In regard to the upcoming season and looking into next summer’s free agency, the Boston Celtics have a lot of choices to make. They had a great draft and are loaded with young talent.
The East is going to be the weaker conference for many years to come. The front office has proven they can build a championship team through drafting, trades, and free agency. They have the pieces they need to craft a contender and compete with the best in the league. At the center of this all is Rajon Rondo.
Rondo’s contract is up at the end of this year and he will be looking for a max contract. Whether or not he deserves one, and taking into consideration his health, he is going to get that contract. He may not be hyper-athletic like Russell Westbrook or produce many highlight plays like Derrick Rose and Damian Lillard, but he is easily one of the top five point guards in the league.
He is a proven winner, a triple-double waiting to happen, and is a great defender. He also has the greatest fake-out layup of all time.
With that said, it’s easy to see why Rondo is the X-factor for the Celtics this season.
Rondo gives the Celtics the best chance to win. If the Celtics do decide to trade him this season, which I think is ludicrous and will never happen, they will sink to the bottom of the Eastern Conference and enter a multiyear rebuild. Rondo needs to be a part of this team.
What better way to develop Marcus Smart than to have him learn from one of the best point guards in the league? Rondo is also not only the team’s best playmaker, but one of the best in the league. Despite his torn ACL and only playing in 38 games in the 2012-2013 season, Rondo led the league in assists per game. In addition to that, even though he only played in 30 games this last season, he was still averaging 9.8 assists per game, which would have been right behind Chris Paul for the league lead.
A lot is said about Rondo being a difficult teammate and hard to get along with. While this is important, especially if it is affecting team chemistry, I think it is mostly the media seeking a story or to create drama. Rondo is one of the most competitive players in the league. This is a guy who is notorious for being super competitive about Connect Four. Yes, the children’s game of glorified tic-tac-toe. Rondo would be the starting point guard of the All-Competitive First Team. (Just for fun: Rondo as PG, Kobe Bryant as SG, LeBron James at SF, Dirk Nowitzki at PF, and Tim Duncan at C.)
The Celtics are poised to make a couple of moves, especially next summer when they will have a large amount of cap space that will lead them into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.
Rajon Rondo isn’t only the X-factor for this season. He is for the foreseeable future.