There is little need to discuss what Rajon Rondo brings to the Celtics. He is now a top five PG in the league (easily No. 3 in my slightly biased opinion), and was one of the most talked about players during last year's playoff run.
I recall overhearing my neighbor early in the summer yelling at his son, “Oh it's little Rondo!” Realizing that Rondo had finally become a household name put a smile on my face, but could I really be that surprised?
His electric quickness, creativity, vision, and defensive prowess are quite evident. But it was his leadership on a team already loaded with veteran leaders that demonstrated that at only 24-years-old, Rondo had already risen to the next level.
Now, heading into merely his fifth season, Rondo has a new role and responsibility: Teacher.
The Celtics committed highway robbery with their first pick in this year's draft, snatching Texas PG Avery Bradley at No. 19.
In a draft where PG's John Wall of Kentucky (No. 1 pick, Wizards), and Kansas' Xavier Henry (No. 12, Grizzlies, still unsigned) were the head of discussion, the 19-year-old Bradley flew under the radar. His upside, however, should not.
What Bradley loses with his 6'2” height, he makes up for with an array of different skills. Bradley is an extremely quick and tenacious defender (sound familiar?), and was easily the best of the PG's on that end of the court. Bradley averaged 1.3 steals in 29.5 minutes at Texas.
Bradley scored 11.6 PPG and shot 43.2 percent from the field. He has the ability to knock down the open jumper and is quick to pass an over-aggressive defender for a layup. Bradley shot a below average 38.2% on half court possessions which is a weakness needing to be addressed.
Bradley showed some choice decision-making abilities throughout his lone year at Texas under the hands of Rick Barnes, but he still has a long way to go. He has to work on his pick and roll as well as his isolation techniques.
Is there a more perfect player to help Bradley get accustomed to the NBA than Rondo? Bradley will learn as much from Rondo in practice and discussion as he will watching him in action.
Rondo is currently a model of the PG position and his constant increase in basketball intellect and practice regime is a staple of getting out what you put in. As Bradley will soon find out, Rondo knows what it's like to come into the league needing to prove himself to receive any playing time.
Going into the season, Bradley will likely not get much time, with veteran Nate Robinson manning the point, Marquis Daniels and newly acquired Von Wafer taking up a great deal of guard time.
Bradley will hopefully be allotted some time to prove himself.
Once Bradley matures and his game progresses (which it will in a couple years), he will likely start at shooting guard alongside Rondo. Once some of the veterans move on to retirement in coming years, Bradley will be looked at to step in and fill some roles.
Bradley needs Rondo, and he is very fortunate to enter the league with the ability to relate to a proven player. He needs to hone in on his strengths, maintain his versatility, and learn from the examples being set around him. Time and a good work ethic may be the only things that Bradley needs to become a star in the NBA.