Rajon Rondo has been the 1-2 Boston Celtics‘ best player thus far, but his great start may soon be curbed by a loss of playing time. According to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com, head coach Doc Rivers wants to curb his point guard’s minutes to “save himself on the floor.”
Three games into Boston’s season, Rondo is second only to Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant with 41.7 minutes per game.
While keeping Rondo healthy and fresh is important, to take away any of his minutes would just be a foolish idea. He is averaging 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 12 assists and 1.7 steals while shooting an incredible 56 percent from the floor (his perimeter shot has shown great improvement this season).
On top of that, this is the man who gets star players Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett the ball. He controls the offense and is great at setting plays. Losing him for any extended amount of time would make the Celtics’ scoring sputter like a car about to run out of gas.
After all, as the New York Knicks showed us during the first half of last season, before Jeremy Lin stepped up, the lack of a true point guard can be a recipe for disaster.
More importantly, if Rondo does have minutes taken away, who’s going to run the point? Keep in mind, the Celtics have no backup point guard, with the only other active guards on the roster being Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa.
Nothing against those three players, but they are all shooters first and not exactly capable of controlling an offense. On top of that, who do they rely on to get them the ball? Why, Rondo, of course!
Also, what about losing Rondo’s defense? He is easily the best pest in the league and is always on his man like white on rice.
He may only be 6’1″, 186 pounds and his 61 percent career free-throw percentage may be unacceptable for a guard, but he has come so far as a guard ever since being drafted in 2006. He shows more determination than anyone on the court, playing with a chip on his shoulder so that those who underestimate him based on his size are sure to pay for their mistake.
That all being said, there is really no reason for Rivers to cut down on Rondo’s minutes. Yes, Rondo has only averaged 32.6 minutes per game for his career, but isn’t that the whole point of developing as a player? Your game gradually improves over time and so does your durability, so Rivers’ logic really makes no sense.
The fact of the matter is that the Celtics need Rondo to succeed. He controls the offense and provides balance to the team’s attack.
Take him out of the game for any extended period of time, and the Celtics might as well hand the Eastern Conference legacy reins over to the Miami Heat.
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