A lot of people feel that one of the reasons why the Celtics have been somewhat successful during this time without Rondo is because the ball is moving more.The ball does not always find itself in the hands of one player, and so there is a stronger sense of "Ubuntu" (collective success over individual achievement). This has allowed several Celtic players to see double figures in multiple games. This in turn has caused many people to believe that Rondo is now expendable, and he should be traded for other assets. I don't believe this has to be the case, instead, I believe Rondo should alter his game a little.
The Celtics have been without Rondo for 21 games, and out of those 21 games, the Celtics have had 13 games with 5+ players scoring in double figures. Out of those 13 games, 5 of them had 6 Celtics in double figures. In the latest blowout against the Raptors, the Celtics had tied a season-high with 7 players in double figures. This isn't something unattainable with Rondo on the team, but how can he modify his game?
I would say that the best thing for Rondo to do is to conform to the mentality of the rest of the team. If you have a shot, take it, if not, pass the ball, don't hold onto it and hope that something good comes up soon, otherwise you're looking at a desperation end-of-the-clock heave.
Sometimes Rondo's ball hogging can become necessary. Very few point guards can break down defenses in the half court like Rondo can. Then at the same time, Rondo's ball hogging becomes unnecessary at times, for example the fast break. When the Celtics went on a fast break, it would stall a bit because the ball is trying to find Rondo so he can lead the break. There's nothing wrong with leading the break, but if you're surrounded by players that can lead it already (Lee, Green, Barbosa), then the ball doesn't have to start in your hands for you to dish it to someone else.
This new style of playing would probably turn Rondo into more of a scorer compared to his past years, but that isn't a bad thing at all. In addition, if he buys into the idea of passing the ball if there's not no shot available instead of trying to hold onto it, to do something spectacular, then that's a lot of pressure off of Rondo's back. Rondo's minutes could be cut back so he doesn't get worn out, and that saved energy could then be used on the defensive end.
Doc Rivers made a point about this a little while back:
"We’ll figure it out, where he can play his minutes at full pace instead of knowing he’s going to be on the floor too long and start pacing himself," Rivers said. "We need him to be a fast, quick, aggressive player."
(You can find the rest of the brief interview here).
I think limiting Rondo's minutes would make him more effective on the defensive end, since he's not using all of his energy to regulate the offense. In addition like Rivers said, limiting Rondo's minutes would allow Rondo to be more aggressive. This in turn, would probably allow Rondo to cut down on his gambling since he'd have the energy and quickness to stay in front of his man.
But this is just what I think.
What are your thoughts? If Garnett and Pierce come back next season, should Rondo remain the same? If not, how should he change his game to the way the Celtics are currently playing?