Let me start off by saying that I love Rajon Rondo’s game and everything he does for the Boston Celtics. He truly is the engine that makes them run and the Celtics go as he goes. His defense, hustle, determination, speed, and vision all add to what has made Rondo an all-star in this league. He was voted to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for the first time and by no way shape or form will that be his last. Rondo had a breakout year this season and is now regarded as one of the best point guards in the NBA. Even though his output did somewhat dip after the Perkins trade, Rondo still had an awesome season. Remember towards the beginning of the year when 20 assist games were a common thing? Not to mention Rondo’s playoff performance. I don’t know if it was the poor defense of the Knicks, but he appeared to be back in stride to his former self and had gained all his confidence back. He wasn’t awesome against the Heat in his first two games but his comeback effort after that devastatingly cringing injury to his elbow can be regarded in the same category as Willis Reed. Rondo shocked the world and willed the Celtics to victory with one arm lying motionless at his side. It really is a shame that he got injured; if Rondo could have actually been able to use both arms the series has a different outcome, no doubt about it. However, with all this praise, where in the heck is Rondo’s jump shot?
Rondo has been criticized for his jump shot ever since he entered the NBA. He has had four years to improve or at least get it to a respectable level; however, he has miserably failed to do so. There were flashes of a jump shot this season, and at those times the Celtics offense was scary good. How is a defense to defend the Celtics if Rondo can knock down a 15-20 foot jump shot with a high level of consistency? Teams don’t have to worry about Rondo on offense unless he is driving the lane. Instead, teams sag about 5 feet off of him and direct their attention to help defend Ray, Paul, or KG. Some NBA analysts say that this is actually what makes Rondo the assist man that he is. They say that since defenders drag off Rondo so much, Rondo’s vision is improved and he can see the court that much better. Although this does make sense, it is no excuse for Rondo to not have a jump shot. He’s in the NBA and needs to show some dedication to make it effective.
This year he dipped from last season and averaged 47.5% on ten shots a game and shot 23% from downtown. His free throw shooting was terrible as well, shooting just 57% on only two attempts per game. I was very surprised at the two attempts per game. That is shocking. A player with his ability to get to the basket is way too good to just be getting two attempts at the line. Analysts during the playoffs said Rondo was shying away from driving to the basket because he didn’t want to get fouled and have to miss free throws. And yes, this was before his elbow injury. And even though Rondo did average ten shots per game during the regular season, the majority of those attempts were layups or floaters, not jump shots or treys.
The fact of the matter is that Rondo needs to develop a jump shot and needs to put in the effort to do so. Not taking the time to develop a jump shot will speak volumes about Rondo’s career down the road, and I do not want to hear that discussion about him or “what could’ve been.” It just frustrates me that no Celtics official addresses this need. All I hear is that the Celtics need a young, athletic, guy who can score the ball. HELLO?! You have Rajon Rondo, all you need to do is help him develop a jump shot. And if Celtics officials don’t address it, then Rondo needs to take the initiative and do it himself. Derrick Rose did it, Russell Westbrook did it, Deron Williams did it, Chris Paul did it now Rajon Rondo NEEDS to do it. If he wants to maintain his elite point guard status, he has to develop a consistent jump shot.
Just imagine a Celtics offense where Rondo can knock down the 15-20 foot jump shot and is driving the lane taking ten trips to the charity stripe with him. It will be much more difficult for defenses to account for all of the Celtics threats and it will create more room for Pierce and Allen to rain from the perimeter. The Celtics are already great at spacing the floor on offense, and with a more dangerous Rondo they’ll be even better. The Big 3 are getting older and lose their ability to score on offense a little more each year. Rondo is the young star, and needs to help carry that offensive load. This isn’t meant to say that Rondo needs to stop setting his teammates up as much, it is meant to say that Rondo needs to be more of a factor on the offensive end of the floor scoring wise. Anytime you can add more threats on offense and can put more pressure on the defense it’s a good thing, and an improved jump shot from Rondo will do just that.
It’s not like the Celtics have guys that can’t help him either. Ever heard of Ray Allen? Yeah the guy who has made the most three pointers in the history of basketball. How about take some lessons from him time to time. Paul Pierce has a pretty good jump shot too if you’ve heard of him. All I’m saying is that Rondo needs to improve his jump shot and free throw shooting going forward for the Celtics to be more than just competitive. We are looking for that young athletic scorer and Rondo could be that guy or at least help fill the role. I don’t know if it’s being worked on or not, I just haven’t heard anything about it, and that frustrates me. If I was a Celtics reporter in the locker room, that would be one of my first questions. This offseason Rondo first needs to make sure his elbow is completely healed and then needs to start working on that jump shot. An easy road to improvement would be to work out with Ray Allen, the guy shoots hundreds of shots a day, but that’s an early morning for anyone though.