After four years in the league, Boston's 24-year-old point guard has announced to the world that he's no longer content to hide in the shadows behind the old Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. It's now Rondo — all 6-foot-1 and 170-something pounds of him — that's the "big" one in Boston.
Rondo hammered that point home with a performance for the ages in Game 2 against the Cavaliers on Monday night, equaling a Celtic playoff record with 19 assists in a single postseason game. Rondo was a big reason the C's emerged with a 104-86 win, and he's a big reason they're heading back to Boston with a 1-1 series split and home-court advantage shifting in their favor.
For Rondo's development as a player and for his emergence as a big-time star in this league, this is his best postseason yet.
Enough has been said already about what Rondo did in the postseason last year. We'll always remember Rondo's opening series against the Bulls last spring — in which he averaged 19.4 points, 11.6 assists, 9.3 rebounds and 2.7 steals over seven games — as his breakout series. But this spring, regardless of numbers, has been even bigger.
This time, he's playing alongside a healthy Garnett. He's got a pair of incredible scorers on his side in Pierce and Allen. He's got a bench at his disposal that's looking as potent as ever. But the key to this series, and to the Celtics' entire year, is none of the above. It's Rondo.
If he continues to have the postseason he's having, carrying a veteran team through the playoffs at that tender age of 24, then it'll be time for us to sit down and examine just where Rondo belongs among the pantheon of great point guards in this game.
Still behind Deron Williams, sure. If you've watched even a second of these great Western Conference playoffs, you know that D-Will has officially reached the next level, carrying an embattled Utah team further than anyone thought they'd go.
Still behind Chris Paul, despite the injuries that have dogged CP3 this season.
Still behind Steve Nash, who's one of the all-time greats and doesn't appear to have aged one bit at 36.
But after that, the field is open. And Rondo's right there with anyone else you can name.
It's hard to dispute that Rondo is a legitimate top-five point guard in the NBA today, and there's a good chance he's the absolute best in the Eastern Conference.
There's a new generation of point guards in the NBA, guys in their early 20s with unbelievable athleticism and game-changing speed that have emerged as leaders on both ends of the floor for their respective teams. Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Brandon Jennings, inevitably John Wall once he cracks into the league next season.
Rondo is the frontman of that generation, the leader of the pack. Right now, he's not just the oldest and most experienced of that club — he's the best.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP