It's kind of staggering how much Rajon Rondo is able to affect the game despite not being able to hit a shot outside of the paint. If you're a point guard, but you can't shoot, then you're generally going to suck in the NBA. If you're "heady" and "solid", then you might squirt out a few years of bench play, in the way that players such as Anthony Carter and Jason Hart have managed to do. If you're really very good at being solid and heady, you might even be a starter at times, like Brevin Knight was. And if things really go your way, and if the rest of your game is pretty up to par, you might churn out a few years of glory as an Andre Miller impressionist. Rondo, however, takes it to new heights.
Rondo's shot is pretty busted. It's better than it was, and by the time you read this, it'll probably be better than when I wrote this. But it's still broken, with no range, no consistency, no ability to hit jumpers when chalenged, and an awkward release that he doesn't repeat especially well. His free throw stroke is bad, too, and his individual scoring ability is pretty much confined to points in the paint only.
Then again, that's not really a bad thing. Rondo is an efficient and talented scorer from in there, exhibiting great touch with either hand, as well as a complimentary floater (meaning it's kind to strangers in the street). Rondo can also get there with relative ease, be in the open floor (where he's dy-no-miiiiiite) or via his armory of twists, shakes and ball fakes (also the name of a fine Blood, Sweat and Tears tribute act). While a tad undersized, Rondo is quick both with and without the ball, is pretty strong, and is not afraid to take contact around the basket. He's a good passer, too, and he passes first, something which seems like it should be a given for a little guard who can't shoot, but which sometimes isn't.
Furthermore, when he tries, Rondo is about as close to a lockdown defender at the point guard position as you get these days. His passing lane defense is better than his man to man defense, but whichever we're talking about, he forces a lot of steals with his good hands and instincts, and he can stay in front of most people. (Normally.) Rondo is also a prolific rebounder for a point guard, and he can often be found flirting with a triple double like the dirty little flirt that he is.
However, for as long as he can't shoot, Rondo will always be containable. If you take away his driving lanes, his uses in the halfcourt become very limited. This flaw will hold him back until the day he recitifies it. And the fact that he's a little cheap shot artist also counts against him.
- 16th June, 2009.