Rajon Rondo: The Celtics' Real MVP

GrahamSenior Analyst IMarch 9, 2009

While Rajon Rondo's play may feel like too much of a roller-coaster ride for some fans, he is becoming an increasingly dominant player in the NBA. As I have said many times before, he looks like the Jason Kidd of the future.

Rondo has one of the most intriguing stat lines in the game: He is averaging 11.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 8.4 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Phew, that's a mouthful.

One of the reasons Rondo is dominant is his freakish speed. He can play two styles of basketball. 
Firstly, he can play an up-tempo offense. Yeah, he can run the ball, alright. One of his strengths is driving the ball to the hole, where he either uses a tricky move to get to the basket or finishes the play with a layup that seems nothing short of spectacular.
Of course, all of this is done with a shot-blocker in the way. That just doesn't seem to faze the amazing Rondo.

His other style is defensive. And boy, can this kid play defense. Averaging 1.9 SPG is nothing to dismiss, but more importantly, Rondo has adapted to the NBA type of defense since being drafted out of Kentucky. He is now required to stay square and in front of his man, unlike in college when he could play alongside his opponent a lot of the time.

But, sadly, Rondo goes largely unnoticed, mostly because of his superstar teammates Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and the currently injured Kevin Garnett.

But could he be more valuable to the world-champion Celtics than the "Big Three?"
To me, it's looking like the "Big Four" more each time he plays.
Like Doc says, if Rondo gets injured, it would have much more of a negative impact than it would if one of the more famous trio went down. Let's take today's game as an example.

In today's loss against the Orlando Magic, the Celtics went without sixth man Tony Allen, bench player Brian Scalabrine, star Kevin Garnett, and the kid in question, Rajon Rondo. In addition, Glen "Big Baby" Davis suffered an injury in-game and did not return for the second half.
But putting that all aside, look at what I put as one of today's "keys to the game":

"Another key to the game, as always, is Rajon Rondo. If Rondo can use his quick defense to disrupt Alston, who will be distributing the ball to Howard as well as the deadly shooters (of the Magic), the Celtics will be in very good shape.
"On the offensive side of the ball, Rondo needs to make sure he continues to push the ball up the floor, run the baseline, and create for open shooters such as Pierce and Allen. If he can get Leon Powe, Glen Davis, and Kendrick Perkins on a roll down low, that would be nice, too, considering those are the guys trying to fill the void Garnett leaves on offense because of his injury."

Too bad the Celtics had almost no offense in the first half, especially without having the luxury of Rondo being there to run baseline and create for open shooters (as well as himself). It was hard for the Celtics to stop Orlando's three-point threat as well, without having one of their top defensive players out on the perimeter.

Paul Pierce only had 16 points off 5-of-15 shooting. Why?
Because Rondo wasn't there to free up the lane with his fantastic drives. Pierce also wasn't able to get many open three-point shots, most likely because of the absence of Rondo's kick-out passes.

So, is Rondo the MVP for the Celtics? In my mind, yes. How about yours?

Note: There is a poll up asking this question, as always, below the recent articles and the ad.

The last question asked who was the better team when healthy: the Celtics or the Cavs? The final results showed that it was a tie. Tell me what you picked and why in a comment!