Boston Now Boasts Big Four: Celtics Will Go as Far as Rondo Takes Them
Posted by RichieZ23 on May 10, 2010
The past season was a historic one for Rajon Rondo.
In his fourth season, Rondo eclipsed career-highs in what seemed like every statistical category. His 36.6 minutes, 50-percent from the field, 9.8 assists, 2.3 steals, and 13.7 points were all career bests for the former Kentucky Wildcat.
Even more impressive for Rondo was he broke the Celtics franchise-record for assists in a season, as his 794 assists surpassed the 60-year mark previously held by Hall-of-Famer Bob Cousy, who dropped 715 dimes back during the 1959-60 season.
Rondo has emerged as a top point guard in the league, and with his performance in the playoffs showed that he is now Boston’s best player. Not to take anything away from the Big Three — Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett — but the Celtics have the best chance to win when Rondo is controlling the ball and the tempo of the game. The “Big Three” of 2008 is no more with Rondo controlling the game, and that’s a good thing for all Celtics fans.
I am in no way saying Boston should diminish the opportunities for either Pierce, Allen, or Garnett. I am saying Rondo needs to control the ball for Boston the way Steve Nash controls it in Phoenix. The way Chris Paul controls it in New Orleans. He needs to be the focal point of the offense, and make everyone around him even better. During Boston’s title run in 2008, Rondo was made a better player because of the experience and leadership that the Big Three brought. Now, Rondo has the chance to do the same for a streaky Allen, a step-slower Pierce, and an aging Garnett.
The “Big Three” Is Now Four
Jesus Shuttlesworth Ray Allen is far from an elite player now days, and has always been a liability on the defensive end. While he still possesses a lightning-quick release, combined with a deadly jumper, he has always done his best work spotting up and coming off screens. Of the “Big Three” Allen has always played third, and should not lose that many shots during the course of a game.
Pierce has been playing the game in slow-motion for years it seems. He’s not going to beat anyone off the dribble, yet somehow, he finds ways to make plays. The Celtics go-to move in crunch time during their championship run was the iso on the high elbow for Pierce, who would pump-fake, then drill the fadeaway. Pierce can and still will be an impact player, but there is no reason for him to handle the ball as much as in years past. Rondo can create easier shots than anything Pierce can do with the ball in his hands.
Luckily Garnett’s best quality — his passion and fire — do not require the ball in his hands. Besides his mentality, K.G. has also been among the league’s best as a rebounder and defender, and then secondly as a scorer — especially in his time with Boston. While Garnett still possesses a nasty post game complete with the spin and fade, perhaps the time with his back to the basket can be replaced by Rondo’s dribble penetration. Garnett can most definitely step out and hit the jumper, and it would also open up the 3-point game a bit more for Wallace, Pierce and Allen.
Best Player on Boston
Rondo had a great season, but he is having an even better playoffs the more he handles the ball and controls the game. He said after Boston’s Game 4 win that the Celtics get out on the break better when he gets the rebound. Because of this, he is crashing the glass more in hopes of getting the board. Rondo is the Celtics best player and should be looking to get the ball in his hands at every opportunity. This does not mean he will keep it in his hands though, and that is his best quality. He looks to pass first, and is one of the best ]players at driving to the basket in the game today.
Rondo has given Cleveland troubles at times in the series, which is now tied 2-2 after Rondo’s classic performance in Game 4 in which he dropped 29 points, 18 rebounds, and 13 assists joining company such as Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson as the only players to have at least 29, 18, and 13 in a playoff game.
There was talk of Cleveland matching Lebron up on Rondo, but that just creates more problems for Cleveland. Who is going to guard Paul Pierce or Ray Allen? Mo Williams is going to be going up against someone several inches taller than him, and Allen and Pierce can shoot over Williams. Williams is scrappy enough to take away Ray Allen getting to the basket, but if his jumper starts to fall it will be a long night.
Whatever Cleveland decides to do regarding Rondo, Boston will be able to exploit another area that arises because of the way Rondo is playing. If Boston wants to advance in the series and try to reach the NBA Finals again, they are going to go as far as Rondo takes them.