With ESPN filling up with polls and surveys heading into the new NBA season, one question, a very important one, has been forgotten along the way – who is the worst teammate in the league. While it’s a hard thing to measure, there’s a good chance it comes down to either Rajon Rondo or Dwight Howard.
Rondo doesn’t have anyone speaking against him, but circumstantial evidence over the last few years has been piling up to suggest that playing next to one of the best point guards in the NBA might not be the easiest thing in the world.
We can go way back to his Kentucky days and playing for Tubby Smith. Smith hasn’t gone on the record, but several sources suggested that Rondo has been the hardest player he ever had to coach. According to Jeff Goodman who covers college basketball for ESPN, the Brad Stevens and Rondo collaboration is going to be a disaster. Rondo is a confrontational person, and needs someone to put him in his place. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, they handled him well. Rondo didn’t try and usurp them. But part of what fuels him is this inferiority complex, and it’s hard to see it working on a bad team and a head coach that isn’t considered to be a confrontational guy, and needs this team to respond to him.
And there’s also Rondo’s body of work: He drove Ray Allen out of Boston because Allen (for other reasons as well) just couldn’t stand playing with Rondo anymore. Doc Rivers just couldn’t see himself going through another rebuild, especially with Rondo as the “leader” of the team. Kendrick Perkins called him a diva once, although he probably didn’t mean the most negative things in the world.
And Dwight Howard? Well, his reputation as a teammate and human being has been destroyed over the last 18 months. He caused the Orlando Magic to blow up their roster and fire their head coach and general manager. It’s not his fault that the Los Angeles Lakers were so bad last season, but it’s quite clear that his attitude and personality didn’t help. On Howard, unlike Rondo, there are plenty of people willing to go on the record, suggesting that he needs to change his ways.
- J.J. Redick, who played with him at Orlando: I would be more surprised when Dwight starts taking responsibility. That would be the most negative thing I can say, but that’s the truth. You can’t take all the credit and not accept any of the blame.
- Jameer Nelson, another Magic teammate: At some point, when are you as a man, going to take ownership and stay out of the media in a professional manner…
- There’s this video of Steve Nash. And it’s no secret what Kobe Bryant, not the greatest teammate himself, thinks about Howard.