Boston Celtics: 10 Reasons Rajon Rondo Will Be on the Team Next Season
In spite of the plethora of trade talks surrounding Celtics elite point guard Rajon Rondo over the last two seasons, it is clear that the team's floor general isn't going anywhere.
Rondo's play has helped the Celtics to win two of its last three games during these 2012 NBA playoffs, losing their most recent outing in Game 5 of the series.
If Rondo can continue to be the team's best player this postseason, it may well give the Celtics a chance to represent the East in the NBA Finals. And when it comes to the future, there is no doubt that this is the player who can continue to lead this team to the postseason.
These are the 10 reasons why Rajon Rondo is bound to be a member of the Boston Celtics for years to come.
Slightly Improved His Free Throws
This season Rondo has upped his free-throw percentage from 56.8 to 59.7 percent, as he has been able to more consistently hit his free throws.
All jokes aside, there is no question that Rondo desperately needs to work on his free throws.
The difference this season has been his ability to be less afraid of taking them, as that has served as a much more valuable improvement than the insignificant three percent increase. In the 2011-12 season, Rondo upped his free-throw attempts to 3.4 per game, the second-most of his career.
Strong Defender on the Perimeter
If there's one thing Rondo is known for outside of his passing ability, it's the athleticism and physicality he brings each night on the defensive end of the floor. It is his perimeter defending, in particular, that gives opposing point guards headaches.
Boasting outright quickness and solid strength, he is able to stay with the quickest point guards in the league.
During these 2012 playoffs, Rondo is putting up a whopping 3.67 steals per game, the most of any player in the postseason. Along with Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies, Rondo may well be the best on-ball defender left in the playoff picture.
A More Confident Scorer
Throughout his career, Rondo has lacked a killer extinct. He has been unable to take over basketball games and take matters into his own hands, allowing the Big Three to be the deciding factor in games.
Yet, this season he is a different type of player offensively, taking a heavier burden on the offensive end and wanting the ball when the team needs to put up points.
This season, his 11.9 points per game are the second-most he has put up in a single season. The 2012 NBA playoffs have been much of the same story, as Rondo is averaging 19 points per game in his four playoff appearances.
Can Handle Big-Game Pressure
Based on tonight's performance, this slide would be as meaningless as any in the history of B/R, as Rondo lost the ball on a turnover with under 10 seconds remaining.
Yet, what many forget is that he stole the ball in the first place to give the team a chance to win the game.
Throughout the course of this season, Rondo has come up huge in the fourth quarter of ballgames for this team. The Celtics not only trust Rondo to make the right decisions down the stretch, they look to him to do so.
Ainge has to be confident with Rondo running the show, as he has proven time and time again, especially in postseason play, that he has what is takes to win big games. The majority of Rondo's triple-doubles for this career have come on national TV.
Talk about impressive.
He's Young Talent
Arguably the organization's biggest reason to keep Rondo: He is a league-elite point guard at just 26 years of age.
He may have his shooting flaws and possess a lack of recognition compared to players like Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, yet Rondo is undoubtedly a star in this league at the position.
As a young talent, Rondo has the ability to lead this team for years to come. Youth is arguably the most enticing factor when an organization makes these decisions, and Rondo boasts just that.
Better Numbers Taking Care of the Basketball
Seriously, Rajon? Did you have to turn that ball over at the end of Tuesday's Game 5?
In spite of making these arguments difficult, there is no doubt that Rondo has shown major improvements in the turnover department. It was just in Game 4 where Rondo posted a whopping 16 assists in an effort that included just one turnover.
It was something to watch, to say the least.
In spite of putting up a career-high 3.6 turnovers per game, it is clear that Rondo is also taking on a significantly greater load on the offensive end. Not to mention, his 3.21 assists-to-turnover ratio is tied for fourth-best in the league with Philadelphia 76ers guard Lou Williams.
In 2008, at just 22-years-of-age, Rajon Rondo led the Boston Celtics to an NBA championship with the help of Kevin Garnett and the Big Three.
A championship run, which included two seven-game series wins, is the type of run that best elevates a player's game. More significant than the regular season wins and top-notch numbers, it is the playoff and championship experience under a player's belt that takes a talent to the next level.
Rondo has what Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose and Deron Williams simply don't have—an NBA championship. Some may argue that other point guards are better, but in a playoff situation, one has to believe the more battle-tested guard may be better prepared to take on the challenge of winning games when it counts.
An Assist-Machine on the Rise
Can you say: "John Stockton?"
Rajon Rondo is not John Stockton just yet, but there is a great deal of comparisons one can make. Rondo has proven to be a significantly stronger facilitator as of late, averaging a whopping 11.7 assists this season. The mark was easily a career-high for Boston's PG.
Currently, Rondo has posted 27-straight games with 10-plus assists, the highest total since Stockton recorded 29-straight games in 1992. Rondo's passing ability is something that Ainge and Rivers cannot pass up on going forward, as he may well be the best passer in the game.
East Is Lacking in Elite PGs
With the exception of Derrick Rose in Chicago, who will be recovering from a torn ACL throughout this offseason, the East doesn't boast very many elite PG talents.
Deron Williams is the other top-notch point guard in the conference, yet he plays on a team in the Brooklyn Nets that is anything but a playoff contender at the moment.
Given the lack of talent at the PG in the East, boasting this advantage at the position is key for Boston. A big reason why the Celtics have so much success against the Miami Heat, is because Rondo is able to take full advantage of Mario Chalmers at the PG spot.
He Is a League-Elite Point Guard
Rajon Rondo can pass and steal the ball as well as any point guard in the NBA, is a double-double threat nearly every time he steps out on the court, and is as sound a floor-general as this league has to offer.
Each of these different aspects make him the point guard of the future in Beantown, make no mistake about it. The league's assist leader in 2011-12, Rondo has proven that he has the ability to lead his team and make them guaranteed playoff contenders.
Whether or not the Celtics give Rondo the right personnel to win in the future is another issue, yet, there is no questioning his abilities to lead a team at the point guard position. He may not have the scoring flash of a Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook, but, it's what he does in running the team and distributing the basketball that indisputably showcases him in a different light.