Remember when the Boston Celtics’ new era big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen first assembled? Remember how the biggest questions surrounding that team pertained to Rajon Rondo and his growth, maturity and play? Years have passed since those questions, that team in particular was relevant. But the questions pertaining to Rajon Rondo have resurfaced and will more than likely remain for the rest of his career.
At one point of time Rondo was regarded as the best point guard in basketball. He was a better defender than most, if not all. He was a better rebounder than every other guard. And his playmaking ability was second to none. Some would often harp on his inability to score; while others would simply imply that his scoring wasn’t required. Rondo’s overall game reminded people of Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd two first ballot Hall of Famers who led their teams without having to score.
Whenever the Celtics’ games were televised Rajon Rondo would have ridiculous numbers. He had games where he posted 32pts 10reb & 15ast, 10pts 10reb & 24ast and a game where he posted 18pts 17reb & 20ast ( there were some games better than these). There wasn’t another point guard in the league who could impact the game in the ways Rondo did. Point blank period.
Some thought Rondo was a legend in the making, while others viewed him as a player who was a product of his environment.
After five years of proving he’s among the NBA’s elite, (4x All-Star, All NBA Team, 4x All Defensive Team, NBA Champ,) and finally taking the reigns of being the Celtics’ best player, Rondo tore his ACL amidst a career year (arguably). The Celtics’ championship window closed as well as Rondo’s quest in becoming an all-time great.
Once Rondo tore his ACL the Celtics starting rebuilding. They had already lost Ray Allen a season before via Free Agency. And decided that now it was time to part ways with Doc. Rivers, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Although injured, Rajon Rondo’s name was constantly linked to rumors. (Pacers, Lakers, Kings, Rockets, Heat etc.)
With Garnett and Pierce in Brooklyn, Doc. Rivers in coaching the Clippers, Ray Allen in Miami and best friend Kendrick Perkins playing in OKC Boston was no longer familiar, no longer a place Rondo wanted to be contrary to what him, his representatives and GM Danny Ainge wanted us to believe.
The following season (2013-14), Rondo returned to the lineup and played in the final 30 games averaging 11.7 points 5.5 rebounds and 9.8 assists. In the games he played he looked a lot like his former self skill wise, but mentally and physically he seemed a tad bit slow and uninterested.
Following the season the Boston Celtics drafted PG Marcus Smart, who many thought spelled the end of Rajon Rondo’s tenure in Boston. At that point in time the team was no longer being built around Rajon. It was being built for life after Rondo.
Initially the plan was for Rondo to teach, mentor and provide the younger Celtics with leadership. The problem with that was how Rondo wasn’t a leader himself. He needed a someone to babysit him; he was incapable of babysitting others.
In the 22 games Rondo appeared in for the Celtics he was pedestrian at best. His defense had plummeted, his quickness wasn’t up to far, he was a liability on the offensive end, his playing time was diminished and the team did significantly better when he was on the bench. Those observations should’ve been a red flag for any team trying to trade for him; not an excuse on why a change of scenery was needed.
After weeks of killing the Celtics the Mavericks traded for their cancer. ”Allegedly” the Mavericks were getting the piece that would propel to them to the top. Instead they got a piece that stagnated, rather derailed their changes of getting over the hump.
The Mavericks were a poor rebounding team and were very mediocre on the defensive end. With Rondo being a guard who excelled in those aspects the assumption was that he’d change those problems. The only thing that changed with his arrival was how great the Mavs were offensively and their chemistry.
To be fair, point guards generally take a long time finding themselves when shipped to a new team. Instead of focusing on the regular season and his putrid performances there we would always elude ourselves into believing his play would rise in the playoffs like they generally would.
After two playoff games Rondo pretty much quit. Like Melo in New York, Rondo checked himself out and used the injury excuse because he no longer wanted to play. Everything had to be about him.
When you think about it Rondo really isn’t the player, the guy we make him out to be.
For starters, Rondo isn’t a true leader. In Boston he was shielded and coaxed by guys like Pierce, Allen, Garnett and Doc.Rivers. As a rookie he had guys like Sam Cassell and P.J. Brown around. All of those guys mentioned were leaders at one point; some were often cited as great leaders. In Dallas no one outside of maybe Tyson Chandler is considered a good leader. Dirk & Monta Ellis are often thrown under the bus for their leadership skills or lack thereof. When surrounded by subpar leaders (hence another Melo similarity) Rondo’s game folds.
Another knock on Rondo is how he just pissed on an opportunity to compete for a championship. The Mavericks have/had enough talent on the roster to make a legitimate push for a title, but because of Rondo’s arrogance and selfishness that goal faltered.
When evaluating Rondo’s play his game is a bit tedious. He’s a step slower than most of the guards at this point. He can’t shoot in a league where shooting is a necessity. And his playmaking ability isn’t as good as we once thought. If Rondo can’t over dribble and hold the ball for an excessive amount of time his not going to be a great playmaker. In today’s game his ball stopping style (Melo reference #3) won’t fit in most if not all of today’s offenses.
Honestly, the game has moved past Rajon Rondo. He’s not a top 40 player. And he can’t run a team that would be functional in the league today.
Teams like the Lakers, Kings, Heat and etc should stay away. If he quit on a team that close to a championship why wouldn’t he quit on a team that’s further away? If he quit on a team that was in the rebuilding phase why wouldn’t he quit on another?
Max dollars shouldn’t be thrown his way. He’s not that top level guy anymore. And he never will be again. Headcase, arrogant and selfishness are the traits of a team killer. Teams should be wary.
@FortOnSportsInc & @RyanDFort
Do you agree or disagree with this assessment of Rondo?