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Rajon Rondo: The Best Backcourt Shooter in the League?

 

Quietly efficient. That’s the best way I could describe Rajon Rondo’s scoring ability through this season. The fifth-year point guard has been relegated to the fifth offensive scoring option in the starting lineup, which really isn’t much of a demotion when you have a top 5 all-time center entering the fold in Shaquille O’Neal causing the switch in what Doc Rivers needs out of his floor general.

With less scoring needed from Rondo on the offensive end, (his average is down from 13.7 to 11.2 points per game) much of the attention has been placed on Rondo’s increased assist production which has skyrocketed from 9.8 to 13.7 assists per game. Given the murderer’s row of scorers surrounding him, all of them seemingly having career years in green thus far, it’s easy to see why the assist numbers have jumped with so many options to pass to.

As Rondo has taken a step back with his scoring, purely based on the lack of a need for it above all else, it’s crucial to point out one improved reality about Rondo’s game. He has become much more efficient as a scorer and in fact is the most accurate shooter at either guard spot in the league at this juncture, hitting 53 percent of his shots on the season. The best part of that stat? He’s not doing all of his damage at the rim.So let’s start by taking a look at the guard spot FG percentage leaders to see just how well Rondo has stacked up against the competition, with the shooting numbers highlighted below from Hoopdata.com:

So as you can see, Rondo has a comfortable one point edge over Ronnie Brewer and rookie sensation Landry Fields in the FG% column. Other names you see on that list are not surprising with Steve Nash and Tony Parker carrying their offensive scoring loads for their respective teams. Still it’s important to point out that Rondo is just shooting 4 less attempts per game than either of these guys. So while the 25-year-old’s overall volume may be down, it’s still comparable to other stud point guards in the league.

Now the other argument I can’t wait to hear on this is quite simple. “Yeah, well he may be good at shooting around the basket, but he still can’t shoot from the outside!” And that argument would be wrong, for this year anyway. The guy can’t shoot from some places on the floor such as the free throw line, but that’s another story for another day.

Lucky for Rondo we are talking about FG percentages here and his mid-range and outside games have stacked up quite well so far compared to the rest of the league.

Take a close look at those numbers. Only half of Rondo’s scoring attempts are coming at the rim this year and he’s finishing at a very respectable 60 percent clip, which is actually a step down from his number last year. However, the good news for C’s fans is his number from the dreaded mid-range where Rondo is shooting a career high 45 percent through 16 games. The even better news in that department? That’s while taking more shots than almost any other year from that distance at 2.6/game from the 16-23 feet area.

Put it all together and you have a point guard that is quietly maturing extremely well into his role as the fifth scoring option in a starting lineup. In past years, Rondo has had to shoulder more of the offensive load to make up for the injuries elsewhere to guys like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Even with the injuries this year, there’s plenty of scoring to go around and number 9 is picking his spots quite well.

* All numbers taken from HoopData.com

  • Batman

    Now he needs to work at the free throw line……

    • JP-

      definetly needs work from the line

  • DickYankus

    Do you guys proofread what you write? This is by far the most poorly written CelticsHub post I've read in a long time.

    • http://CelticsHub.com Brendan Jackson

      Is Latin for….

      If "this is by far the most poorly written CelticsHub post I've read in a long time" then I believe you have answered your own question, haven't you?

    • willybeamin

      hahahaha

      "DickYankus" is apparently a stickler for grammar.

      Maybe the article was editedup after you read it Dick, but it reads fine to my college educated eye.

  • Devany (no e)

    DickYankus

    Go yank yourself; these guys are fantastic, finding time after their third jobs to bring you the "poorly written articles" that you so willingly tear down.

    Remember it’s much easier to tear someone down, then to give someone else credit for hard work when we're jealous of insight and knowledge of the game. These guys are awesome and truly love bringing up to date statistics, analysis, and humor to, yes, even under appreciative readers like you.
    I don’t like people like you.

  • CelticNut

    Rondo is my favorite player. Glad we extended his contract while we could afford him!

  • http://www.anaheimamigos.com KLC

    Those numbers are pretty good. Maybe we should take into account that when Rondo takes a jump shot, he often faces a much different defensive approach than what might face Nash or Parker. Most of Rondo's looks are spectacularly wide-open; Nash and Parker would salivate over getting the chances (and in Nash's case, the teammates) that Rondo gets.

    Side note: I enjoyed watching him in the H.O.R.S.E game against Kevin Durant. He did a nice job (almost) matching Durant jumper-for-jumper when Durant got hot and starting hitting from all over the place.

    In any case, he's a brilliant player. He's only getting wide-open looks on the jumper because teams fear his phenomenal skills in other areas.

  • Kobe's Daddy

    Can we also talk about how rondo's shootin 35% from 3?

    • Batman

      After that we can talk about Kobe shooting 33% from 3!

      • Morpheus

        OH hell no…..KOBE > RONDO shooting.____Than we can talk about Kobe's career shooting from all over the place….eehh on the other hand you probably don't.

  • bmays

    if you watch ALL the celtics games, how often do you see rondo at the line? not very often, thats whey it seems like he is worse than what he really is. just like everybody was saying he couldnt shoot but every time a team bank on backing off him and making him take open shots he knocks them down, rondo is just one of those types of peope who is going to get the job done some how, some way, doesnt matter the cost.

  • paul

    Obviously the numbers don't tell the whole story here. While Rondo's distance shooting has been better than expected he still avoids contact at the rim and passes away easy lay-ups at least once or twice a game. He needs to get his ft% up to 70-75%.

  • Morpheus

    He still needs to improve at the ft line.

  • George

    The Celtics just want to win. Rondo can shoot .000 as long as the Celtics win the Celtics are happy.

  • B.E.L.

    HA! I keep saying Rondo has a J. He's had one since last year. So glad someone has the stats and is putting them out.

    By the way, he's only attempted about two Free Throws a game this year. I think the FT% might go up as the season progresses.

  • http://twitter.com/ecreed6 @ecreed6

    May have already been said but, Rondo is 9th best True Shooting% this year!…on the Celtics. He's not terrible but by no means is overly efficient, scoring wise, that is.

  • Bostonguy

    Interesting Facts.

    Don't say terms like "demoted" in regards to Rondo's place in the offense, because Rondo's calls his own plays. So if anyone demoted him, it was himself.

    Rondo also gets more aggressive when he feels he has an advantage or the team is stagnant, like he did in Cleveland.

  • Bostonguy

    Rondo still needs to take 2-3 more shots a game (and at least two 3 pointers a game).

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