Monday, October 15, 2007

Johnny Be Good

As the main Rondo advocate at Headband, I feel like uttering a few words on his behalf today. Rajon is going to be a huge topic throughout this season, whether he be good, bad or something in between. His situation is such that he will have continuous media attention tossed his way. But I was heartened to read in the Globe that Glenn is planning on letting Rondo not shoot. Hallelujah. Even madness has a limit.

What makes Rajon so spectacular, and so open to criticism, is his complete lack of a jumper. Almost any NBA player cannot be above average with a jumper as pallid as Rajon's. But Rajon can. That's what makes him special. His ability to drive and get good angles against larger opponents in traffic is among the best in the league. Rondo can simply get to where he wants on the court. So let him get to those places and then pass it. If defenders venture off him knowing that he will pass, then Rajon will drive to the hoop and finish himself. Rondo's negative quality is not a liability, it is just a factor that his teammates have to adjust to. Few players can find an open man in great position better than Rondo, a value that certainly outweighs his suspect shooting. I have a feeling the Triumvirate don't care if Rondo can't shoot - because he is going to be able to find them more open looks than most point guards ever could.

My favorite moment in the London game was an instance when Rondo had the ball before the defenders could match up properly. He darted towards the free throw line, where he had a wide open look. This is where he will shoot, I thought. But instead be bulleted a pass out to Ray Allen behind the arc, who buried an open three. This was hardly conventional wisdom, even when you have a shooter of Allen's caliber open. But just because it was atypical did not mean it was a bad decision by Rondo. Rajon will find the open man, even when he himself has a good shot. You can chide him for this, but remember that Steve Nash often does the same thing. And, yes, Nash is a good comparison for Rondo, because they are part of a handful of players in the league that are truly great passers.

So I encourage patience with Rajon, and the fruit shall ripen. It was interesting to read Nash say how important it was for D'Antoni to allow him to screw up. We can only hope Glenn will do the same with Rondo, but I have my doubts. Remember this is the same coach who failed to give Rajon big minutes early last season, even after he had proven he was superior to Telfair in October. So while Glenn might recognize the strengths of Rondo, it is unlikely he can begin to comprehend how devastating he could be given the offensive efficiency around him. But that's fine, as long as Glenn leaves him in there and doesn't scream at him to take the open jumper, we're on the right track.


Hamilton said...

My favorite quote from that article:

"It's like I told him about Tony Parker and all the guards who started off with questionable shots," Rivers said. "Tony Parker takes 200, 300 shots a day probably, working on it. And I told him, 'How many of those does he take in a game? One? Maybe two? He's still going to do what he does.'"

Last season Tony Parker averaged 18.6 ppg. The previous season he averaged 18.9 ppg. Both years he shot well over 50% from the field, which is truly astonishing for a guard, and took roughly 14 shots per game. My question: Does Glenn actually believe that, on average, only one of those fourteen shots is a jumper? I mean, what the fuck is he talking about? Is he confusing Tony Parker with Shaquille O'Neal, circa 1993? Does he even watch basketball?

Anonymous said...

Rondo's shot has improved a LOT from last season til now though if you look close you'll notice, his mechanics are SO MUCH better.

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