The Little Engine Powering The Celtics

Rich KlennertContributor IJanuary 27, 2009

It seems this year that for the Celtics they go as their point guard Rajon Rondo takes them. Rondo, playing in his third NBA season, is averaging 11 points, eight assists, five rebounds, and two steals per game. With the team only losing nine games thus far Rondo's play has been way more up than down but in Celtic wins this year his points are up by five per game, assists and rebounds one per game, and his field goal percentage is up 22 percent.

It appears that the sky is the limit for this youngster who demonstrates quick hands, great speed, and a great basketball I.Q. Kevin Garnett has recently said that Rondo throws the lob pass better than anyone he's ever played with.

Rondo compares to a young Tony Parker at this point in his career in that Parker had trouble shooting early on and many feared he would be the downfall of the Spurs but he stepped right in and showed he could handle the pressures of playing in the playoffs, as Rondo did last year, and eventually improved his offensive game to where teams are forced to respect his offensive game. Rondo has steadily improved his field goal percentage every year he's been in the NBA to the point that he's over 50 percent from the field this year.

Rondo's critics will be quick to point out that he's playing with three All-Stars making it much easier for him and once they are gone he will be exposed. But Rondo's strengths aren't necessarily due to the presence of the Big Three, he's a great defender ranking 2nd in steals and 3rd in steals per game, he has tremendous quickness allowing him to beat most point guards of the dribble and getting into the lane, and as mentioned before he does a great job setting up other players, ranking 2nd in assists and 7th in assists per game.

Once the Big Three walk away from Boston the Celtics should be quick to surround Rondo with a good outside shooter who Rondo can kick out to similar to what he has with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, and also have a big man who he can run the two man game with like he does with KG. Replacing those players is not as easy as it sounds but by the time they are gone Rondo wouldn't need three All-Star caliber players around maybe just one more.

For most point guards to be successful they need to have talent around them and then have to be able to get that talent the ball. Rondo has shown he can be a great player with the proper talent and also that he can be a lockdown defender just ask Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, and Devin Harris who Rondo outplayed in his last several games.

With the Big Three gone Boston can then cater the offense more towards Rondo by playing a more up-tempo style. This would allow Rondo to show off more of his fast break and dribbling skills. It is similar to the situation Devin Harris was in playing the half court offense of the Mavericks then going to New Jersey playing the fun and gun offense that has him gaining All-Star consideration.

If Boston does choose to make Rondo the focal point of the offense when the Big Three leaves they would be wise to because the quickness of Rondo is almost unmatched around the league and has been turning heads with his All-Star worthy season.

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