Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
In 2009-10, Rondo shot 17 for 80 from the land of plenty. He’s currently 16 for 44, with more than three times as many makes per game as last season. He’s attempting about 2.9 threes per game, which would smash his career high of 1.3, and he’s connecting 36.4 percent of the time, which would easily beat his best of 31.3 percent (2008-09). Obviously it’s a small sample size, but Rondo’s shooting improvements seem like they could be real. He’s even shown the confidence to take some catch-and-shoot jumpers early in the shot clock, which he rarely ever did in the past.
What’s changed? Rondo continues to credit assistant coach Ron Adams. The two haveworked closely on Rondo’s jump shot since before training camp, when the Celtics started arriving in Waltham to prepare for the season.
“He’s been with me since Day One,” Rondo said. “We’ve been working day-in and day-out, as much as possible. In the beginning I could only move so much, but I’ve just been continuing trying to work and shoot the ball with confidence.”
Over nine games since the beginning of February, Rondo is averaging 14.9 points, 10.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds with shooting splits of 46.8 percent (field goals), 41.9 percent (3-pointers) and 81.0 percent (free throws). The Celtics offense has scored 97.1 points per 100 possessions without him (almost league-worst level) and 104.9 points per 100 possessions with him (top-10 level). If people would stop screaming so loudly about his one bad decision, the overly-discussed unexcused absence, we might all notice that he’s worked off all the rust and is playing some terrific offensive basketball.
For basically his entire career, the biggest and most consistent knock on Rajon Rondo’s game was “he can’t shoot.” For a while, it was a more than fair criticism. So last season before he tore his ACL, he showed that he worked on his mid-range game, becoming one of the best shooters in the league from the mid-range. This year, when it seems like most stat-heads seem to think the only valuable players in the NBA are ones that can shoot threes and get to the FT line. Rondo’s two biggest offensive weaknesses are right there: he can’t (and rarely did) shoot threes and he doesn’t get to the FT line enough and when he does it’s gross. But in the words of Buffalo Springfield, there’s somethin’ happenin here. At least it could be the start of somethin.
Just read those numbers in Jay King’s post. I tweeted this out early in his return this season that he was simply attempting more threes than he ever had and was on pace to blow away his career mark for 3PFGAs in a single season. Now, adding in the fact that he’s not only getting to the FT line a tick more, but he’s burying them at a fantastic rate. Even if one of these can hold up consistently (especially the threes) it would add a huge weapon to his arsenal. The fact that he’s not even hesitating anymore is the biggest improvement. He’s taking threes in transition, off screens and shooting right into them with confidence. Make no mistake, the aesthetics of his shot are still ugly and will never look as pretty as Stephen Curry’s, but Reggie Miller had one of the ugliest strokes in NBA history, but was one of the most effective.
Rondo has credited Assistant Coach Ron Adams for the improvement, more from Jay King’s post:
And if the shooting improvements (in addition to the 3-point numbers, he’s hitting a career-high 74.7 percent from the line) are real … well, I don’t know exactly how much they would help his game, but they would surely take him to another level.
During Adams’ previous stop with the Bulls, he was given partial credit for altering Derrick Rose’s jumper.
“It’s hard to put a finger (on how Adams is different from other shooting coaches),” Rondo said. “There’s so much stuff that he’s continued to critique me and stay on me with my shot. You’ve got to ask him. I think he’s helped improve Avery Bradley. He’s shooting the ball extremely well. I told Ron, when I come back I want to shoot like Avery.”
Though Bradley has scored the ball better this year, striving to shoot like him still sounds strange. But as one reporter told Rondo, so far, so good.
“Yeah,” he replied. “Need some more wins.”
If Rondo can emulate Jason Kidd and become a late-blooming three-point shooter, it would be huge. Obviously it’s a small sample size but the trends are looking nice and it’s another thing to watch for with the remaining time in a rough rebuilding season.
On Page 2: Where Wyc wants to retire Danny Ainge’s number
Speaking on a panel discussion at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said that he wants to honor Danny Ainge.
“I plan to put his number in the rafters one day for all he’s done,” Grousbeck said. “I think he’s done an amazing job.”
Grousbeck was referring to everything Ainge has done as both a player and, most recently, as the Celtics’ president of basketball operations.
Boston Globe – Celtics’ Gerald Wallace will undergo surgery on knee, ankle
Interesting move by Wyc here although I hope he got permission from Scal first.
The rest of the links:
Boston Globe – Paul George leads league-leading Pacers past Celtics | Pacers’ Frank Vogel keeping the Heat in mind | First-year GM Ryan McDonough has Suns rising before their time (Sunday Notes) | Stats gurus gather for MIT Sports Analytics Conference
CSNNE – Blakely: Humphries should be a keeper for C’s | Rondo feels like he’s ‘getting into a rhythym’ | Sullinger on return: “I had a lot of energy” | Good, Bad & The Ugly: Close, but still an ‘L’ | In the bonus: Focus on Pacers defense | Phil Pressey’s journey to the NBA