WALTHAM — Rajon Rondo was not himself last season after spending the majority of the year recovering from a torn right ACL. Just two months into this offseason, head coach Brad Stevens can already tell that the point guard is eager to put the injury-plagued season in his rearview mirror.
“He only played 30 or so games this year,” Stevens said at a Celtics draft workout Wednesday afternoon. “I don’t he ever felt like he was good as he could be game-to-game and that was in large part due to coming back (from the injury).”
Rondo’s numbers back up his coach’s assertions. The eight-year veteran posted a career low 40.3 percent shooting from the field in just 30 games, as the Celtics went to dreadful 6-24 in games he played in.
At long last though, Rondo looks healthy and has been a regular visitor to the team’s practice facility and draft workouts all summer. His constant presence has been welcome sight for Stevens and the rest of the team’s coaching staff.
“He’s been great,” Stevens said. ““Physically, he looks fantastic. That really sets a tone having him come in. That really is helpful.”
Stevens continued: “I think Rajon is anxious to get back out there playing. You can tell that from his work ethic. He’s been with our small groups a lot in the last 8-10 days. That’s not always the case with a guy as seasoned and accomplished as him.”
Rondo’s improved health should also help him from a leadership and learning standpoint with the team. The point guard was unable to take part in the team’s workout regime last offseason and that may have affected his play on the floor as well.
“We were talking about some of the things that you do in a typical defensive technique workout,” Stevens explained. “He missed most of that because he was hurt when you go through most of that stuff. So then you’re scrambling when you’re coming back. Certainly, he’s been really well-coached in the past. But there may be things from a vernacular standpoint that are a little bit different. There may be a tweak here or a change there that fits in the system differently.”
With Rondo up to speed physically and mentally, the Celtics are hoping for big things from their captain as he enters the final year of his contract.
A complete offseason for Rondo under Stevens should go a long way in helping him live up to those expectations and proving last season was just a fluke.