Boston Celtics Are Prepared to Be Led by Rajon Rondo
Rondo has heard it all before; but somehow, he seems to drive his team deeper into the playoffs than the aforementioned guards.
He has participated in two NBA Finals, winning one of them.
Yes, I said participated.
As much as the Rondo revolution has taken hold of Celtics Nation, he initially just did what he was told. While it is true that he had a terrific Game 6 performance in the 2008 NBA Finals with 21 points, 6 steals and 8 assists, he was a essentially a rookie and really had no say in the offense or what to do with the ball.
His run in the 2010 NBA Finals, I contend, still had Doc and the 'Big Three' hesitant to fully trust him in crunch time.
Doc Rivers should have allowed Rondo to control the game more when Kendrick Perkins got hurt in the 2010 NBA Finals. In my view, former Celtic Ray Allen was rendered ineffective and the Celtics had the advantage at point guard. That was the moment that defined the Boston Celtics as already being Rondo's team.
This three-time All-Star is still building a case for superstar status, yet was relegated to playing the waiting game when it came to his 2012 All-Star selection. Rondo was apparently bothered by the All-Star snub and really didn't want to play when he was selected as an injury replacement for former Atlanta Hawk Joe Johnson.
The storyline used to be that it was the "Big Three" who carried Rondo and that the Celtics were doomed once they were gone. But a funny thing happened through his growth process as an NBA player. The more he remained H.B.I.C. (head ball-handler in charge), the more the team depended on him. All this from a guard who is supposedly offensively challenged.
We have become so enamored with guards who are primary scorers that we forget that there are other ways to score. What he lacks in scoring, he produces in other ways for the team. His gaudy 11 assists per game and knack for getting offensive rebounds are part of the intangibles that he possesses.
Now, he has become increasingly aware of how his forays to the hoop provide the team with more free throw attempts. This was the one area of his game that he lacked confidence in, only now he understands it is more about him getting the opponent in foul trouble. Add that to his ever-improving elbow jumper and he is the most dangerous man with the ball not named LeBron James.
The 2012 playoffs showed what Danny Ainge had seen in a skinny, 21-year-old point guard from Kentucky back in 2006, and it proved that he could run the show for the Boston Celtics.
This offseason, management surrounded Rondo with the athletes that he needs to run with in order to keep the team in the conversation as a contender. It is apparent that Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge have fallen under the spell of the mesmerizing world of 'Rondo-ball' and continue to believe in their mercurial point man.
He is willful, stubborn and the "mad-hatter of passing" on the hardwood, all in one. All of these things are what drive him and allow him to show marked improvement in a game where others are always saying he can't.
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