Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Score It, Rondo Baby!

It's conventional wisdom that Rondo is not, and will not ever be, a shooter, or a scorer.  I've always thought that conventional wisdom was, and is, nonsense.  I can see the statistical justification for it, especially now though, after four straight horrid shooting games from Rondo.  Over the years, Rondo's only real statistical improvement as a scorer seems to be from the elbow.  In fact, he seems to have declined, statistically, as a scorer near the basket.  But acknowledging the power of statistics  gets us into the usual thicket of arguments and counterarguments right away.  I'd say that part of what has happened over the years is that Rondo has gradually been relied on more as a scorer, that he has been less of an opportunistic scorer, and that this has meant that defenses have become more and more aware of the importance of stopping him.  I think this has masked his actual improvement as a scorer.  He's scoring the same under more difficult circumstances.

Still, the statistical argument tends to be a winner for the folks who say that Rondo is not and will never be a scorer.   Attempting to counterargue becomes touchy feely.   What I see and feel when I watch Rondo play is that he is a scorer, but it's a hard point to 'prove'.  One of the few concrete things one can point to, to show that Rondo is a scorer,  is the large arsenal of moves Rondo has.  I think it's highly unusual for poor scorers, or even average ones, to have so many moves.   He may not be the best finisher in the league, but he surely is the most creative scorer near the basket.  Also, when Rondo is hot, you can see that his feel for the basket is tremendous, and no, you really can't say that about any player when they are hot.    I mean, everyone has a better feel for the basket when they are hot, but with Rondo, it's ridiculous.  When Rondo's cold, though, it feels like he and the basket have agreed to a divorce.  It looks like they aren't on speaking terms.  It looks like Rondo knows what neighborhood the basket is in, but he's lost the address.

Part of it may just be that Rondo needs to practice more.  This might be a summer for him to go to work as a basketball player like it's a nine-to-five job.  Visit Larry Bird.  Shoot till your arms fall off, and then shoot some more.  Shoot until you find yourself shooting the ball without even realizing that you are shooting.
Forget about Red Bull.  Forget about GQ.   Forget about world junketing.  Hunker down with the fam and shoot basketballs till you are sick of it!

Another part of the problem seems to be that Rondo really gets into his own head about shooting.  He seems to have a big complex about it.  If that's true, I think there's only one way to overcome it - keep shooting.  Practice practice practice and then shoot in games.  Rondo seems to be like a baseball batter in a slump sometimes.  So much of a batting slump seems to be in the mind.  I was reading in my book about Ted Williams that Carl Yaztresmki used to call Williams constantly during Yaz' first year with the Sox.  He was batting .220 and was thinking that he couldn't play in the Bigs.  Williams was always there for him, and that must have helped.  Think what a great career would have been missed if Williams hadn't been there for Yaz?!  Is there someone who can be there for Rondo this way?   Larry?   I think Rondo needs someone he can talk to when he gets down on himself, but not someone who is going to tell him what to do..  Hondo?  The Kid needs someone to show faith, to tell him as many times as he needs to hear it that he IS a shooter, to give him tips, etc..

The shots are going to start falling, Rajon.  If you ask me, people who know the game from the inside, and not through the smokescreen of statistics obsession, know that you aren't just a great passer;  you are a born scorer too.  It's there, baby.  Magic thinks it's there.  You've just got to find a way to let it out.

Couldn't be a better time to bust out of this slump than now...


  1. Rondo has shown in the past that he can score, and pass at the same time. Rondo in the past knew when to score, but this year so far, it's been new for Rondo. He's returning after a big layoff, and he finally hit a minor slump on the offensive end. I think he's taken it to heart, and I think he'll continue to progress. I don't see him as a 20-25 point guy. I think if you get 15-18 points, and 12-14 assists. That's great. Of course with a few 25-35 point games mixed in when needed.

  2. I think you hit the nail on the head, Dan. 15-18 pts, 12-14 assts, 6-7rebs. I COULD see Rondo scoring more, but the real question is what would be the optimal number in balance with his assists. Probably 15-18.

  3. I'm pretty pleased with Rondo. He's making others better, and the rest will follow.

  4. Greg, the thing is that passing and scoring need to be somewhat in balance. Being an effective scorer opens up your passing opportunities.