The Evolution of Rajon Rondo
So far in this very young NBA season, it seems that Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is maturing and coming into his own before our very eyes, most notably the drastic improvement in his jump shot. You know, the same jump shot that President Obama and Celtics President Danny Ainge poked fun at last year.
I don’t want to jump the gun here and say he is all of a sudden Ray Allen, but the games I have watched his jumper looks to no longer be a liability. This in turn will make the Celtics overall a harder team to defend when opponents can’t lay off Rondo from 15-20 feet out and clog the middle or play passing lanes.
So far this season, the freakish Rondo is averaging 17 points, 11 assists, and 6 rebounds per game: 4 rebounds a game shy of averaging a triple double, of which he already has one this season. He’s shooting 54% from the field and his free throw percentage is currently 8 percentage points higher than last year’s average, improving from 57% to a stellar 65%.
Everyone saw last year that Rondo is athletically gifted when he was regularly putting up double doubles without a reliable jump shot. His defense is superb. His passing is bar-none. The only weak link in his game was his outside shooting. So he worked all off-season in Kentucky re-inventing his form and mechanics, among other thing bringing in his shooting elbow which has made for a much smoother stroke from the young star. That hard work is paying off right now for a Celtics team that will desperately need consistency from him down the stretch.
I wrote a piece awhile back questioning if the Celtics have another championship run in them before the windows of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen are closed. I specifically pointed out that Rondo will have to take a bigger scoring workload, and to do this he must improve his jumper to make him even tougher to defend and add another weapon to his deadly arsenal. I’m pretty sure Rondo knew that his shooting was an important area of deficiency that he needed to improve to become a complete player, and so far it looks like the hard work he put in is paying dividends.
The Celtics have won four straight games after starting the season 0-3, and look to make it 5 Friday night against the Pacers. Paul Pierce is still a bit banged up with a heel injury, but after dropping 24 points the other night it looks like he is getting back to form. Ray Allen is shooting 61% from downtown thus far. Brandon Bass has been a nice surprise and is producing much more than Glen Davis would have been. But the Celtics success this season will rest solely on Rondo and whether or not he can keep up this level of play all season long into the post-season.