Boston Celtics/Rajon Rondo


Would you say Rajon Rondo is overrated? ondo takin a carrer break is a blessing in disguise for boston. Since then, they gutted out a double-overtime victory over the Heat, held on to a 19-point halftime lead over the Clippers to win by 2, embarrassed the Lakers 116-95, and won a triple-OT thriller over the surging Nuggets, all while winning seven in a row. Jason Terry and Paul Pierce are playing with more moxie, and suddenly the C's are sitting in the seven seed in the East with a 27-23 record. It seems improbable that losing their supposed best player would allow the struggling Celtics to give its fans so much hope for the remainder of the season, but that's exactly what happened. Maybe it has to do with Rondo being a rumored team cancer for nearly his entire career? Maybe it has to do with how much more team-oriented and comfortable Boston's offense is now that no one is waiting to see what Rondo will decide to do this time down the floor. Maybe it has to do with how much better everyone seems to play when they enjoy playing with and for each other. Obviously all these issues are interconnected, but it is worth noting that Rondo had a team second-worst -56 plus/minus before tearing his ACL, a number way behind KG, Pierce, and Terry (all in the positive),
It took 3 veteran HOFers who all have their heads on straight to keep him under control for as long as they did, and Rondo eventually drove one of them out of town, and it appears his influence on the team after that point was a negative one. What other team has the leadership that could keep him under control? San Antonio, and that's it, and they already have a great PG.

rondo having triple doubles dont mean anything cause the ultimate triple-double machine of all-time (Oscar robertson didn't exactly have a great effect on his team even when they had lots of talent (missed multiple playoffs, won 2 total series during his decade on the Royals), I think it's fair to say that someone with the humongous "team cancer" reputation of Rondo may not help his team nearly as much as his individual stats suggest. See also: the first decade of Zach Randolph's car

I don’t think Rajon Rondo is overrated. We all know his flaws: his jump-shot isn’t reliable and his free throw accuracy is sub-par. Still we shouldn’t forget the way he played in the last playoffs when the Celtics almost eliminated the eventual world champions Miami Heat.
You wrote “Jason Terry and Paul Pierce are playing with more moxie”, and that is the truth: Boston reacted to the injuries of Rondo and Sullinger: they regrouped and started playing the way they were supposed to from the get-go.
In my opinion the Celtics are weaker without Rondo, but are playing better than they did with him. He surely has his share of guilt for the awful start since he is the leader of the team, but we should all be aware that all the starters, the coaches and then the bench have a share – although different in terms of percentage – in wins and losses.

That’s why I don’t think that singling out Rondo for the losses is fair. When in 1992 Larry Bird was injured the Celtics played better basketball and a reporter asked coach Chris Ford if Boston was stronger without Larry. Ford’s reply was clear: “What am I, an imbecile”?

I also dispute the fact that “it took three veterans to keep him under control and he drove one of them out of town”. Because if it is true that the “three veterans” helped Rondo win the title, it is also true that they won the first ring of their illustrious careers with Rondo manning the point. Is is understood that Bob Cousy was one of the basketball greats of his time…but it took Bill Russell for him to start winning… because basketball is a team game, and one player can affect the outcome of games but not win them on his own.
Ray Allen chose to go and to let the Celtics fans know about his choice from the Heat owner’s tweet. It was easy for him to point fingers on his way out.

Now, you are singling out Oscar Robertson to prove that triple-doubles don’t matter… sorry, I don’t buy this, I saw Oscar play and I think he was one of the best players ever. He played for decent-but-not-great teams and often led them to winning records… even Chamberlain, West and Baylor won less than expected, but there was a reason why: Bill Russell and the Celtics. And when Robertson had a chance to play with Jabbar he went for all the marbles.
I would not call Rondo a “team cancer”. Yes, he made some mistakes but team chemistry is always affected by the way all the players interact, and it always takes a whole team to develop good or bad chemistry. Moreover, Boston reached the Finals twice in the last five years and, in spite of a conspicuous series of injuries, won 11 of the last 15 playoff series. All with Rondo in the driver’s seat.

The Celtics had a tendency to wait and see what Rondo could create off the dribble, and that made the attack more stagnant, but in the end it is up to a player to get open, and when a Celtic does Rondo will hit him for the score…as he did with Avery Bradley in the past, and as he did also with Ray Allen, in spite of the hard feelings that grew later.

Was Rondo playing bad basketball before the injury? Definitely. Does he bear his share of responsibility on the ugly start of the season? Absolutely. Is he overrated, and are the Celtics better without him? Chris Ford would repeat: “What am I, an imbecile”?
I hope this helps


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Fabio Anderle


Expert on Larry Bird, but I have a deep knowledge on the whole Celtics history, the coaches, the players, the owners.


Italian Celtics Pride editor

Larry Bird biography (in italian), historical and beat writer.

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