I saved some of my favorites for last, and Rondo is certainly one of my favorites. Anyone who has read this blog for long knows that I have a great affinity for pass-first point guards that can play defense. Once upon a time I had great hope for Orien Greene and before that I really wanted to believe Marcus Banks was going to be the answer. Those are just two examples of a long line of points that didn't pan out in Boston.
Then along came Rajon Rondo. From his first summer league game, he was clearly better than Sebastian Telfair and had all the makings of a late first round steal. He's been slashing through the lane and setting up our shooters for open looks ever since. Every few months you can see real progress in his game, to the point where he has established himself as the 4th best player on the team, and one of the most important when it comes to determining the outcome of each game.
When Rajon is on his game, there's simply no stopping this team. He has lightning quick speed that he uses in short bursts that keep the defenders on their heels. He is so important because when he's getting past his man, even if he doesn't make it to the basket, he's forcing the defense to shift their spacing, creating room for Celtic shooters. He has great vision and can deliver the ball to shooters in rhythm.
Most days he does not look out of place playing alongside 3 superstars. He just makes their jobs easier. And in the Celtics defensive system, he's a great disrupter. He pesters opponents before they can get the offense started and he comes up with more than his share of steals and deflections. I haven't even mentioned the jaw dropping blocks and rebounds that he seems to fly in from nowhere to get.
He's had his share of growing pains and bad days, but no more than any young player might have, in particular one playing point guard. Some teams will shade off him and dare him to shoot. But that only works for so long before the team adjusts and makes them pay. He's even developing that mid range shot little by little. In time I'm sure he'll be hitting that with regularity.
Two years in the league and Rondo is already the starting point guard on an NBA Championship team. He's got a great future ahead of him, and the present is pretty sweet too.
So thank you Rajon. You have been all that we could have hoped for and more.
More Thank You's: Kendrick Perkins | Eddie House | Ray Allen | PJ Brown | Wyc Grousbeck & Owners | Sam Cassell | Paul Pierce | Kobe Bryant | Doc Rivers | Assistant Coaches | James Posey | Danny Ainge | 17 Thank You's