Celtics Rajon Rondo on the Cusp of Perennial Greatness or Glorified Role Player?

Frances White@WestEndGirl62Analyst IISeptember 20, 2010

BOSTON - JUNE 08:  Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics looks on against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Three of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 8, 2010 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics are arguably in the most tenuous position as top contenders for the 2010-11 NBA title.  Teams such as the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma Thunder, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks, have what the Celtics don’t.

All of the aforementioned teams have youth and energy on their side that they can ride into the next 10 NBA seasons.  The Boston Celtics are not so lucky; they have Rajon Rondo and a group of veterans who by all accounts are on the last part of their NBA journey.

Rondo has shown steady growth throughout his four NBA seasons and with his fifth on the horizon the Celtics rewarded him for his hard work.  He already has an NBA championship under his belt and came darn close to winning a second in the 2009-2010 season.  

The one common denominator that seems to make all his progress an afterthought is the fact he disappeared in crucial moments of both championship runs. His already anemic jump shot and free throw percentage causes opposing defenses to ignore him when the game is on the line.  

Team USA coach, Mike Krzyzewski saw that and knew that it would be a tough ride for Rondo if he stayed on the squad. This is something that may cause the Celtics to look elsewhere for an heir apparent to Celtic greatness.

In defense of Rondo, his extended season and a lack of a creditable backup during the season had left him mentally and physically drained.

Boston could not go into the upcoming NBA season without addressing the need to relieve the pressure during the regular season.  Hence the addition of Avery Bradley and Delonte West.

Rondo should be commended for carrying the Celtics through the first three rounds of the playoff, his overall play was phenomenal.  

When the media talk about the top five NBA point guards, he is often considered the fifth option.  Even Devin Harris gets more consideration than him simply because of his lack of point production.

This is a disturbing trend that he must rectify in order to keep his name in the conversation as well as the talent level his mind perceives his game to be. His slight frame and lack of bulk does not seem to make him out to be the player that he is becoming.

There are numerous stories of his belief in self overriding what his present and previous coaches have asked him to do. All of them have to varying degrees have a ring of truth, yet this is the one trait that the Celtics are cultivating in him. 

It is that stubbornness that allowed him to lead, remain true to himself and earn the respect of his teammates.

Derrick Rose, Chris Paul and Deron Williams know of only one way to lead their team and that is through scoring.  Paul is the lone exception who does play defense, but it pales in comparison to Rondo's ability.

The mercurial Celtic point man has just finished a promotional event at Alcatraz, aptly named King of the Rock a one-on-one event.

Alcatraz's, murky waters reflect its past and future; its crumbling walls may very well tell the story of whether Rondo will be a Celtic and NBA great, or another role player who happened to play with great players.

That in a nutshell is the one supreme thing that is the driving force behind his off-season regimen—the quest to be king of the rock in the NBA.

He is the one true point guard that consistently left his mark in the NBA and Boston Celtic record book in the 2009 season. He accomplished an Oscar Robertson type triple double against a LeBron James led Cleveland Cavalier team.

He shattered a Bob Cousy assist record that stood for 50 years and he surpassed Rick Fox as the Celtic all-time steals man.

There are more critics than admirers of Rondo's game; his teams win ugly but he is a joy to watch on the court when he has offensive weapons around him. He has the ability to read angles that Rose, Paul and Williams could ever think off.  

At 6'0" tall, Rondo is a freakish athlete with an equally high basketball IQ and is criticized for his lack of offense; yet his teams continue to win.

If winning is and will always be the driving force behind NBA glory, something LeBron James and his Miami Heat compatriots reminded us off. Then Rondo figured it out much earlier than the Miami triumvirate.  

He could have earned considerably more money in the summer of LeBron, but he chose the path to a possible Hall-of-Fame career as his basketball legacy. 


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