The Curious Case of Rajon Rondo
By Jackson Posnik
I’ve always been a Rondo guy. His grit, hustle, and toughness, are attributes I have always liked. Rondo reminds me of Paul Pierce in a way, with his old school, I’m not your friend demeanor. But one question that throughout his career has followed Rondo is, is he an elite point guard?
Rondo has an atypical set of skills from the modern NBA point guard. He’s not a super athlete like Russell Westbrook or Eric Bledsoe. He’s not an incredible scorer like Kyrie Irving or Damian Lillard. He’s not a great shooter like Steph Curry.
Rondo is a pass first point guard who plays tough defense and manages to scrap for rebounds and points. Despite his unusualness Rondo has consistently done enough to stay in the conversation of top tier point guards, or just a level below.
Aside from assists Rondo has never been statistically great either. Although he has averaged ten or more assists five different times, Rondo has never averaged more than 14 points in a season. He did average five and a half rebounds twice which is definitely better than average, but not eye popping. Yet Rondo has 24 career triple doubles, the third most in the NBA since 06-07.
Also a part of the story is how Rondo’s play and career have gone. During the Big Three Era with the Celtics, Rondo could afford to sit back and let his teammates do all the scoring while he looked to set them up. Yet in the postseason Rondo would become a whole different player and single handedly won or kept the Celtics in the most important of games; with not just his passing, but his scoring and often rebounding.
When the Big Three disbanded, we all expected Rondo would become the postseason Rondo permanently. He would be the leader of the Celtics, the main scorer, and we figured the passing would stay the same. And it never really happened. Rondo suffered a torn ACL and was dealt to the Mavericks last season only to have minimal playing time and success due to attitude problems; stories of which have popped up periodically throughout his career.
Now Rondo is on the Kings and already has two triple doubles this season. And with those triple doubles the questions of Rondo’s eliteness are coming back again. So what is Rondo? Is he the incredible player we saw for the Celtics in the playoffs; fighting for rebounds while scoring at will and dishing out dimes with ease? Or is he the point guard we saw on Dallas, butting heads with his coach and looking like he didn’t belong in the NBA?
While we may not know for a while, Rondo’s direction seems to be trending towards the better of the two scenarios, and I for one am excited.