Saturday, March 22, 2014

Conditioning stands out for Stevens with Rondo more than anything else after his return



Rondo isn't 100% yet, and with 12 games on tap for the remainder of the year. Rondo will likely not showcase his best basketball until next year. Rondo may only see 8 more games this year, because he ruled out any second nights on back-to-backs. Rondo's said he's dealt with soreness after games, and with the Celtics out of the playoff picture. It doesn't matter if Rondo continues to take it slow as the season nears a close.

CSNNE

But there is one that stands out to head coach Brad Stevens more than anything else - his conditioning.

"When we (played Brooklyn) in January, it's night and day from that standpont," Stevens said.

Indeed, Rondo's court time has steadily increased to where it's not unusual for him to log minutes that taper off into the high 30s or early 40s.

"That's probably the biggest growth and that was expected," Stevens said.

When Rondo returned to the Celtics lineup on Jan. 17, it was clear that it would take him some time to get up to speed and even more important, comfortable with doing the things that the four time All-Star was accustomed to.

Every month since his return, Rondo's minutes have steadily increased from 24.3 in January, to 33.1 in February to 37.8 this month.

"And he's getting more fluid in his movements," Stevens added. "I don't think he's 100 percent versus what he was at his highest, highest peak. He's getting there."

Rondo has improved, and has actually looked better than I anticipated. Rondo has nearly averaged 14 assists per game in his last three games. His passing and play making ability is on point right now. His scoring is still behind. It could be for the fact that he's unable to be fully aggressive. Will see next year, when Rondo is playing for his biggest contract of his career.

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