Rajon Rondo Injured: Why the Boston Celtics' Big 3 Can Come Together Without Him
Rajon Rondo is going to miss ‘a couple of weeks’ Celtics GM, Danny Ainge told WEEI radio Thursday. It’s a tough pill to swallow for the Celtics, after playing so well over the past few weeks, but the team will manage as they showed us earlier in the season.
Rondo has missed five games this season and the Big Three and Nate Robinson were able to pick up the slack. They went 4-1 during those contests, oddly enough winning two games against New Jersey and Atlanta apiece, while only losing to Toronto by one stinkin’ point.
Luckily, the Celtics schedule is not too difficult over the next two weeks as they face off against teams like Indiana, Philly, and Detroit. Two games versus New Orleans and Orlando are the only ones on the schedule until January 5th against San Antonio, that are against plus-.500 teams.
Losing Rondo will have an impact, but here are the reasons why the team will come together and continue their success during his absence.
8. The Big Three Are Still the Team Leaders
While Rondo makes plays all over the court, the big three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett are the ones who put the ball in the hoop.
Ray succeeds off of anyone’s pass, Pierce can isolate with the best of them, utilizing his step back J, and Garnett loves to get the ball down low and also has an effective fade away.
The Celtics may not be as fluid as they are with Rondo, but they will still score, albeit with a slower, half-court game plan.
7. Nate the Great Leads the Charge Into Battle
Nate Robinson averaged 16.0 points and 5.5 assists per game filling in for Rondo during his five-game absence. While the assist numbers may not be near that of Rondo, the scoring is there and Nate still is competent enough when it comes to handling the rock.
What Lil’ Him lacks in distribution and decision making he makes up for it in the scoring. Nate can take the ball to the hole with the best of them and since he scores more than Rondo, it’s the same as adding two assists to his totals.
6. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen Will Pass More
While Pierce and Allen both average around three assists apiece, their numbers have gone up in games without Rondo. Ray dished out his second highest total (seven) of the season in the win against New Jersey in November and Pierce has had his highest total (10) last night against the Hawks.
These two are capable of making wise decisions when the ball is in their hands. If a guy is open, they’ll get them the ball.
5. Avery Bradley Will Get Valuable Playing Time?
Unfortunately I have to put a question mark here, since there is no guarantee Bradley will see more floor time, but hopefully the Celtics can blow out an opponent here or there to get Avery in the game. He did see four minutes against Atlanta last night, so that’s a good start.
The Celtics drafted Bradley for a reason, so any chance he can get to showcase that reason will go a long way towards his development.
4. Rondo Got Hurt at the Right Time
Well an injury never comes at the ‘right time’, but since the Celtics play six of the next eight games against subpar teams, Rondo’s injury shouldn’t lead to a Celtics’ skid.
Indiana has been playing better than expected, but they still are not a contender, despite being seventh in the East. Then there’s Philly and Detroit, who aren’t good teams. Plus if Rondo is out for the first two games of the new year, the Celtics play Toronto and Minnesota. I know Toronto beat the C’s, but I’m not putting much into them ‘having the Celtics’ number'.
3. The Celtics Will Get to Hone Their Games Individually Helping the Team
Since the ball is in Rondo’s hands so much, the rest of the team will now need to focus on creating their own unity. This can be a good thing.
An extended leave for Rondo will force the Celtics to forge for themselves, when it comes to moving the ball and creating shots. It’s a good thing, since the more people involved in each possession, the more a team learns about one another, playing to their strengths.
Let’s not get to philosophical, but understanding how to work the offense better as a unit, will benefit each player individually, thereby reconnecting them as a team.
2. Watch Me Marquis As I Get Lose Now
Anytime I can tie 2 Live Crew lyrics into an article, you best believe I’m going make that happen. In all seriousness, this is the time for Marquis Daniels to show up.
Daniels has been a key contributor off the bench recently (seventh in the rotation), despite a thumb injury that slowed him down for a few games. He’s capable of handling the ball and allows the Celtics to go big if the matchup dictates it.
Daniels is supremely talented, but isn’t at the level of the big three. Still he is a great defender and capable scorer, even if his stats don’t always show it.
If Marquis can keep himself healthy, he has the chance to really leave his mark on the floor and help the Celtics confuse defenses, while clarifying it on the other end of the floor.
1. Don’t Forget Who You Already Are
Hey! The Celtics are a veteran team who have been around the block. As much as Rondo means to the team, one third of their wins during their current streak have been without Rajon.
Come together and do what you do. This is one of the most storied franchises in NBA history, remember that.