I will admit that I was one of those guys who never thought Rajon Rondo would amount to much in the NBA. I thought he was a solid college player out of Kentucky that was making a large mistake in leaving school early. Another one of those guys who was pressing the issue to early and would ultimately prevent himself from reaching his full potential. Rondo is a guy who has been told why he won’t be good enough for his entire life. He was too small. He was too skinny. He could not shoot well enough. Rajon is one of those guys who uses it as fuel to the fire. There is no moping for the All Star who lacks an outside shot of any kind.
When Rondo came to UK, he was probably the 3rd most highly touted guy in the 2004 top rated recruiting class. Guys like Joe Crawford and Randolph Morris were supposed to be the guys who got the Wildcats back to the Final Four. So what. Rondo filled up the stat sheet at UK during his 2 years similar to how he has in the NBA. But generally, a guy who only drops 11 points a game in College does not garner much attention from the NBA Scouts. The Suns (really the Celtics) saw something they liked and drafted Rajon with the 21st overall pick in the draft. Rondo was the first point guard taken, even though he was immediately shipped to the Celtics in a 3 team deal. This was back when the Boston front office could do no wrong. Where every move they touched turned to gold. Sadly, nothing lasts forever, and Boston made perhaps the worst deal of the 2010/2011 year in shipping off Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder. But I digress.
So Rondo came to Boston, and was supposed to be just a role player. A guy who provided energy off the bench. I mean the Celtics also sported “highly touted” guards, Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair. By year 2, Rondo was the starter. Still, he was supposed to just be a role player who was a part of the undercard to Boston’s real show, the newly acquired “Big Three.” That did not last.
By year 2, Rondo really became a part of the conversation. This guy was apt to post a triple double effort on any given night. So over the past 4 years, Rondo has more than proven himself as a player. Honestly, in my opinion, he could be in the game’s elite top 5 superstar class if he developed a mid range and/or perimeter jumper. Maybe that just isn’t in the cards though for Rajon. Either way, he really makes do with what he has.
But back to last night and the reason why I am talking about the 5th year Celtic’s PG. Rondo not only has proven to be a great player and the consummate winner (already a championship ring). But Rondo has demonstrated an astounding level of toughness. Anybody who watched last night’s game has to tip their hat to Rondo. Not too many guys would have made it back onto the floor after dislocating their elbow. And for those guys who would have made it back onto the floor, how many of them would have been able to come back and really contribute to their team in a tough playoff atmosphere?
Rondo has not really shown me too much this year that I did not already know from a skill standpoint. I know this guy is good for about 11 points, 8 assists, and 4 boards a game. Plus he does many other things on the floor that does not show up directly on the stat sheet. In addition, his numbers in all 3 of those major categories rises in the playoffs. But I never knew just how tough this guy was.
During the course of the season, he has played through plantar fasciitis in his feet, a strained left hamstring, a sprained ankle, and now a dislocated elbow. Sounds painful. But there is not much that will keep this gamer off the court for long. Sure he missed some games this year. Most guys would have missed more with similar types of health issues.
So when you think of Rajon Rondo, do not just think of a speedy point guard that will fill up the stat sheet. Think of a very tough competitor that will be on the court until the trainer’s/coaches have to carry him off the floor and force him to stay on the bench.
Boston has to keep Rajon on the floor if they want any chance of taking down the South Beach All Stars.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.