To borrow from a famous saying, Rajon Rondo is a mystery wrapped in a riddle surrounded by an enigma. He’s easily the most complex personality to don a Celtics uniform since the great Bill Russell, and, like Russell, his contributions aren’t always quantified by pure statistics. His 10.8 PPG and 8.1 APG averages don’t suggest a player who should be talked about as one of the best point guards in the league, but that’s exactly what Rondo is.
No, stats aren’t what sets Rondo apart – but even then, it’s complicated. See, when Rondo gets to the playoffs everything changes. He somehow morphs into a triple-double machine, and all of his averages go up – points (14.5 versus 10.8), assists (9.2 versus 8.1), and rebounds (6.0 versus 4.4). Stats in the postseason set him apart, indeed, as few players in this league can ring up the triple-doubles at the rate that Rondo collects his.
As the 2012-13 NBA Season approaches, it’s clear that Rondo’s talents will be more in demand than ever. Ray Allen is gone. Pieces have been added. Rotations will need to be established, and players will need to be integrated into the schemes that Doc Rivers feels will give the C’s a shot at success. Rondo is central to all of that. He will need to find Courtney Lee in his spots, much in the same way that he fed Allen. He’ll look to resume his fastbreak love affair with Chris Wilcox. Clearly, these two players had a synergy in effect before Wilcox was lost with the heart ailment. Rondo will need to help Jared Sullinger feel comfortable with what he’s trying to do on the court. He’ll need to hit Jason Terry for spot up jumpers. He’ll need to feed Jeff Green and get him going when he’s in the game. Oh, and he’ll need to insert himself into the New Big Three, working with KG and Paul Pierce to keep the Celtics relevant and in the championship mix.
A tall order to be sure, but the headstrong Rondo is the perfect extension of Rivers on the court. Say what you want about Rondo, his basketball IQ is off the charts and he’ll be able to handle this laundry list of to-do items. He’ll power the newly configured Celtics in ways that will maximize the strengths of players like Terry, Lee, Sullinger and Green.
And maybe, just maybe, he’ll power the Celtics to an 18th NBA Championship.