Originally written on Celtics Town  |  Last updated 9/27/12

LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 22: Rajon Rondo #4 of Kentucky shoots the ball around the reach of Glen Davis #34 of LSU during the game on January 22, 2005 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 89-58. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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Rondo continues to get us excited for his debut as the indisputed leader for the Celtics.

Disclaimer: I want to emphasize that this point of the offseason is when EVERYBODY feels optimistic, everybody is going to back in time for the season, everybody is committing to defense and teamwork and practice.

But Rondo, guys. He invited everybody on the team to come join him in Los Angeles for a team bonding experience, and according to reports, it was a really good experience that included a flag football game. It’s hard to look at this anecdote from Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears as anything besides a huge positive:

The event planner for the week of bonding was point guard Rajon Rondo. After an offseason in which his maturity was questioned and his relationship with former teammate Ray Allen was scrutinized, Rondo wants to show he can lead the Celtics. One of the first steps was welcoming a couple of new teammates – Jason Terry and Courtney Lee – to Boston’s L.A. retreat.

“I wanted J.T. to play with Kevin. I wanted Courtney to see how Paul likes to play. I wanted Paul and Jeff Green to go at each other,” Rondo told Yahoo! Sports. “I wanted to play with those guys. It was getting guys away from our actual training facility to get a new view.

“I wanted the guys to have fun. When you’re with me I want you to say, ‘Man, I had a good time with Rondo.’ And I think that’s what they did.” …

“My (flag football) team won,” Rondo said. “We dominated. I had seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. I had a nice kickoff return back. We had fun. K.G. was the quarterback of the other team, but they had to sub him out because he wasn’t getting any touchdowns.”

We can’t stop talking about how important Rondo’s development into a team leader will be crucial to Boston’s title aspirations this season. You’ve heard it here, you’ve heard it elsewhere, and quite frankly you (if you are like me) are probably sick of hearing this rhetoric disguised as real analysis. So we’ve figured out that Rondo is important to this team. Excellent. In other breaking news, the Celtics’ colors are green, and cheerleaders are really just sex symbols.

What we needed was some evidence that Rondo understands the importance of his new role. This story would seem to suggest that he does. He wants the players to get to know one another. He wants Green and Pierce to battle. He wants to get his own timing down with the new guys. He wants the Celtics to be a unit, one that enjoys playing together and being together for extended periods of time. And from the sound of things, he is doing quite well.

We won’t know what kind of leader Rondo will be, nor how happy this unit will be, until the season actually starts and we see this roster take the floor. But until they do, this kind of story is a balm for the wounded basketball soul, weary from the offseason and ready for real basketball to begin again.

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