Every year around training camp time, the word out of the Boston Celtics training camp is that point guard Rajon Rondo has worked on his jump shot and will now be the player many believe can compete for an MVP trophy. This year is no exception as Celtics captain Paul Pierce made it clear to anyone that will listen that Rondo thus far is both looking for his shot and making the jump shot that has been a sore subject amongst fans for the past few seasons. If this new mindset and success rate on the jump shot is true for Rondo, then Boston will be competing for Banner 18 and Rondo will be in the NBA MVP discussion.
The fact is Rondo has always been an intriguing talent. Rondo does everything but shoot the ball well. Rondo’s incredible skill set is why he can control a game despite the fact that he cannot score off the jump shot and defenses know this fact. Rondo has incredible speed, athleticism and basketball IQ. These attributes allow Rondo to penetrate a sagging defense and either score or make one of his breathtaking passes to an open man for a great open look.
However, the lack of jump shot for Rondo has cost him. Rondo is good to dominant most nights. A jump shot would make him dominant every single night. Imagine if a defense could not sag off him and clog the paint. He would be free to penetrate and wreck complete havoc all the time instead of some of the time.
If a team decided to cover Rondo one on one, ten he could drive and score because few if any point guard can keep up with him off the drive if they have to play up on him. If a team decided to double then once in the paint, Rondo could find the open man for easy scores. The big difference would be that there would be more space to operate for his teammates in the paint due to the fact that teams could not be playing back to guard the basket.
A great example of how scary good the Celtics offense would with a Rondo that can hit jump shots is game two of the Eastern Conference Finals last season. The Miami Heat defense collapsed the paint, but when they did, Rondo buried them by hitting all his jump shots. After the Heat made the adjustment to cover Rondo close on the perimeter, he attacked the basket and got easy scores. If he did not score, he hit an open man in the middle like Kevin Garnett largely because Garnett had more space to operate with the Heat defense forced to keep a close eye on the perimeter and Rondo.
The fact is Rondo was the best player on the court that night by far. If Rondo had this shooting ability every night, then never mind best point guard in the league talk when discussing Rondo’s status in the NBA pecking order. Rondo would be in the discussion of best player in the league. The Celtics would also be a true juggernaut that even the vaunted Heat could not handle. Both of these realizations would have Rondo and the Celtics smiling.
The Celtics offense was dominant that game despite being seriously under manned. Leading scorer Paul Pierce was injured with a bad knee injury. Sharp shooter Ray Allen was hobbled and a shell of himself due to bone spurs. New weapon Avery Bradley was out with shoulder injuries. The Celtics basically only had Garnett, Brandon Bass and Rondo. The thought of a healthy Celtics core with offensive firepower like Jason Terry, Jeff Green and Courtney Lee added to a team with Rondo having a consistent jump shot is downright scary.
The news of Rondo having a jump shot is tantalizing to Celtics fans. I just hope the early training camp reports are true. Having watched the progression of Rondo’s jump shot over the last few seasons, the time may be now for him to bust out. Rondo never had the success that he had last season and that should be a huge confidence boost. If Rondo has indeed worked on his shot even further this off-season, then the results should be there like what is being reported from training camp. These facts mean expect big things from Rondo and the Celtics. Remember, Go Green Or Go Home!