Could Rajon Rondo’s Jump-Shot Alter The Course Of NBA History?

  • Ben Parker

If there is one area of his game that Rondo is lacking, it is his jump shot. Rajon Rondo is fantastic at penetrating the lane, and finishing around the basket. But when you start to look at how he does in the realm of outside shooting, it’s pretty weak. Rondo shot 24.7% behind the arc last season, which is way behind the rest of the elite starting point guards in the NBA. Just to give you some perspective on where he lies, Derrick Rose shot 31.2% behind the arc, which ranks behind Russell Westbrook, Brandon Jennings, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Devin Harris, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, Mario Chalmers, and Chauncey Billups.

Many other point guards that aren’t even remotely considered “elite” shoot a much higher percentage behind the arc than Rajon Rondo does, which speaks to how how bad his jump shot really is. Rondo is considered by many to be the best point guard in the NBA for his amazing ball handling, passing, and overall court leadership skills. Averaging 17.3 points, 11.9 assists, and 6.3 rebounds per game in the 2012 NBA Playoffs, it is hard to find a point guard that is more efficient than Rajon Rondo.

The fact that Rondo is considered by many to be the best point guard in the NBA speaks to how good he is in every other facet of his game, and also can’t help but raise the question: How good would Rajon Rondo be if he actually had a respectable jump-shot?

You could reasonably conclude that his game would be infinitely better than where it is right now, which is a pretty frightening thought. On a more toned down level, it certainly seems reasonable to suggest that if he had a respectable jump shot, the Celtics would be the favorites to win the East.

The Boston Celtics threw the kitchen sink at the Miami Heat and nearly pulled off the upset in the Conference Finals. If Rajon had been able to reliably knock down an 18 foot jump shot and have the legitimate option to score from the perimeter, the Miami Heat would have been finished because it would have done so much more than just give the Celtics another 6-7 points. Miami’s defense would have had to stretch to ensure that Rondo didn’t score from the outside, creating a plethera of problems for the Heat.

First of all, this would make the gap between the Heat and Celtics at point guard about as big as the grand canyon. Mario Chalmers already can’t hold a candle to Rajon Rondo, but at least he shoots a lot better. If Rondo is knocking down threes and outside jumpers, the Miami Heat would be thorougly outclassed at the point guard position. Secondly, this would expose the Miami Heat middle even more than it already has been. If  Rondo is knocking down threes, that causes less double teaming down low and more one on one action down in the paint for Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass. Thirdly, it would allow Rajon to drive and attack the rim even more because defenders couldn’t sag on him or collapse on him as well. With a more stretched out defense, Rondo has more open passing lanes and lanes to attack the rim.  Rondo’s penetrating abilities would be amplified by the fact that defenders wouldn’t be able to play the drive everytime he has the ball, creating better shots for not just himself, but his entire team. Finally, this would undoubtedly make Rajon the best point guard in the NBA and possibly the best player in the entire league.

To answer the question posed in the title of the article “Could Rondo’s Jump-Shot Alter The Course Of NBA History?” the answer to me seems to be a resounding yes. In a world where Rajon Rondo has a jump shot, the Boston Celtics probably have 3-4 championships with their “big four”, which means that LeBron James doesn’t have a title, and that Kobe Bryant is still in search of his 4th ring or maybe even preparing a retirement speech. That immediately would silence all Kobe-Jordan comparisons as well as LeBron-Jordan comparisons.

Not only that, but Rajon not only would be getting ranked ahead of Deron Williams and Chris Paul, but whispers of John Stockton, Isaiah Thomas, and possibly even Magic Johnson would start to be heard. The Boston Celtics would become the golden standard of NBA, not the Heat or the Lakers. With the Miami “Big three” being a failure,  Pat Riley would blow up the Heat, trading Chris Bosh to the Washington Wizards for a bunch of draft picks and John Wall. As for LeBron James, Riley would deal him out of pure disgust and blind-loyalty to Dwyane Wade for winning him a championship ring. LeBron probably finds a way to patch things up with Cleveland, and get traded there for half the team including some really nice draft picks. NBA franchises would think differently about how to build a contending championship team by looking to the draft as the main source of winning instead of buying a bunch of top free agents.

This may sound crazy to suggest that Rajon Rondo’s jump shot holds the key to changing the basektball universe, but if you really think about it, why not? He has everything else going for him. If he gets a jumpshot,  he will have the entire NBA on a string, sitting on a rainbow under a pot of not gold, but championship rings.

 

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