Although it is not a highly acknowledged aspect of the NBA, all teams have the ability to name up to two captains to lead their team. The Boston Celtics have for the longest time left this duty in the sole possession of Paul Pierce, who has been the face of the C's for over a decade.
It may be time for Boston to name a younger player to stand alongside The Truth as a co-captain for the upcoming season and that player should be Rajon Rondo.
All through last season it seemed that the Celtics were really only as good as Rondo could make them. No one could doubt the production he was putting forth was at an elite level. Rondo averaged 11.9 points on 44.8 percent shooting along with 4.9 rebounds, 1.8 steals and a league-leading 11.7 assists per game. He is considered one of the league's best point guards and he runs the offense so efficiently that he makes all the players around him better.
Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston reports that even Doc Rivers wanted him to be more of a leader on the team and that Rondo stepped up to fill the role. Rivers began to give Rondo more control of the ball and the plays the C's would run and all of the veterans, except for Ray Allen, gave him the respect he needed to take charge.
It is clear that the Boston Celtics are just as much, if not more so, Rondo's team as it is Paul Pierce's, but the real question is whether or not Rondo is ready for such an important role.
He still shows some signs of immaturity, as seen in his reaction to a bad call that led to the ref ejecting him after the two made contact in a game against the Atlanta Hawks last season. These immature moments, however, often seem to arise from an attempt to stand up for his team, as Eric Freeman of Yahoo! Sports reports that the scene where Rondo bumped the ref resulted from a very controversial call that may have stopped the C's potential comeback.
Rondo has begun to show great strides off the court as well as on, and in particular he is getting involved with the development of the younger athletes. Greg Payne of ESPN Boston reported that Rondo found his way to Las Vegas for one of the C's summer league games and provided support for the younger players, as well as advice on how to better their game during timeouts. Summer league coach Tyronn Lue expressed how great he was at speaking to players during breaks to improve their game and how Rondo even talked him into changing a play that led to a more successful offensive set at the last minute.
Rondo clearly still needs to mature in some areas, but he has shown that he is ready to lead a team on and off the court.
He has continued to play at an extremely high level, while holding his teammates accountable for the highest level of play. Naming Rondo captain will not only help insure that he understands Boston has great faith that they can build a team around him, but it will also help to bridge the gap from the Big Three era to the C's future.
The Celtics are inevitably on their way to becoming entirely Rondo's team and it is time that Boston recognizes it by naming Rajon Rondo a co-captain with Paul Pierce for the upcoming season.