After being a popular choice for best point guard in the NBA, it seems the tide has turned on Rajon Rondo, with too many aspects of his not-too-friendly personality (to some at least) have come out and have had their effect on the Boston Celtics over the last 12 months, resulting in the creation of a team that he’s the undoubted best player on, but also one that’s going to lose a lot of games.
How many? Hard to say. The Celtics aren’t the worst in the league – not with Rondo and Jeff Green, but points are going to be very hard to come by. Rondo isn’t the kind of point guard who gets too much attention from offenses. He doesn’t get respected when it comes to his shooting ability and teams don’t mind sending him to the line, as Rondo hits only 62.1% of his free throw attempts, getting there only 4 times a night.
A ball dominant player like Rondo should see the line a lot more, but his scoring insecurities that have a tendency to come and go aren’t the only thing in question as the Celtics head to their first season under Brad Stevens without too many prospects of getting a lot of wins.
Some might say Rondo is the first man to blame, along with Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers, in the Celtics becoming a borderline playoff team in 2013 after reaching a game 7 of the NBA finals in 2012, and looking so pessimistic heading into next season. He drove away Ray Allen, and he certainly didn’t make it hard for Doc Rivers to bolt on the rebuilding plans and force his way off the team to the West coast.
Kendrick Perkins said it better than anyone else: Rajon Rondo is a diva. He’s an excellent player, with a very special skill set that hides the fact that scoring-wise he’s a very limited player, and confidence that knows no bounds. And yet it backfires sometimes; on him, on his teammates, on his team.
Rondo has been the most important player on the Celtics team for over a year now. Giving him the keys was the plan for last season, but the C’s record was actually better without him. Paul Pierce did better as a ball handler, even if the guards that replaced him, like Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee, didn’t really fill in for his stats on offense. The Celtics simply shifted the weight of the scoring to other places, and it worked, pushing them to 7th in the East.
And once again, Rondo is expected to lead. Not just being an assist first and second kind of point guard, but by scoring. Averaging 12-13 points a night is a disastrous plan for the C’s, who will be finding it very hard to put points on the board, unless Rondo turns out to be this decade’s Steve Nash, who suddenly sees teammates scoring averages skyrocket when he’s playing next to them.
Something tells me that isn’t the case with Rondo, who sounds happy to work with Stevens on the rebuilding plans for now, but once the losing becomes too much of a habit and too much like his rookie season, Rondo might not be so optimistic about his future in Boston anymore.