Throughout the offseason, Rajon Rondo’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors, been an alleged malcontent, a non-conformist, and Danny Ainge’s worse nightmare. Yet Rondo remained in Boston working on his game, and continued working with the younger Celtics.
Rajon Rondo’s four-year Celtic odyssey has seen moments of brilliance and other times left you scratching your head. He was not in the first 20 players picked of the 2006 draft. In fact, he was drafted 21st overall by Phoenix and then was promptly sold to Boston for cash considerations. His first season, he hardly played because the Sebastian Telfair experiment was on full tilt; Rondo consistently outplayed him.
That offseason, Boston had a whirlwind summer, and when the dust cleared, he had been handed the starting job and had three possible hall-of-famers to pass the ball to.
Imagine the pressure he was under until he was able to gain their trust. Pierce was probably telling him, "this is my team," Ray-Ray probably shot daggers with his eyes, and KG let him know—in no uncertain terms—that he better not muckup. To make it even worse, Doc told him how to tie his sneakers and whom to pass, too.
When it was all said and done, Rondo had helped deliver banner 17 to a starving Celtic nation.
The 2008-09 NBA season saw him lead his team to a 60+ that saw their repeat hopes dashed by injury. During the playoffs, he averaged a near triple-double at 6’1’’ tall. The shortest player had better averages than the more celebrated big men of the playoffs. Yet pundits and casual fans persist with trade rumors and say that he does not deserve to be mentioned with the top echelon guards of the NBA.
Devin Harris was given the nod over him for the all-star game. Harris has never taken his team to a championship (he was a role player in Dallas); to make matters worse, New Jersey did not even make the playoffs. But his name was called ahead of Rondo’s.
After the season, the media was quick to point out his inconsistencies during the playoffs and made a concerted effort to say that is the reason he was not an all-star; even though he was a championship point guard, who led his team to a 60-win season and averaged a near triple double.
Am I missing something here?
Tommy Heinsohn, the man who has been here for every single Celtic Championship, has seen the likes of Dee Brown, John Bagley, Sherman Douglas, Charles Smith, Tiny Archibald, and Brian Shaw (to name a few) run the parquet. He played with the original “Houdini of the hardwood” Bob Couscy. He stated that he would give anything to play with Rondo now. He would run through walls to catch one of his passes because his vision and passing ability is comparable to Couscy’s.
Heinsohn does not mince his word and very rarely compares today’s players to the greats he has played with or against. Therefore, in Tommy’s esteemed opinion, Rondo is a future hall-of-famer.
The 21st pick in the 2006 draft has achieved championship status ahead of his more celebrated peers like Brandon Roy, La Marcus Aldridge, and Rudy Gay. He is the one walking with the hardware and possibly closer to a second than the aforementioned players.
He has the temperament of a basketball savant leaping to challenges, yet because of his youthful exuberance, his inexperience caused him to lose focus. The 2009-10 NBA season will be his second at fully running the team. Prior to this, Doc did not trust him to make his own decisions.
We all know the results of that, and now we want to see a more confident Rondo express himself more on the floor and lead the Celtics to banner 18.
He is precocious, he is young, and that in itself may enable him to bring the 2010 NBA championship to Boston.