Could Rajon Rondo Be the Next Bob Cousy for the Boston Celtics?

Frances White@WestEndGirl62Analyst IIJanuary 7, 2009

Many may think this is sacrilegious, because Bob Cousy had a Hall-of-Fame career and this is not saying that Rajon Rondo’s career will take the same path. However, their skill sets are very similar and their respective supporting casts both consisted of future Hall-of-Famers. 

Bob Cousy                                                            Rajon Rondo

Height: 6'1"                                                            Height: 6'1"

Weight 175 1bs.                                                     Weight: 171 lbs.

Draft position: Third overall pick                                Draft position: 21st overall pick

Cousy was not on the Celtics radar the year he was drafted. Paraphrasing Red Auerbach: “I’m supposed to win, not go after local yokels.” Red said all this even after his team finished with a 22-46 record.

Cousy was first drafted by the Tri-Cities Blackhawks with the third overall pick, but Cousy refused to report and was picked up by the Chicago Stags. The Stags folded soon after. He was then selected by Celtics owner Walter Brown in the dispersal draft.

Cousy’s first championship came in his third year in the league; he was surrounded by the likes of Tommy Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, and the great Bill Russell. With "the Cous" running the show and Russell on defense, they beat the then St. Louis Hawks in 1956, four games to three. This was the first of six championships for him.

He honed his skills on the playgrounds of New York in an ethnically diverse neighborhood. This caused him to have a very high intolerance for racial prejudices. Cousy was known for his no-look passes and behind-the-back dribbles and passes. He also had an uncanny knack of finding the open man. His teammates soon learned to keep their hands up and eyes open.

The Celtics have now found a similar point guard in Rondo. Rondo was not originally drafted by the Celts. They got him in a draft-day trade from the Phoenix Suns, who deemed him expendable because they already had Steve Nash. Think the Suns are kicking themselves since Nash’s production has slipped and they are in dire need of a backup point?

When Rondo got to the Celts, they weren’t counting on him as they already had Sebastian Telfair. After a horrendous season that included an 18-game losing streak, the Celts traded Bassy, "Big Al" Jefferson and spare parts for Kevin Garnett. They also made a trade with Seattle that brought them Ray Allen. 

This put control of the offense in Rondo’s hand and the kid was allowed to go through his growing pains while steering the ship. This resulted in the first Celtic Championship in 22 years. Rondo got his first championship in his second year in the league, again just like Cousy surrounded by possible future Hall-of-Famers in Paul Pierce, KG, and Allen.  

Let us compare their assist and turnover statistics over their first three years:

Cousy                                        Rondo

First year: 4.9 assists                   3.8 assists      1.8 turnovers/game        steals: 1.6

Second year: 6.7 assists               5.1 assists       1.9 turnovers/game        steals: 1.7

Third year: 7.7 assists                   7.6 assists       2.6 turnovers/game        steals: 2.6

Career Avg: 7.6 assists                 5.0 assists        has 377 TO’s so far       steals: 1.8

*Couldn't find cousy's stats on Turnovers or steals, all my research showed those stats as 0.  if anyone can find it please let me know.

They both have comparable numbers in their first three years, except Cousy was a more accomplished scorer.  What makes both of them special is that they both have huge hands for their size which makes it easier to control the ball.  Both have exceptional (in Cousy’s case had speed) and quickness. 

This has made them both unique in their ability to control the game without being the focal point of the offense. Heinson, who played with Cousy, said that Rondo reminds him of the Hall of Famer with his ability to pass and to find the open man. Heinson also said that it would serve the other Celtics well if they just keep running with him and keep their hands up and their head on a swivel for those magical passes.

For now Rondo has one up on Cousy by winning his first championship in his second year but he still has miles to go before he can be mentioned for the Hall or superstar status. However, this new-millennium Houdini of the hardwood is the class of the NBA guards in that he is a true throwback to an era of NBA point guards that were instinctual passers.

It is true that the Chris Pauls, Deron Williams, and Nashes of the world are better natural scorers, but Rondo is the one with the ring.


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