The story for the Celtics this season has been clear — the long wait for Rajon Rondo’s return.
It finally happened on January 17 as Rondo made his debut this season after tearing his ACL last year (and pretty much trying to play through it).
Rondo is the kind of talent that sets himself apart among the young Celtics squad. He has a drive and a will to win and an impatience for losing about him. That can be invaluable for a young team trying to get better. Rondo has not been shy about any frustrations regarding the Celtics poor record, but he has continued to produce and set something of an example.
Rondo is averaging 11.8 points and 8.6 assists per game in 20 appearances this year. He obviously does not have the weapons he had last year so his numbers are as expected down a bit.
He has been an interesting tool for Brad Stevens to use as the Celtics have hovered on the verge of obscurity and somewhere near the Playoff race at 22-44.
“Not a huge adjustment [to adding back Rondo], but there are some things that you do, that you add to your book and that you take away from your book when he’s there because he’s such a good passer and playmaker for others,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “There has been a little bit of an adjustment, and there will be. That’s no excuse not to take advantage of this opportunity better.”
Since Rondo’s return in mid-January, the Celtics have gone 5-15. Not the most sterling of records for sure.
Boston’s offense has struggled though and so has the team in generall. The Celtics have posted a 98.1 offensive rating and 104.3 defensive rating. Boston simply cannot shoot and that is causing major problems for the team as they play out the rest of their season. Shooting is not Rondo’s strongest suit.
The Celtics are indeed stuck in that no man’s land.
The question Boston fans want answered is whether Rondo is part of the team’s future. His free agency is only a year away.
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck is not hiding his desire to be aggressive and get Boston back on top sooner rather than later. Boston has amassed a lot of draft picks and it is very realistic that they could do that.
The Celtics are clearly looking at the future more than the present. The team has improved slightly with Rondo back and he is not quite the same player he was before. Not yet at least.