Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rondo's debut as a broadcaster wraps up a great month

You can now add broadcaster to the list of possible jobs for Rajon Rondo when his NBA career is over. After a brief stint in last night’s telecast alongside CSNNE’s Mike Gorman, the point guard had lots of positive things to say about his teammates and rivals.

Of course that’s just one of the many other occupational options in Rajon’s future. It’s clear he could one day be a coach, and even be a clothing designer.

But Monday night wrapped up a very good month of March for the Celtics captain on the court.

“It’s just something that I wanted to do, said Rondo. I did it for fans, I did it for my team and it’s something different. Not a lot of guys do it currently while playing, and I thought it’d be OK to give it a shot.” []

Rondo is always looking for a challenge; he is just that crazy of a competitor all around. 

Especially in a rebuilding year, where he is not only the leader and the longest tenured Celtic, he’s still recovering from a torn ACL that kept him away from something he loved for almost a year. 

Recovering has been Rajon’s biggest challenge of his life, being away from competing on the basketball court. 

In 26 games since his January 17 return, he is averaging 11.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 9.5 assists. So far the point guard has 10 double-doubles and we are slowly starting to see the All-Star back in to elite form as this season is drawing to a close.

Rondo is still not playing second nights of back-to-backs, but has showcased confidence in taking pull-up jumpers and 3-pointers that may have been his kryptonite in the past. Then of course he is displaying his passing abilities, which has always been his bread and butter, and it’s what we have all grown to love about the 28-year-old. It’s what makes Rondo that much special.

Being one of the league’s most unique play-makers doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a craft that only the few that have actually played with Rajon on a regular basis can somewhat explain.

“He’s a tricky guy, because sometimes as a big you don’t know when he’s going to throw you the ball,” Kris Humphries said of his point guard. “He’s breaking down the defense and making passes that you might not even see coming.” [Boston Herald]

Rondo finished last month averaging a double-double of 11.4 points, 11 assists and 6 rebounds in 12 games, while increasing his playing time to 36.7 minutes in March compared to his 24 in January. The most he has played since returning 74 days ago.

“I’m almost at 100-percent,” he says. “I’m feeling great. Each game I’m getting stronger, my endurance is getting better. I feel strong. Each game, I’m trying to continue to get better. Offensively and defensively, just continue to try and look explosive. It’s definitely hard to be away from the game you love. You take it for granted sometimes, but it was definitely a humbling experience. I’m glad I went through it. I learned patience. I’m very antsy. I love to do things on my own…” []

One explosive game that can’t be ignored was a, 118-111, victory over the Detroit Pistons on a Sunday night of March 9 at the TD Garden; Rondo’s stat line included handing out season high 18 assists, scoring 11 points and committing zero turnovers. It was a great performance that resulted in a Celtics win. Pistons’ veteran guard Chancy Billups talked about seeing the growth in Rondo’s game and leadership.

“He’s definitely unique. I mean, he’s one of the guys that can dominate a game without scoring,” said Billups. “He’s court –savvy, and his intelligence is probably his best skill. He’s shooting with a lot more confidence. You can tell that in his time off he put in a lot of work…He’s come a long way. But the one thing I really love about him is his leadership. That’s something I really see.” [Boston Herald]

Two days prior to beating Detroit, Rondo finally got the best of his good friend and former teammate Paul Pierce and the Nets in a Friday night dual at TD Garden. He scored 20 points and handed out nine assists, grabbed seven boards and had four steals in a, 91-84, win. Pierce afterwards was nothing short than gloating about his former point guard.

“He’s unstoppable,” said ‘The Truth’ of Rajon. “I always said the more he’s improved, the more he’s expanded his game, he’s one of the best. If he’s coming down and knocking down 3s…It’s almost imposable to keep him out of the paint at times, he has the floater, the way he finds people in traffic. If he continues to consistently knock down that 3-point shot, watch out.” []

Just 13 days ago, in a home game versus the champion Miami Heat, Rondo was one point shy of his first triple-double of the season. He finished with 15 assists, 10 rebounds and nine points in 39 minutes.

The Celtics won, 101-96, though the champs were without LeBron, you can’t take away from a vintage performance against some old rivals. He even had a great showing when it came to playing against the other Eastern conference leaders back on March 1 adding 12 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds in a down to the wire lost to the Pacers, 102-97. Even ‘Larry Legend’ can appreciate a great player when he sees one.

“Yeah, I appreciate the hell out of him,” said Larry Bird. “In the playoffs he’s showed that he’s one of the better players in our league. He’s amazing to watch. To be able to defend and make plays for other guys, that’s big. He makes players that are not really good look pretty damn good. If you can make people around you better, it makes you one of the top players in our league.” [Boston Herald]

Leave it to a few Finals MVPs to say you doing something right even if there are haters and naysayers that will continue to down play his eight-year career thus far. We can’t forget the fact he passed Bill Russell on the Celtics all-time assists for fourth all time. One thing is certain; Rajon will not be releasing any secrets on his passing abilities in such small spaces any time soon.

“Small spaces?” Rondo says. “Can’t give you a key to that, can’t give it away.” [Boston Herald]

After a great month and with eight games remaining, the Celtics will look to their leader to finish on a high note even if they will not be in the playoff for the first time in seven seasons. It’s fair to say, all eyes will still be on Rajon Rondo.

Joel Pavón

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