We’re profiling every player on the Celtics roster before the season begins. Today it’s Rajon Rondo.
Starting point guard
6-feet-1-inch, 186 pounds, 26-years-old
2012/13 salary: $11 million
Strengths: Rondo is the best passing point guard in the NBA. He affects the game in ways that don’t always show up in the box score — he’s the best player in the NBA between the 3-point lines, wreaking havoc in the passing lanes on one end and thinking four moves ahead on the other. A leader on the floor since Day 1, Rondo has become one of the team’s leaders off of it. There’s always talk about whether or not you can build a team around Rondo, and that’s ludicrous. He’s the best player on the Celtics and it isn’t really close.
Room to improve:Free throws. I won’t even say shooting because I think most of the time Rondo makes the shots he should. But getting his free-throw percentage up over 65 or 70 percent needs to remain a major goal. If Rondo can do that, it keeps the ball in his hands at the end of games and keeps the threat of him driving to the basket and getting fouled in key situations.
Projections for 2012/13: 78 games, 12.1 points, 11.5 assists, 4.6 rebounds.
Outlook:Rondo’s proven he can lead a team during the season and in the playoffs. He rises to the occasion in big moments. It’s clear Doc Rivers trusts him, and at 26-years-old he still has room to improve. The Celtics have a ton of competition for the NBA title, but Rondo gives Boston a dimension none of the other teams can directly match. He was recently ranked the No. 12 player in the NBA by ESPN. That seems about right.