The Emergence Of Rajon Rondo

Billy DeCostaCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2008

It's fair to say that the defending champions have improved a lot since last season.

A large part of that is the emergence of Rajon Rondo.

In case anybody has forgotten, after the big three were assembled at the start of last season, he was the biggest question-mark in the starting line-up. Experts wondered whether the young floor general would be able to perform his role effectively .

The point guard is arguably the most important spot in basketball. Even if you have a solid front-court, an inadequate point guard can bring your team down. That's the reason Rajon Rondo was put under the microscope last season.

He showed flashes of greatness during last season's end and the following playoff run.

But now, those "flashes" are quickly becoming the norm. Wednesday night against the Pacers, he scored his first career triple-double with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 17 assists.

And that game is nothing but a microcosm of his development this year.

If you look at stats alone, the improvement doesn't seem quite as overwhelming.

He's averaging just over 10 points a game this season, about the same amount of offensive output he gave last season. He is also hovering in the same range with rebound average as last season (4.2 against 4.7.).

He's getting the ball around a bit more so far this year, respectfully averaging nearly eight assists a game.

But as it's always been with the Celtics, there's so much more than stats that make a great player. Rondo emulates that motto.

When Rondo play's well, the team's gonna play well. Teams have to worry about Rajon's play-making, and by that finding the perfect open shot, as well as his excellent speed that can beat you right to the hoop.

Last season it seemed that Ray Allen was starting to lose his touch. It was asked if he really was a player on the same level as a Paul Pierce or a Kevin Garnett.

Now, Ray is on fire. He's been the major contributor in the Celtics' recent tear. But, he should give thanks to Rajon Rondo.

Defenses are now paying more attention to Rondo as a scoring threat more than a ball distributor. This allows space for Allen to find more open jumpers and three-pointers. When an opposing team starts to worry about the back-court, you make opportunities for your guys down low. And who better to have those chances then KG and Paul Pierce.

Rondo plays outstanding defense, is progressing quickly offensively and his recent play has allowed his great team to become even better.His style of play is the perfect fit for the Celtics' way of doing things.

If Rajon Rondo can keep this level of production up, you have one of the best teams of all time.