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Appreciating Rajon: The 2nd-Best QB in New England?

 

Over the past 10 days, Rajon Rondo has made two absolutely insane passes. They weren’t behind-the-back passes or no-look dishes, and they didn’t lead to spectacular dunks, so they are the type of plays that recede out of public consciousness amid an 82-game season.

Not here. Enjoy.

First, from 3/26 against the Kings:

But then Rondo topped himself against the Rockets on Friday:

(Essential slow-mo at :29):

I remember watching Game 4 of the 1997 Finals between the Bulls and Jazz with my Dad. This was the game in which Utah rallied late behind an incredible series of plays by John Stockton, including a sequence with about 50 seconds left in which Stock, with Utah trailing 73-72, rebounded an MJ miss and threw a one-handed pass almost the entire length of the court and over two Chicago defenders pursuing the target receiver (Karl Malone). The pass hit Malone in stride, and The Mailman laid the ball in for the lead. (You can see the pass at about the 50 second mark of this video).

My Dad just marveled at that pass. He said a casual sports fan would just have no idea how difficult a pass that was. And to risk it with the Utah season on the line! He couldn’t get over it, and he was right.

These Rondo passes? Sure, nothing significant was at stake. But they’re just as good as that Stockton pass.

Now if Rajon could ever learn to shoot like Stock…

  • Sami

    The day Rondo can shoot like Stock might be my undoing. I love the kid… don’t know why I call him a kid he’s two years and six days older than me,… now as it is. him with a jump shot combined with his insanely beautiful passing… that’s just wow.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Thanks for the vids. I love Rajon’s sick passes with EITHER hand. I love the fact that he is unorthodox. It will be great when he is better able to manage games with tempo & getting the ball to the right guy. DJ was really great at controlling tempo, and championship teams need someone to control the pace. I feel badly for Rondo because many times in the 2nd half he is rip roaring ready to zoom down the court & the rest of the team is lagging.

    I think in the playoffs Rondo will have to give up some of his deep seated passion to get out on the fast break in order to help rebound on the defensive boards. I feel strongly that other teams are going to attack our defensive boards (especially after the shorties from Houston were so successful). I’m really not expecting Rondo to score big in the playoffs. If he will just get everybody easy baskets (get them amped up), & rebound I think we can do big things. I know it sounds strange, but Rondo’s REBOUNDING from the guard position is the X factor for me. Guards are historically not blocked out, & he definitely has the skills to get some boards. I remember seeing him go up between Melo & the Bird man once to get the ball & then go right back up & score. It was another one of those ‘how’d he do that?’ moments.

  • Jason

    The second one is undeniably awesome.

    The first is only impressive because Ray basically let the ball bounce. At the time Rondo releases, I doubt his intention was for it to bounce. I expect he expected Ray to catch that on the fly in stride, but Ray faded just a tad to his left, letting it bounce. The result is cool, but I don’t think it qualifies as that astronomical of a pass.

  • NewYorkCeltics

    I was hunting for that Rockets play in the comments a couple of days ago…thanks for finding it Zach!

    That pass was ridiculous, it literally curved and spiraled back into Pierces hands after it hit the top of its arc…initially I thought he overshot it by a mile. Pierce didn’t even have to dribble the ball.

    You know what it reminded me of most was old grainy B&W footage of Bill Russell outlet passes the length of the court back in the real run and gun days…

    Thanks again for the two vids.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    big thanks. both passes also highlight his other special skill, rebounding.

    i’ve totally lost track of all his great passes this year….some killer on-the-fly, one-handed bounces through the lane in traffic hitting his man in full stride type-stuff. perk doesn’t have great hands, but rondo always lays it in his breadbasket.

    note: this past weekend i tried one of those rebound to long lob passes on playground. threw it short, turnover, fast break the other way.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    I was going to add something about that–try throwing a pass like this sometime in a full court pick-up game.

  • Jason

    Really, people think Rondo’s a good full court passer? He might throw a couple of good ones here and there, hell, even Perkins might sometimes but for the most part I’ve found Rondo to be very inaccurate as a long passer. He has sailed countless number of long passes over Garnett’s head, or everyone’s head actually. Usually long passes have to be successful because you don’t want to waste a possession so carelessly, hence, it’s rare to see long passes fail to connect a lot because players are mostly careful. But in Celtics games, I see them every game, usually from Rondo.

    Rondo’s a good pick and roll, drive and kick and handoff-on-the-fastbreak passer but his full court passes as well as lob passes are horrible.

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  • EDP

    Good passes. Steve Nash makes a pass like these at least once every game.

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