We continue to preview the Boston Celtics roster for the 2012-2013 season and today we look at Rajon Rondo and his outlook for this upcoming season.
The Celtics acquired Rondo in the 2006 NBA Draft from the Phoenix Suns, selecting him with the 21st overall pick. It was a pretty head scratching move by the Suns because, right after the trade, they signed former Celtics point guard Marcus Banks to a pretty absurd contract.
They would have been much better off simply keeping Rondo, letting him learn from Steve Nash and then ultimately having him become Nash’s successor. Instead, the Celtics swooped in on a dropping Rondo and snagged him before another team scooped him up.
That trade is what makes GM Danny Ainge so good at his craft. Rondo has become one of the best players in the league and could be the best point guard in the NBA, depending on who you ask.
Jason Terry was recently quoted saying that his former teammate, Jason Kidd, told him that he thinks Rondo is the best point guard in the league. That is a pretty nice compliment coming from one of the greatest point guards to ever play.
Rondo is one of the most unique players to come along in recent memory. His physical gifts are second to none and head coach Doc Rivers credits him as being the smartest player he has ever coached. Those are pretty lofty words considering Rivers has coached Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady, among others.
As I just mentioned, Rondo is as unique a player as they come. He is elite in a number of areas. He is a true pass first point guard and possesses excellent court vision. He always seems to be a step ahead of his opponent and always seems to know where his teammates are going to be.
He is an excellent fast break player and the team thrives when they get him the ball in the open court. He is a great rebounding point guard and is always seen attacking the boards when a shot goes up. Plus, he is also an excellent defensive player and is annually near the top of the league in steals.
His arms are so long that he can take chances on the defensive end when he gets beat. His known defensive move is allowing the offensive player to drive by him, then sticking his arm in from behind and tipping the ball away from the driving guard. He then breaks out for an open court opportunity that usually leads to a fast break layup or him finding the open transition player either for a layup or an open jump shot. Rondo is elite in so many areas.
He does have his share of weaknesses. He is a particularly weak jump shooter who has only made moderate improvements since entering the league. Opposing defenses typically leave him wide open and force him to make open jump shots. He is also a pretty weak three point shooter and does not take many attempts at all. It is a little surprising because he actually has a decent outside shot.
I personally would like him to take a few more three pointers and he now might with Ray Allen no longer around. He made a few open threes in the playoffs against the Heat last season and it is something that, with extra work, could become another part of his game. I am not saying Rondo will ever be the shooter Allen is, but he still has the potential to improve as he is still only 26 years old.
Rondo is also a horrible free throw shooter and it is unacceptable for your starting point guard to have a similar free throw percentage to Shaquille O’Neal. He needs to become at least a 70 percent free throw shooter, as he is hurting his team by consistently going 1 for 2 on attempts.
Rondo is a great player and actually still has some room to grow. If he continues to improve his jump shot, there is no reason he can’t be in the discussion as the best player in the league outside of Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard. He has all the tools and plays for one of the best coaches in the game in Rivers. Rondo will continue to play upwards to 40 minutes a night and will be counted on to deliver as he always has. It is always nice for Rivers to know that he has Rondo on his side.
Rob Lunder covers the Boston Celtics for Rant Sports. For all Celtics news, check out the Boston Celtics homepage on Rant Sports. Follow him on twitter at @rlunder18