My thoughts, upon watching an emerging point guard blossom and glow on basketball’s biggest stage, is that Rajon Rondo proved to the critics that much of the illusive chronicles heard about his inconsistent shooting and useless semblance was misguided and inaccurate.
Without allowing him a moment to breathe and alleviate the burdens and pressure in a premature transition to the pros, he announced that he’d forgo his sophomore season at Kentucky for an early upstart in the NBA.
You might recall critics, following his brief collegiate career, denouncing and blasting Rondo, who was viewed as a substandard prospect.
You might recall critics assuming that he was an inefficient shooter and blamed for the blemishes and failures at Kentucky, a demanding and elite program in collegiate sports.
There were points, such as four years ago, when the emerging point guard and floor general wasn’t as imperative in the Boston Celtics offense, but now he’s the epicenter to their burgeoning offense.
At the beginning of the season, the chatter was that the Celtics were much too old and aging to match the intensity level of younger and quicker opponents.
Throughout his young career, Rondo has become the centerpiece of thriving talent and is now managing the leadership role. The Celtics supporters even know he’s a mellowed and versatile floor general, praising him greatly for his improvement and strength on an aging and passive roster.
In regards to his explosiveness and savvy delivery by creating scoring opportunities or pushing the ball through the lane with his exemplary ball-handling skills, he’s one of the best point guards in the league and productive at dictating the tone of the game.
A year ago, general manager Danny Ainge ripped Rondo during an interview, and lashed out by throwing a tirade on a local radio station in Boston, bashing him as a selfish and reluctant player.
Early on, his elusive instability was considered as a wasteful draft pick with the No. 21 overall selection for his lack of maturity and unwillingness. His rebellious demeanor almost had worn out on the Celtics, who were attempting to trade Rondo at one point for irritating the front office and coaching staff, including head coach Doc Rivers.
But since he has improved and really is instrumental to their offensive strategies, he'll be Boston’s franchise guard for many years. He’s ultimately braced for a driven mindset to disrupt opponents by pressuring the ball and spreading it around to accumulate assists.
With this season alone, he’s the difference in the Celtics restoration, and ballooned as a resilient and high-profile guard, transforming an unpredictable season into a probable Finals run.
Each night, he normally presents a stronger effort and brings the intensity in every game, but in a 91-84 Game Three loss the Celtics trail in the NBA Finals 2-1, desperately needing a win in Game Four to even a renewed rivalry.
If Boston wishes to return as a championship-caliber contender, Rondo must rebound from an inferior performance and reemerged as a superstar—without blowing a defensive assignment, like the one he gaffed at when Derek Fisher dribbled down the floor quickly for an uncontested layup and a three-point play after he was fouled.
The Celtics, on the other hand, cannot win the series without resurgence by Rondo, who had 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists in a spectacular fourth-quarter masterpiece in Game Two Sunday night at Staples Center. If Rondo is scoring and averaging triple-doubles, then the chances of the Lakers winning diminishes and may even have the tendency of unraveling a hard-driven core, including the game’s greatest closer, Kobe Bryant.
And before his frigid night, he was clearly a vital weapon and the primary ingredient in the Celtics' lone win. In these playoffs, he precisely shifted the complexion and now is discussed as a top-tier guard by executing and putting in extra time to improve his abysmal jump shot—a part of his game that has debilitated his potential to drill the outside shot or mid-range jumper.
What’s incredible about Rondo is that he can change his speed, which allows him to penetrate and toss bounce passes off the dribble. Even more useful is his vision and knowledge to find an open teammate, such as Ray Allen on the baseline or Paul Pierce beyond the perimeter.
He, indeed, has all the components, but the question remains whether he can apply it or not. His sudden breakout is a symbol of the Celtics, a signature concept as to why Boston has advanced to the NBA Finals.
All of us are glancing at an elite point guard. All of us are gazing at Rondo. All of us know he’s due for a colossal showpiece. Why not in Game Four when it's all on the line?