Many people instantly wrote off the Boston Celtics after the news broke that Rajon Rondo had torn his ACL and would be out for the remainder of the 2012-2013 NBA season. However, that hasn’t exactly been the case.
Before their 94-91 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday, the Celtics had won their first seven games that they had played without Rondo, including games against the Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers. In doing so, they’ve raised the collective eyebrow of a lot of people.
But it really makes a great deal of sense. With Rondo on the floor, the Boston offense is somewhat predictable in the way that it is going to start with the ball in Rondo’s hand and largely consist of him dribbling around until he dishes it off to a teammate for a shot attempt.
Now that the Celtics are without their star point guard though, they are forced to move the ball more actively and not rely on one person to facilitate the entire offense. Because of this, it adds a bit of versatility to their offense and somewhat of an element of unpredictability as well.
One of the things that highlights this newfound cohesion and teamwork is their assist numbers. Given that Rondo was leading the league in assists before he was sidelined, it seems logical to think that the assist numbers would drop off. That’s not the case, though. As a team, the Celtics have averaged 23.4 assists per game on the season. In February, which Boston has played six Rondo-less games during, the Celtics have averaged 26.5 assists per game.
That statistic encapsulates what’s been happening in Boston without Rondo. They’ve focused less on Rondo running the offense and distributing and come together to work as a team to secure victories. And other than tonight, it’s been working well.
This doesn’t mean that the Celtics are a better basketball without Rondo, but it does mean that they will be just fine.