Our “A Study in Green” series looks back on every Celtic player in the recent 2012/13 NBA season. This week we turn to Mr. Triple Double, Rajon Rondo.
While it seems like a long time ago, Rajon Rondo carried a streak of dishing out double-digit assist numbers into 2012/13, handing out at least 10 assists per contest in the first 13 games of 2012 to tie with the great John Stockton for 37 consecutive games. Illustrating just how amazing that streak was, the only other player to achieve such a feat was the great Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, holding the record with 46 consecutive games. For any point guard, being mentioned in the same category as Magic and Stockton is quite an achievement, and one that #9 should be very proud of.
Following Rondo’s impressive beginning to the season was his selection as an All-Star starter for the first time, his 4th selection to the team in his career. Perhaps the five triple-doubles recorded by Mr. Triple Double in his 38 appearances for the season contributed to his starter nod, not to mention the improvement in his jump shot once again. During the season, Rondo shot a very impressive 48% from the field, averaged a career-equalling 13.7 points per game and also leading the team in assists per game with 11.1. While he only appeared in 38 games for the season, there was no doubt that Rondo was fast becoming the Celtics’ most important player, which we learnt very quickly once Boston’s season took a turn for the worse in late January.
Sadly there was one significant low in Rajon Rondo’s year, which affected the entire Celtics organisation. A tear of the ACL in Rondo’s right knee signalled the worst news imaginable, with the injury ruling him out for the remainder of the 2012/13 campaign.
With no other pure point guard on the Celtics roster, losing Rajon Rondo was detrimental to the rest of the team for many reasons. The assists, drives and defensive pressure were all to be missed, not to mention how much it affected the play of several teammates. Avery Bradley, Leandro Barbosa, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams and Paul Pierce were all required to pick up the ball-carrying duties over the months of February, March and April in Rondo’s absence, sacrificing other parts of their game and much of the Celtics offensive rhythm in the process.
While some ‘experts’ claimed Rondo’s absence didn’t affect the Celtics after they won 16 of the first 22 games without their star point guard, the playoffs exposed how sorely Rondo’s presence was missed, with stagnant offense against the Knicks really lacking the flair, aggression and accurate passing Rondo is known for.
While every team must deal with injuries and adjust on the fly, few could have envisioned Boston losing Rajon Rondo for the season. While his stellar play from November to January was captivating for fans, it feels like a lifetime ago since we saw #9 in green. While he continues to grow as a jump shooter and leader of the team, his ability to step up in the playoffs and produce unreal highlights on a nightly basis have us all excited for his return to the court. When Rondo returns next season, I have no doubt he will remind the entire NBA why he is called Mr. Triple Double.
Tell us what you thought of Rondo’s injury-interrupted season by dropping us a comment below.