Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
We’re familiar with his numbers, sure, but let’s examine his ability to pass a bit further and exactly how he still continues to rip apart defenses with his playmaking ability.
Consider Rondo’s skillset—athletic, big hands, quick feet, solid handles and smarts, all of which are useful traits to have in your point guard.
One of the biggest myths in the NBA is that Rondo doesn’t have a jumper, (don’t worry, we’ll get into this a bit later) although this is partly true, this slightly skewed reputation for being a non-threat from the outside in many ways enhances his ability to pass.
Common sense basketball defense would tell you that if a guy can’t shoot, give him space and let him shoot all he wants.
Well, in Rondo’s case, he relishes the opportunity for you to give him space.
Part of why Rondo is such a great passer is his creativity and ability to use the right pass at the right time.
When defenders sag off or slack off as far as denying passing lanes, Rondo is allowed to sit back at the top of the key and survey the court, and sure enough, he’s adept at finding cutters or open shooters in the half-court and in transition.
Whether it’s a one-hop bounce-pass, a no-look dime off a fake, or a even lob in transition, Rondo has an uncanny ability to find his man regardless of what opposing defenses try to do.
It’s also a catch-22, because if you play him tight, Rondo can easily get by with his quickness and handles, and either dish off for an easy dunk or layup, or even finish a shot himself—although he often opts to pass up open shots.
Another fascinating fact is Rondo leads all point guards in the NBA in assists leading to at-the-rim field goals, so when he starts his drive to the paint, he forces defenders to pick their poison—it’s either a Rondo layup, or a Boston big getting an easy shot off their man rotating over to help on Rondo.
His remarkable consistency as far as assists goes is incredible, and although everyone in the league knows he’s going to make mesmerizing plays on any given night, he still continues to surprise with his amazing ability to tear opponents apart using the pass rather than scoring necessarily.