Last year's stats: 11.9 ppg, 8.2 apg, 5.2 rpg, 1.9 spg, fg% 50.5, ft% 64.2%
John: 13 ppg, 10.7 apg, 5.0 rpg, 2.5 spg, fg% 52.5, ft% 70.1
Chuck: 15 ppg, 9.2 apg, 4.7 rpg, 2.1 spg, fg% 49, ft% 70%
What will help him the most?
The addition of Rasheed Wallace. Sheed can draw a big defender away
from the paint and give Rondo more pace. When he gets into the middle
of the lane, he'll either have an easy shot or multiple passing options
as the defense collapses. So I see his scoring average going up a
little to account for an extra easy lay up or two… but I see his
assist average really going up as he finds guys in good spots.
Chuck: A couple of things. First, he's got a huge chip on his
shoulder. Remember the trade rumors and comments from Danny Ainge
saying Rondo hurt the team in the Orlando series? He's also playing for
a contract extension. Another year of experience also helps.
What will hurt him the most?
John: The added minutes
it seems like he'll have to play. He's young, so he can handle the
extra floor time… but he plays with such reckless abandon that I'm
afraid the added minutes will be hard ones. The truth of the matter is
that when Rondo is diving to the basket with a willingness to take
contact and hit the deck, he's often having his best games. I'd like
to keep him on the floor and out of the trainers room.
Chuck: It's possible everything I mentioned as a positive (the
chip, contract) could hurt him if he tries to do too much. Fortunately,
this team is loaded with veterans who will keep him in check. Like John
said, I worry about the toll all those hard falls will take on his
body. But I'm starting to think his joints are made of rubber.
Will he be an All Star?
John: Yes. He deserved to be
an All Star last year. And we've seen appearances in the All Star game
lag for about a year. This time around, if there's an open spot and
he's on the cusp, he'll get the one he earned last year. And while the
Celtics starting 5 is the same as it was a year ago, his main
competition is facing new components. Mo Williams in Cleveland and
Jameer Nelson in Orlando have major new pieces to get used to. Devin
Harris has a new back-court mate in Courtney Lee that might take away
from some of his success, too. So Rondo, with all those familiar
pieces around him and more room to work his magic, seems poised to make
a run at an All Star slot.
Chuck: No question, he will be
an All Star. He caught everyone's attention with his spectacular play
in the Chicago playoff series. If he puts up the numbers, he'll get the
Burning question: Will he develop a consistent jumper?
John: It won't happen overnight, but I wouldn't be surprised if he
starts flashing one this season. Most importantly, I feel like he'll
start to confidently take the jumpers once guys start sagging off of
him. He might not make them at first, but he'll start firing them with
more confidence. And remember last season how for 80% of the season,
everyone crapped on Big Baby for shooting jumpers? The most important
thing is Rondo taking the jumpers at the right time. Eventually
they'll fall. But his biggest problem was being too tentative. Once
he gets past that, he'll be in good shape.
Chuck: Jump shooting will never be his strength, but I expect to see a slight improvement this season. I am not a big fan of the floater. I'd rather see him take open jump shots than drive into the lane and float the ball towards the rim.