For years, Boston Celtics’ point guard Rajon Rondo has been labeled as one of the most talented, competitive and all-around best point guards in the NBA. With his amazing playmaking ability, tremendous rebounding from the position and versatile defense, he has become a multi-time All-Star and one of the league’s elite performers on the playoff stage. The one knock on Rondo’s game has been his inability to shoot from the outside. Often, especially in the playoffs, teams would sag off Rondo, packing the paint and daring the point guard to shoot from the outside. Now, after spending the better part of a year rehabilitating after surgery to repair a torn ACL, Rondo has returned to the Celtics lineup and has seemingly addressed his biggest weakness. The sample size is small, but the improvement in Rajon Rondo’s outside shooting is an exciting development for the future of the Boston Celtics.
Rondo has played in 15 games so far this season since returning from his injury in January. While his overall numbers still have to climb before reaching his usual lofty heights, the thing that jumps off the page at this early point is the improvement in his 3-point shooting. A career .256 percentage shooter from deep, Rondo has been knocking down the trey at a .364 clip so far this season, looking more confident and pulling up without hesitation. It is not just the accuracy that is promising for the Celtics, but the volume in which Rondo is shooting the 3. He has never attempted more than 1.3 3s a game in a season but so far in 2013-14, he is taking 3.5 a game. He is already just one shy of his career high for threes made in a season, which was 17 in the 2009-10 season, and at this rate he could double that mark while playing less than half the available games this season. More than 25 percent of Rondo’s total shots so far this season have come from deep, another dramatic increase over his career average of just 7.5 percent.
It is not just Rondo’s long range shooting that is showing an improvement, but also his ability at the free throw line. A career .623 shooter from the charity stripe, Rondo is knocking down his free throws at .741 so far this season. This overall improvement in his shooting is making Rondo a much more dangerous and versatile weapon offensively as this more reliable shooting touch compliments his already elite playmaking. Already considered among the best passers, rebounders and defenders at his position, a dramatic improvement in his shooting would make Rondo a complete player that the Celtics franchise can build around for the next few years. Now, if a defense sags off, Rondo does not hesitate to take the 3 and as teams adjust, it will open up the floor for his teammates and give him more of an opportunity to create for himself and others.
Rajon Rondo has already amassed an imposing NBA resume, at just 28 years old he is an NBA champion, a four-time All-Star and All-Defensive team selection, was selected to the All-NBA Third Team and has led the league in both assists per game (twice) and steals. Now the captain of the historic Celtics franchise, Rondo is now looked at as the leader on and off the court for this young team and his work ethic to improve his shooting this dramatically has to encourage his coaching staff and teammates alike. If this new and improved shooting touch is here to stay, Rondo suddenly addressed the one glaring weakness in his game and could elevate his play to an entirely new level moving forward.