There’s a thought I want nothing to do with. It’s a worst case scenario, but with Rajon Rondo’s recent plantar fasciitis development, it’s something that Boston Celtics fan should at least give some thought to, so their worlds don’t come crashing down should their biggest fear come true.
Rondo has been electric so far this season. He’s shooting 50% from the floor, leading to 11 points per game and dishing out assists at a record pace of nearly 15 a game. Plus he makes his teammates better. He creates their opportunities. This is news to no one, but it’s not like Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, or Kevin Garnett have a great deal of difficulty getting their shots off, still most green machines require electricity to run.
So the question that no one is thinking is what would happen if Rondo went down with an injury? Could the team still perform at a high level?
The answer unfortunately isn’t yes. It’s no. Let’s examine the troubles that would arise.
Rajon Rondo resembles the Adrian Peterson of the NBA. He cuts in and out of traffic, leaving defenders in his wake. When the Celtics are out on the break or pushing the ball, there isn’t much anyone can do to stop them.
So, if Rondo went down, the Celtics would be left with Nate Robinson and Delonte West behind the wheel.
Nate can run, but lacks court vision and brings a shoot first mentality. More times than not, you’d expect him to jack up a misguided three if the pressure got to him. He really is a shooting guard in a point guard’s body and it has shown this year when the second unit is on the floor.
As far as Delonte goes, there’s no guarantee he’ll even make it past a couple of games with the Celtics. If he does, he’s still only a second unit caliber point guard. And again, like Nate, he’s more of a hybrid than a pure point guard.
Rondo brings new life to the Big Three. There’s a lot of wear and tear on Pierce, Allen, and Garnett. They’re not one injury away from combusting, but they’d lose a great deal of that spark they’ve had in the early going this season.
Plus, with 12 back to back sets left this season, the Celtics will tire as the season goes on, so the omission of Rondo’s youth would be a great concern.
You’d see a lot more one on one matchups with the Big Three trying to make too many individual plays. The majority of the Celtics success this year has come from moving the ball and not off isolation.
The overall reality of life without Rondo would see a notable drop in scoring opportunities.
Last year the Celtics led the NBA in three, four, and five man +/-. Rondo of course was in all these combinations, meaning when he was in the game the Celtics played better offense and defense. And it landed them within two minutes of another Championship.
The ability to create open looks would fall and the ability to defend against open looks would also fall, solidifying the Celtics transformation from the Green Machine into a rusty ’73 Monte Carlo.
It would not be a pretty sight.