This past season was a historic one for Rajon Rondo.
In his fourth year, Rondo eclipsed career-highs in what seemed like every statistical category. His 36.6 minutes, 50-percent field goal percentage, 9.8 assists, 2.3 steals, and 13.7 points were all career bests for the former Kentucky Wildcat.
Above all else, Rondo broke the Celtics franchise-record for assists in a season . His 794 assists surpassed the 60-year mark previously held by Hall-of-Famer Bob Cousy, who dropped 715 dimes during the 1959-60 season.
Rondo has emerged as a top point guard in the league. With his wonderful performance this postseason, the point guard has definitively become Boston’s best player.
Not to take anything away from the Big Three—Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett —but the Celtics have the best chance to win when Rondo controls the ball, and the tempo of the game. With Rondo controlling the game, the "Big Three" is no more.
That’s a good thing for Celtics fans.
Boston shouldn't diminish the opportunities for either Pierce, Allen, or Garnett. I am simply saying Rondo needs to control the ball for Boston the way Steve Nash controls the offense in Phoenix.
Rondo must be the focal point of the offense, and make everyone around him even better. During Boston’s title run in 2008, Rondo became a better player because of the experience and leadership that the Big Three brought. Now, Rondo has the chance to do the same for a streaky Allen, a worn-down Pierce and an aging Garnett.
The “Big Three” Is Now Four
Jesus Shuttlesworth Ray Allen is no longer an elite player and he has always been a liability on the defensive end. While he still possesses a lightning-quick release, combined with a deadly jumper, Allen has always done his best work spotting up and coming off screens. Of the “Big Three,” Allen has always played third. He should not lose that many shots during the course of a game.
Pierce has been playing the game in slow-motion for years, it seems. He's not going to beat anyone off the dribble, yet somehow, he still make plays. During their championship run, the Celtics used the iso on the high elbow for Pierce, who would pump-fake, then drill a fade-away as their go-to move.
Pierce can still be an impact player. But he should not handle the ball as much as he did in years past. Rondo can create easier shots for Boston.
Luckily Garnett can still utilize his best qualities—his passion and fire—without the ball in his hands. Besides his mentality, K.G. has also been among the league’s best rebounders and defenders. He's been a scorer second—especially in his time with Boston.
While Garnett still possesses a nasty post game, complete with the spin and fade, perhaps the time spent with his back to the basket can be replaced by Rondo’s dribble penetration. Garnett can consistently step out and hit the jumper, and the point guard's penetration would also open up the 3-point game more for Wallace, Pierce and Allen.
Best Player on Boston
Rondo had a great season, but he's been even better in the playoffs. He stated, after Boston’s Game Four win, that the Celtics get out on the break better when he gets the rebound. As a result, Rondo is crashing the glass more in hopes of getting the board.
Rondo is the Celtics best player. He should look to get the ball in his hands at every opportunity. When he does get the ball, though, Rondo is not looking to keep it.
That is his best quality. He looks to pass first and is one of the best dribble penetraters in the game today.
Rondo has given Cleveland fits in the series, which is now tied 2-2 after Rondo’s classic performance in Game 4 . Rondo dropped 29 points, 18 rebounds and 13 assists. He joined elite company, with Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson included, as one of the only players to have at least 29, 18, and 13 in a playoff game.
There was talk of Cleveland matching Lebron up on Rondo, but that just creates more problems for Cleveland. Who is going to guard Paul Pierce or Ray Allen?
Mo Williams would have to guard someone several inches taller than him. Allen and Pierce can simply shoot over Williams.
Williams is scrappy enough to take away Ray Allen getting to the basket, but if Allen's jumper starts to fall, it will be a long night for the Cavs.
Whatever Cleveland decides to do regarding Rondo, Boston will be able to exploit other areas because of Rondo's spectacular play. Boston's playoff run will go as far as Rondo takes them.