Rajon Rondo: 8 Reasons Celtics Will Live or Die with His Play This Postseason
Gradually, Rondo has asserted himself as the leader of this ballclub, constantly dictating the tempo of games and earning the respect of his more experienced teammates.
In these 2012 NBA playoffs, Rondo is off to red-hot start. Two triple-doubles and five double-doubles have Rondo playing arguably the most sound basketball of any point guard in the NBA.
These are the eight reasons why these Celtics will live or die on the play of Rajon Rondo in these playoffs.
Top Rebounding Point Guard
Rondo has a sixth sense for rebounding the basketball, as he boasts one of the stronger skill sets of any point guard in this department.
For the season, Rondo averaged 4.8 per game, the most of any point guard in basketball.
His ability to get those long rebounds and get the ball out in transition is a major plus for this older Celtics basketball team. The more points they can pick up in transition, the better their chances are over the course of 48 minutes.
He's been there and done that before, and that's one of the things that makes this player different from the rest.
In 2008, Rajon Rondo took care of business against a talented, veteran Derek Fisher and the Los Angeles Lakers. Having this championship experience under his belt, as well as a 2010 NBA Finals appearance, Rondo brings a championship pedigree into play that most PGs cannot say they do.
As the team gets deeper into the postseason, Rondo will be able to use this experience to his advantage down the stretch of close, hard-fought basketball games.
The Floor General
If Rondo can continue to dictate the pace of play, the Celtics are the outright favorite to win the East—make no mistake about it. Not only does Rondo put up the production, but he is also the engine that keeps this Celtics team going strategically.
The way Rondo runs the offense, tells players to get open and calls the shots is orchestrated as well as any elite point guard in the game.
There are countless point guards that can put up the numbers, yet bringing this leadership at the position is something Rondo and few others in this league possess.
A Key Defensive Presence
For as great as Rondo is in the assist department, his play defensively is what gives this team a fighting chance this postseason and for several postseasons to come.
It is his play defensively that keeps opposing guards out of the lane and starts fast-break opportunities.
This postseason, Rondo averages the most steals per game of any player, posting an impressive 3.5 a contest.
Rondo is as quick and strong defensively as any guard in the league. He is able to use this physical advantage to help the team score points and get out to big leads. On a team that predicates itself on defense, its leader is able to push the pace and keep guards on their toes offensively.
It's the One Position Where Celtics Have a Major Advantage
The remaining Eastern Conference point guards are Mario Chalmers, Jrue Holiday and Darren Collison, as Rajon Rondo has the major upper hand at the PG spot.
Against the Miami Heat in particular, Rondo has risen to the occasion and especially exploited his advantage over Chalmers. Rondo shot 51.3 percent while averaging an impressive 18.7 points, 13.7 assists and 7.7 rebounds this season.
Rondo also added a triple-double performance in one of the two victories over the Heat this season.
If the Celtics expect to beat the 76ers and take down the East-favorite Miami Heat, the key will be Rondo taking advantage of his matchup.
Gets Avery Bradley Open Looks
Thanks to Rajon Rondo, young guard Avery Bradley is able to find his way offensively and effectively contribute for the team.
On a night where the Celtics shot just 41.8 percent, Bradley shot a solid 3-for-6, including a sharp 2-for-3 from three-point range.
If Bradley, a player not known for his offense, can continue to contribute offensively, the Celtics are a team in great shape going forward.
The Triple-Double Performances
In what was an integral Game 1 for these Celtics to win, it was Rajon Rondo's triple-double performance that would seal the deal for this team in the end. Rondo posted 13 points, 17 assists and 12 rebounds in the victory.
According to ESPN.com, six points, four assists and five rebounds of Rondo's came in the fourth quarter of the contest.
It was his eighth playoff triple-double of his young career, as Rondo is clearly an impact player when he is able to produce in all different assets of the game. He is one of the few elite point guards, along with Chris Paul and Deron Williams, that can do a little bit of everything when on the floor.
Whether it's the extra second he takes to pass the ball, the long rebounding to get out in transition or the on-point passes in the half-court set, Rajon Rondo does the little things for the Celtics to win games.
It is not measured by a single statistic, yet there is no doubt that Rondo's grasp on the game and the little plays he makes throughout have this team winning games regularly.
At the end of Game 1 against the 76ers, Rondo was shining with his jump shot. In Game 2, it was his on-point passes to teammates throughout the contest that gave Avery Bradley, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett open shot opportunities.
Rondo is the most integral player not solely because of his triple-double performances or 10-plus-assist games, it is his management of the game and ability to make plays on either end that separate him from the rest.