Rajon Rondo remains one of the most preplexing players in basketball
Rajon Rondo’s triple-double Sunday afternoon against the New York Knicks was fascinating for multiple reasons:
- Rajon Rondo already has four triple-doubles this season and now has seventeen for his career. To put that in perspective, no other player in the league – yes not even triple-double machine Lebron James and his purse – has more than one this season.
- Rajon Rondo’s triple-double of 18 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists is only the third time in NBA history that someone has put up a triple-double line like that. The other two guys are some guys named Wilt Chamberlin and Oscar Robertson. They’re okay I guess.
- Rajon Rondo could have had an even greater stat line. He only went 7-20 from the field including numerous misses inside the paint something that Rajon Rondo rarely ever does. We could have been talking about something like 26/17/20 if three more of his shots fall in. That’s unheard of.
- I began to notice this when he turned in a triple-double a couple of weekends against the Bulls but it always seemed that whenever the Boston Celtics were on the ABC Sunday Showcase, Rondo turned in one of those performances that reminded everyone that he is one of the best point-guards in this league. After another National Television triple-double, other people began to notice the same trend. Of Rondo’s seventeen triple-doubles, thirteen have come on National Television. Talk about being in the moment.
That to me has been one of the biggest things with Rajon Rondo throughout his entire career.
After the jump, Rondo’s quest to continue to prove the doubters wrong
The knock against Rajon Rondo in the past two years has been his inconsistency. One week, he puts up 2/5/10 games and everyone looks around and says “trade him now!” and then the next week he puts up performances such as the one on Sunday that cause everyone in Boston to say “We can’t live without him!” Want an easy way to see this? Just look at his regular season to playoff splits.
Regular season: 10/4/7
Whenever a big game comes along for Rajon Rondo, he is essentially worth about 7 to 8 points more than he is during some random game. It’s awesome, it’s fascinating, it’s annoying, it sometimes makes me want to rip my hair out and curse the name of Rajon Rondo when god dammit why can you not show up to play the Cleveland Cavaliers on a random Monday afternoon but if its the Bulls you want to put up a triple-double and make it look easy!
There may not be a single player like him currently in the league. A player who can score without a jump-shot, a player who can find open teammates while opposing teams play the passing lanes and lean off him, a player who rebounds the ball like a forward while standing at 6-1. When the Celtics play random team they should beat on a Wednesday night, his struggles cause the Celtics to play a closer game than they really should be in. When the play the Miami Heat or Chicago Bulls, he is the only reason the Celtics are in the game.
It’s why simultaneously, the Celtics and their fans want Rajon Rondo on the team and also want him traded for someone who brings more consistency to this basketball team. Make no mistake, almost any one in this league would want Rajon Rondo just for the simple fact that he shows up in the big games. He was playoff MVP for three rounds in 2010, he played on a dislocated elbow in 2011 because he knew his team needed him and he wasn’t going to miss a playoff game.
It’s also connected to another of Rajon Rondo’s quirks. He plays better when he’s pissed off and make no mistake, he’s pissed off right now. He has been not-so-quietly shopped around in numerous trade rumors around the league and he has to believe that Danny Ainge is lying to his face when he says “We aren’t trying to trade you”. It’s bull-**** because Danny Ainge would trade away his own son if he played basketball and thought he was getting a nice deal. The man has zero loyalty, even to those that he has said he believes and believes he can be the best player on a championship team.
Before the season, Rondo was in trade talks and I felt that Rondo could come out and give a massive middle-finger to the league.
More importantly, Rajon Rondo is pissed off, and in this case that’s a good thing. When he was on the block a couple of years ago, he just sort of shook it off as nothing because he was young and still on his rookie contract. Now Rajon Rondo has basically been told that he isn’t good enough to be the best player on a championship winning team and that his general manager wants someone else. Rondo doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that will sit there and say “Damn, I guess I’m not that good” and have his stats go down by like 10%. Rondo seems like a kid who is going to say ******* that. I’m going to prove everyone here wrong. I’m going to push myself in practice, I’m going to push my teammates and I’m going to prove that I can be the best player on a championship team”.
This isn’t just any leap. This is a leap that is being set out to prove everyone wrong and that’s what excites me about the Boston Celtics this year.
Well guess what? Rondo’s doing exactly that right now. He’s averaging 17/7/12 over the past 10 games including multiple triple-doubles against good teams. It would be great if he could bottle this energy and use it all the time.
Let’s be fair, not everyone pours it in every single night, especially in a condensed season like this where its almost impossible too, it’s just that Rondo’s inconsistency just shines brighter, if that makes sense. It was even evident on Sunday. Sometimes he was finishing ridiculously around the basket, then the next possession he missed an easy lay-up. His defense is textbook, except when he starts gambling for steals. He’s the perfect teammate with the basketball, except when he gets a little angry and gets after one of his teammates, such as he did with Brandon Bass yesterday.
There’s no denying the man’s talent, but the consistency has to get better, especially if he wants to get better and remain in Boston.
But maybe it’ better that he is inconsistent and moody and he gets questioned by everyone on the eve of his biggest games. Maybe it’s better that there is something there to piss him off, something there to put him into ” ‘eff you” mode.
Hey, if it results in more games like last night, I’m all for it.