Arguably one of the reasons why the Celtics found their share of troubles with the Heat in the series— starting point guard Rajon Rondo fell to the ground underneath of Dwyane Wade, dislocating his elbow in the collision in the second half of Game 3. Rondo would make a return that game, helping to lead the Celtics to their one win of the series.
Since joining the Celtics, Rondo has elevated his game season after season, finding himself in today's conversations as one of the more talented point guards the NBA has to offer.
Despite his early success in the league, Rondo is a player that still has his share of room to improve his game and better help his Celtics team. Going into this offseason Rondo knows as well as any player in the Celtics locker-room that there are still plenty of areas where the young talent needs to improve.
Here are the five areas where Rondo must improve going into next season in order to help keep the Boston Celtics a championship contender.
Since joining the Boston Celtics in 2006, Rajon Rondo continues to have his struggles taking care of the basketball as the starting point guard.
This past season, his mark of 3.4 turnovers per game was a career high.
If the Celtics expect to make another run at an NBA championship, with the Big Three, Rondo has to take better care of the basketball and take less risk on the offensive end. His passing ability is among the top in the league, yet sometimes Rondo takes the chance late in games when possessions are most crucial.
Down the stretch there is a tendency to give Paul Pierce the basketball at the top of the key instead of Rondo. Turning the ball often while also needing improvement in his shooting game, there are strong reasons why Rivers makes this move down the stretch.
When Pierce and the Big Three part ways with the Celtics, Rondo must be able to take possession down the stretch and utilize his opportunities.
Time and time again, Rajon Rondo will find himself with open mid-range looks on offense. In fact, defenders tend to play Rondo five- to 10-feet back regularly.
Rondo needs to take time to develop a more consistent, fluid jump shot that makes defenders pay for softer defensive play. If defenders eventually find the jumper to be a threat, Rondo will then be able to use his quick, explosive first step to blow by perimeter defense at a more consistent rate.
This would allow Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and the shooters for the Celtics to have better looks if Rondo can consistently attract more attention offensively and use his passing ability to his advantage.
This season, Rondo would shoot 47. 5 percent from the field, his worst mark since earning the starting role as the point guard for the Boston Celtics.
The element that separates Rajon Rondo from players like a Derrick Rose with the Chicago Bulls or a Russell Westbrook with the Oklahoma City Thunder is their respective ability to make defenses pay by attacking the rim with ease.
If there’s one thing that an improved jump shot allows for, it’s the ability for Rondo to get more looks at the rim and get into the teeth of the defense on a nightly basis.
The Boston Celtics are in need of a point guard that can take more of a consistent scoring load for the team. Rondo has shown he is as quick and explosive as any player in the league, yet seems to show glimpses of his ability as oppose to making defenses work to try and slow down his penetration and drives to the basket.
When Rondo gets aggressive, the Celtics win basketball games. When Rondo went to the line four times or more this season, the Celtics were 16-4, winning a whopping 80 percent of the time. All four losses for the team would come on the road.
As an All-Star point guard in the league, Rajon Rondo has earned his respect as one of the more effective point guards the league has to offer. Yet if there’s one thing the Celtics organization wish Rondo would improve, it’s his free-throw shooting.
Aggressive offense opens up more opportunities to cash in points at the free-throw line, yet for a player like Rondo, those points seem to be hard to come by. Despite his ability to get to the rim with his quick dribble and first step, Rondo is as inconsistent a free-throw shooter as any player in the NBA.
This season Rondo would shoot 56.8 percent, a mark that stands as a career worst for the Celtics point guard. He also attempted a mere 1.9 free throws per game, easily the lowest of his career.
Head coach Doc Rivers has stated that Rondo has been hesitant at times to even go to the strike, as his free-throws have been lacking consistency. Rivers continues to urge Rondo to get to the line and improve his stroke, as getting into the teeth of the defense will open up scoring opportunities for other scorers like Paul Pierce, Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett.
This offseason Rondo will need to spend time making his trips to the free-throw line count more for his Boston Celtics.
Since stepping into the role of starting point guard for the Boston Celtics, Rajon Rondo has been a significant element in the winning ways of the teams. Yet since starting for team, he has also been overshadowed by the Big Three.
When people think the Boston Celtics, the leaders that come to mind could be Kevin Garnett or maybe Paul Pierce, as Rondo never seems to be in the picture. As a point guard that continues to show improved of level of play, Rondo has a responsibility to the organization to become “the” vocal leader for this Boston Celtics team.
With Kevin Garnett and the Big Three aging, a player like Rondo must begin to assume the duty of being the ultimate leader for the Celtics. Kevin Garnett is known as the vocal leader on defense for the team, while Paul Pierce has been the face of the franchise for over a decade.
Rondo’s time has come to emerge as the leader on both ends. The Big Three have made it clear time and time again Rondo is more than capable of leading this team and is arguably the more integral piece to this Celtics team.