for NBA players too. They should be spending their time off learning a new skill and becoming more valuable to their teams. For the sake of the Celtics’ season, let’s hope the players are taking this summer seriously.