Monday, November 22, 2010

How Good is Rondo?

By: Aaron Goldhoff

March 19, 2005 my beloved Cincinnati Bearcats are taking on the hated Kentucky Wildcats in the second round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The Bearcats were coming off the “resignation” of coach Bob Huggins and they had a solid team with future Detroit Piston Jason Maxiell leading the way. The Wildcats came in led by a young freshman, Rajon Rondo, who was averaging 8.1 pts and 3.5 assists that year. The game started and I was dazzled by the breathtaking young guard who just ran up and down the floor on my Cats. He scored, he dished, and he played cat-like defense. He ended the game with a very impressive 16 points, 7 assists, and 2 steals. Right then I knew this kid was a special talent. But would he turn into Mark Jackson, doomed to toil away on bad teams, discounting the Pacers, or was he going to be Dennis Johnson - a great defensive point guard on the Sonic and Celtic Championship teams?

He joins the Celtics in 2006 after being drafted 21st overall and subsequently traded by the Suns. He joined the Paul Pierce, Al Jefferson Led Celtics who had gone 33-49 the year before. He averaged 6.4 ppg and 3.8 apg his rookie and year and everyone was worried about his jump shot and about how he was going to make this team better. But then KG and Jesus Shuttlesworth showed up and he became the glue that held this transformed team together. He averaged 10.6 ppg and 5.1 apg and the Celtics won the NBA Championship. Still, he was caught behind the Big 3. The following year’s playoffs we had the greatest playoff series of all time, which starred Rondo vs. Rose and it really showed everyone in the world that Rondo was for real. In that series he had two triple doubles and a 19-assist game. He ended those playoffs with a ridiculous 16.9 ppg, 9.7 rpg and 9.8 apg. Now we come to the 2010 playoffs where Rondomania just went nuts as he had two triple doubles, 29 points, 18 boards and 13 dimes then 19 points, 12 boards, and 10 dimes. The latter against the Lakers in the NBA Finals. So, of course we came into this season expecting huge things from Rondo, and he has been absolutely dealing. 17 dimes to start the season against the Heat, a ridiculous 10 point, 10 board, and 24 assist effort against the “defensive minded” Knickerbockers, and another 17 assist effort against the Pistons. Looking at all of these stats, however, just bores me and probably you so maybe just watch the guy play. His breathtaking driving and dishing or his absolute cat-like defense is just awesome. He is so much fun to watch and he really is the catalyst for the defending Eastern Conference Champions. He is not Mark Jackson because he doesn’t have “the shake” and he is not DJ because he doesn’t have a three point shot but he is just Rajon Rondo and he is exploding right in front of our eyes.