Post-game Reactions

On Jan. 4, 2009, the New York Knicks had Jared Jeffries (their “center”) guard Rajon Rondo and essentially ignore him. Instead of taking wide-open jumpers, Rondo tried to use the extra space allotted him to take Jeffries off the dribble for lay-ups. He shot 1-of-7 and the C’s offense sputtered in an ugly 100-88 loss.

After that game (last season), Doc applauded Rajon for attacking the hoop instead of taking wide-open Js. Via the CelticsBlog archives:

Said Rivers of Rondo’s way of confronting that type of defense: “By driving. I think, just because someone gives you a jump shot doesn’t mean you have to take it. I think that’s been his biggest improvement.”

“I think it gives you a running start when [opposition players] do back off, and that’s what he’s done.”

And now, after another game in which the Knicks ignored Rondo on the perimeter, Doc Rivers is saying this (via the Globe):

Rivers said he wants Rondo, who has struggled with perimeter shooting as well as free throw shooting all season, to shoot when he is open. Rondo was left open for a 3-pointer that could have won the game in regulation but missed it.

Teams are laying off Rondo because he has yet to prove he can hit mid-range jumpers consistently. While he wants his point guard to continue the flow of the offense, Rivers said he also wants Rondo to be more assertive offensively.

“He missed one late in [Sunday’s] game but it was great,’’ Rivers said. “He just stepped into the shot, but those will go in for him.’’

So Rondo has the green light. There will be some growing pains and some ugly shooting lines, just like there were with Glen Davis last season. But we saw the payoff during the post-season.

Will Rondo’s jumper follow the same path? It’s one of a handful of questions that will determine the fate of the C’s season.

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Zach Lowe

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  • Cptn Bubbles

    I like Doc, a lot. He is likable, but is it not true that you want your best shooters to take the most shots? The whole team is taking jump shots galore. Do you really want to see Rajon out there with them shooting even more jumpers? Why not just get rid of the driving & the little post game that you have altogether so everyone can shoot more jumpers?

    Are not the highest percentage shots right around the basket? How are the Cs doing with all those jumpers? Do the Cs not have some height advantages?

    Rondo shoots a high percentage in the lane using his speed, agility, & length to get those higher percentage shots. He also gets the bigs more involved when he is in the lane drawing the defense around him so he can pass to a wide open big or wide open shooter outside.

    I REALLY feel like there is a lack of strategy here with telling Rondo to shoot more jumpers. Do I want my weakest jump shooter shooting more jumpers or do I want to get my proven scorers like Paul or Ray more shots? Since it is rare to get an offensive rebound (since the Cs are so far away from the rim), you are getting a lot of one & done with less shots per game. Now, you’re telling Rondo to shoot more jumpers with those precious, fewer possessions? Does that sound like a good plan?

    Why can’t the Cs accept the universal strategy of recognizing who is hot & keep feeding them the ball until the other team stops it or that player finally starts missing? It’s like, let’s have variety for the sake of variety. Or thou shalt always shoot the open jumper. If you were on the other side, would you not love this ‘strategy’ & intentionally leave some people open to take jumpers if they were not good shooters? Is that not defense 101?

    It is hard to offensive rebound when everyone is busy jump shooting away from the basket. Going inside gives you higher percentage shots, more opportunity to offensive rebound, draw fouls & get to the free throw line, stop the longer rebounds from keying the other teams fast break & generally slow the game down. Sheed looks much better inside. Hey, maybe there is a reason why other teams defend him so much tougher inside & leave him more open at the 3 pt line.

    Next, we will have Perk hoisting up 3s because ‘he is open.’

  • Joel W

    I’d rather win 55 games and have Rondo confident and making shots in the playoffs than win 60 games and have teams willing to sit back against him, especially if those teams are Atlanta and Orlando who can neutralize Rondo’s ability to attack the hoop.

  • I lean more to Joel on this one, though I see Cpt Bubbles’ point on the ORBs–god knows I’ve written enough about it at this point. But maybe the bigs are more likely to be near the rim if Rondo is in jump-shooting position? just at thought.

  • jonathan

    The problem with Joel’s point is that you’re assuming Rondo develops a solid jump shot over the next sixty games, something he has been completely incapable of doing through his entire basketball career. Rondo is what he is and he will never be more than that. Good teams will always be able to roam off him without a real fear of being punished for it.

  • @Jonathan: I’m working on something to address your concern/question.

  • jonathan

    Zach – I look forward to reading it. I will say though that I’m not a Boston fan and while I do rate Rondo as a point guard, I think Danny made a mistake in signing him to the contract he did. With the prevalence of talented point guards entering the league in the last few years and it looking like the trend will continue (especially with the rule changes), it’s my belief that the Celtics would have been better off either trading Rondo or letting him play out his contract and using the saved money on a young shooting guard to replace Ray Allen after this season or looking to find a young power forward who can step in for KG as his body continues to break down. Point guards, unless they are superstars like Magic or Issiah, don’t win titles. And with so many quick point guards taking advantage of the rule changes, the difference between many of them is minimal. If Rondo doesn’t develop a reliable jump shot (which as I wrote I don’t see happening) then I think you’re stuck with a mid-tier point guard killing your cap and unable to carry the offense as even a second option. Again though, as a non-Celtics fan, I’m okay with that situation… 🙂

  • Ash

    Hey, Rondo gets me steals in my fantasy league, and that’s all I care about.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Every team, every player has strengths & weaknesses. Rondo essentially (rounding up 0.4) gave you a triple double average in the playoffs. He shoots a high percentage in the lane by using his speed, & he has gotten very good at using the glass. That is his shot. That is where he is good & efficient. Rondo can rebound (just about as well as Boston’s bigs). Rondo can get people easier shots (assists). And Rondo was leading the league in steals. Plus he handles the ball well (dribbling can be a weakness– just look at E House sometimes). That’s 5 categories where he excels, but that’s not good enough because he doesn’t hit a few jump shots per game??? If jump shots were the answer than E House should be in the game, & Rondo should sit. But E House is really not giving you all those other skills. He is just a shooter. We all would say E House is not a very good point guard. He is a great shooter when he is on, but he doesn’t really do all those other things.

    It’s like the blue plate special. You want the chicken & beans, but you also get the peas. Just about every nba player is like that. They have things they are really good at & they have things they struggle with. KG has high energy, can play wonderful help/shot blocking defense, & has a good jumper, but he hates the post. He is so tall & long. It looks like he could dunk over most of his shorter defenders by just jumping a few inches, but he does not have a dominate post game which most of us think is strange because he is so tall & long. Ray is wonderful at the foul line, is right on Reggie Miller’s tail for hitting the most 3s, & can scorch the nets, but he is not really known for assists or rebounding. And it goes on & on & on.

    If Rondo was hitting the jumper then I have no doubt that the assists would go down. Maybe his assists would go down to the level of Rays. Then, everyone would be complaining about the lack of easy baskets & low assists–that Rondo was like having a 2nd shooting guard instead of a real point guard.

    I would rather Rondo have more assists than points from jump shots. It would be great if he could hit a jump shot, but we have 3 other hall of famers who are known to be above average jump shooters: KG who is tall/long enough to get his jump shot off at any time, Ray who practices more than anybody & is in 2nd place in 3s all time I believe, & Paul who can get his own jump shot off the dribble whenever he wants. 3 jump shooting all stars. I say when it comes time to hit a jumper give it to 1 of the 3.

    Doc has said kaboodles of times that he needs to get Ray the ball more. He needs to get Ray more shots. Well, where is that going to come from if Rondo is taking more jump shots? I would much rather give Ray (or Paul or KG) 2 more jump shots than to have Rondo taking 2 jump shots. If Rondo hits his jumpers in practice, & he develops the skill then give those shots to him—but from what I’ve seen, give it to KG, Ray, or Paul if you want a jumper. Give it to Rondo if you want to attack the lane. Give it to Perk if you want to post.

    I just don’t expect Rondo to be good at everything. Maybe his jumper will get better over time, but right now, we have these 3 hall of famers who do have the skill & they COULD be shooting more. If the ball or players do not move then sure Rondo is open for jumpers, but I say move the ball, like all nba teams must, to get shots for your 3 proven (not theoretical) shooters. The ball moves faster than the double team so 1 of them is going to be open. Give Perk the ball inside & let Rondo drive. This is what each guy does well. I wish we could get KG to post up, but that is like Rondo hitting jumpers consistently. The Cs should play to their strengths. Run some screens & picks to get the big 3 open for shots. The alternative is Rondo & Perk shooting ‘open’ jump shots which is just not their game. We can all wish that Rondo & Perk could shoot jumpers as well as KG, Ray, & Paul, but we all can see the truth on the court. If it is the playoffs & you need a jumper do you want Perk or Rondo to take it? Or do you want to work the ball around & get 1 of the big 3 the shot?

    If you only had 1 all star I could see the point with Rondo shooting more jumpers, but when you have THREE all stars who are known for knocking down jump shots….well, those 3 proven all stars need to take more shots. If one of them is hot they should milk it. We all know that there is a zone, & it is silly not to get the ball to the hot hand.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    My apologies. I spent way too much time talking about the Cs offense. Sorry, I get emotional about the green. Difficult to explain…

    I think the real trouble is on the other end of the court. I’d like to hear how the D has changed from the championship season. It must be several things, right? It’s not just KG not being 100%, right?

  • @Bubbs: The passion is always welcome here.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    3 allstars? have you watched this year? doc is pushing rondo now because they NEED more from him this year just to compete.

    kg can’t even jump, let alone shuffle on D. allen is a true pro, but he is slipping and opposing teams go at him every game. pierce is still the truth, but is forced to carry the load every night. sheed just floats on the arc and chucks. this team is old and in trouble. it shows at both ends of the floor. they can’t beat anyone who runs or plays above the rim. ainge needs to pull the trigger on something or they are looking at a first round exit.

    i’m not trying to rain on the parade. these guys are hall of famers…..RESPECT. but need to get this in perspective. the big 3 is no more.

    ‘time can change me, but i can’t change time’

  • Cas


    That´s David Bowie, right?

    I think it was “but I can´t trace time”.

    Anyway, it´s both correct here.

  • jnuh

    How can someone be on the same team as Ray Allen and STILL have a broken ass jumper?

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  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    @ cas: bowie indeed. I must have listened to that song 1000s of time…..and had it wrong every time. thanks.

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