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Who Will Run With Rondo? Some Baseless Speculation.

 

Rajon Rondo has done wonders masking the offensive declines of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. But he has also struggled to create offense when flanked by terrible offensive players like Kendrick Perkins and marginal ones like Tony Allen (weak in the halfcourt) and Glen Davis (just weak).

Until the Celtics’ unlikely run to the 2010 finals, it seemed the 2010-11 season would feature a remade roster filled with the younger athletes we’ve long assumed would thrive paired with Rondo’s speed, court vision and passing skills. That renovation was delayed a year so the C’s could host their Injured & Infirm convention but with that approach safely discredited, we can give a little more thought to the ideal running mates to put with RR.

Here are some thoughts on five guys who could see their offensive production seriously enhanced by playing with Rondo.

This is notional, but I’ve tried to be at least vaguely realistic in suggesting players the Celtics could ask after over the next couple of years. Otherwise, the list would be filled with names like Blake Griffin, Lebron James and Amare Stoudemire: guys who aren’t changing addresses anytime soon.

What kind of players work best with Rondo? Some thoughts after the jump.

***

We know Rondo optimizes Boston’s offense when surrounded by good shotmakers. The big three are all excellent jumpshooters and Rondo has proven adept at getting them the ball where they can do the most damage with it.

But how many times over the last few years have we heard Doc Rivers tell his team they’re not pushing the pace? And how often has Rondo finally started walking the ball up, knowing he’s fast-breaking by himself? Far too many points have been abandoned in favor of leisurely strolls up the court.

The common wisdom seems accurate. To truly maximize Rondo’s effectiveness, you need 1) athletes filling the lanes who can finish strong at the rim and 2) dead-eye shooters spacing the floor. As well, we got a half-season glimpse of what it looks like when Rondo penetrates and lobs the ball up to a big with good hands. You want more Shaq than Perk in your center.

Before we get to the list of players, here’s a totally gratuitous Rondo assist reel, one of the few on youtube not set to a Kanye West track. It’s also a depressing reminder the Celtics were still playing ball this time last year.

FIVE GOOD FITS

Dwight Howard. Howard’s going to pick his destination and a cold weather city with no movie industry probably doesn’t rank high up his list. But more than ever, the league zeitgeist is about winning titles as a measure of manhood, and Howard’s preferred teams may not have the cap space or trade assets to acquire him. The sight of Rivers, Rondo, Paul Pierce and an ownership group focused on rings or bust may start to look appealing.

It’s unpleasant to think of Howard and Rondo both bricking free throws down the stretch of close games, but with Howard’s inside game and the defensive potency the two could bring, there may not be that many close games. And the C’s could manufacture all sorts of halfcourt baskets merely by the fact that defenders who can’t stop Rondo from penetrating will struggle to get help from defenders who don’t want to come off Howard’s body as RR streaks to the rim. Howard has never played with a PG like Rondo before.

Josh Smith. Smith has also never played with a PG like Rondo before. Sure, he’s a knucklehead with an infatuation for ill-timed three-pointers that rivals Michael Bay’s love of helicopters at sunset, but Smith would look dynamite throwing down Rondo passes for bowel-shaking dunks in transition. And he could easily pick up some alley-oop stuffs in the halfcourt, a la KG.

Smith is an impactful guy on defense, still only 25 and his contract is reasonable, with two years remaining at $12.5M and $13.3M. It’s not an easy match but Atlanta may be looking to shed salary and Boston has a number of creative ways to absorb it between now and next summer. And a couple of draft picks to throw into the mix.

JR Smith. Another worrying locker room presence and another guy who’s never seen a bad shot he recognized as a bad shot. Still, he’s an enormous finisher, and a capable long range shooter who could hit his potential with Rondo feeding him the ball in a more tightly controlled offense. A free agent post-lockout, he may be out of the Celtics’ price range, but not by much. The kind of talented, pseudo-reclamation project Danny Ainge loves. And yet another guy who has never played with a PG like Rondo.

Nicolas Batum/Gerald Wallace. More (potentially) great system defenders who can shoot a bit, run and finish. Sense a pattern here?

Batum’s apparently beloved by the Blazers but his restricted free agency in 2012 comes at an inopportune time for Portland. They owe $36M to Wesley Matthews, Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge alone in 2012-13, with the possibility of Greg Oden sucking up another (guessing) $8-10M on their cap. Can they really afford both of these small forwards too? Can they find enough minutes for them even if they can? Batum will probably be the one to have but Wallace won’t turn 30 until next July. He should still have plenty left. Either one would look good on the court with Rondo.

Your turn.

Who else should Boston target and why?

  • lakershater13

    Ok I like the article and I like the 5 guys that you put as guys you would want to target. The one name you mentioned here as a guy we would be on the list if he was an up coming free agent is a guy that wouldn't be a good fit with RR. That guy is Lebron. Assuming the big three of the Celtics retire having RR and James wouldnt work. Lebron cannot win a championship with out a Wade type player. Rondo is not a fourth quarter guy. He could be left open james could be doubled. Not that you would need to double james in the fourth quarter because he is a choke artist. So lets all stop praising James as the next MJ. MJ was 6-6 with 6 finals mvps. Lebron is 0-1 and even if he wins this year he wont win the finals mvp. That will belong to Wade.
    Ok now for guys we I would like to see next to rondo. These are not all realistic options. Just future free agents that could work if we could get them.
    Boris Diaw is a potential free agent this summer. Could be a decent defender on the wing and can knock down shots.
    Tyson Chandler…who wouldnt want this guy? Unfortunately Mavs will pay him what ever he wants.
    Kenyon Martin…Might have a couple good years left in him.
    Deandre Jordan…Can run, can jump real high, and would be great at finishing around the rim and rebounding at both ends. Big problem is he is a restricted free agent. Clippers will likely match just about anything…definitely will match our midlevel.
    James Jones if he opts out this year. Just like the Celtics always found House they would find this guy. He shoots well against Boston. Why not with Boston?
    Carl Landry…6'9 250lbs of non stop energy. Too pricey for us? Probably
    Sonny Weems…Real athletic, decent jump shot he could develop, and is also a restricted free agent. You know he doesnt want to be up in canada but toronto can match what ever they feel he is worth.

    Finally we need one of two guys. Both are named Brian. We need either Scalabrine back or go get Cardinal. We need that big white guy who will be a fan favorite. I feel the team will play harder to get that guy in the game for garbage time.

    • http://www.twitter.com/jdotd @JdotD

      Is this serious post?
      LeBron would never be an option if he was a free agent because we dont have a trillion dollars to sign the guy, or the space on our roster (Pierce off the bench? No way).
      Diaw is an old fat bum, his only useable ability is that he can SOMETIMES shoot. He's not running anywhere, even with Ronfo.
      Chandler is over rated because he's playing a lot in a zone. Look how easily Wade and LeBron are getting inside and dunking this series, has that happened with any other team this year? He's an alley-oop catcher at best, and he's too skinny to play defense as a center. He'd be great off the bench but he's always cost too much for that to be realistic.
      Martin is also a bum, full of injuries and a terrible attitude, nothing to add.
      DeAndre Jordan is okay but will get signed by the Clippers the second they can.
      James Jones, lol, 1 like he's going to opt out, and 2, why would we want a guy who can literally JUST shoot the ball. He's scored like 3 unassisted (more than 2 dribbles) this entire year, he has no use on any team other than Miami. And I don't think I've ever seen him dunk or finish at the rim.
      Carl Landry is a good fit, especially is Big Baby goes somewhere else for more money which I cant see him not doing.
      Sonny Weems is also a bum.
      The whole point of this article is athletic guys who can run and finish on the break with Rondo, none of these guys, bar maybe Chandler and Jordan can!

      • mm113

        First off, this isnt meant to be taken real its just imagining a what if scenario and all the stuff you talk about is not right. Tyson Chandler is not overated.

        • Charlie

          Tyson Chandler is very overrated. He's only ever had two consistenly good seasons, and they came with Chris Paul throwing him alley-oops and then this year in a contract season. He seems like a prime candidate to get over payed then go back to under performing.

          And James Jones? Are you serious? The dude is like 50 years old and as the other post pointed out, has no value as anything other than a set shooter.

      • lakershater13

        Ok clearly I wasnt being serious. I talked about bring scal back… For one lebron would be an option if he was a free agent in 2012 because we have a ton of cap space. He signed for 110 over 6 years. Any team with cap space would be able to sign him IF available.
        Diaw not that old. He is 5 years younger than Pierce. He wouldnt be a lazy bum in Boston. You think vets like Pierce, allen, and KG are going to let him slack off? No. Hes not a great player. Average at best but he could help.
        Martin would be a decent sign for a year or two at really cheap money. Maybe the vet min.
        Jones again a lot younger than pierce and allen. We need bench scoring and Jones could be decent at times. I agree he is not likely to opt out unless he feels another team will over pay for him which the celtics wont.
        Sonny Weems is 25 with a lot of potential. Aside from Green name a young 6'6 athletic wing with some upside on the Celtics?

        If your going to bash someones post at least come up with something better than calling everyone I mentioned a bum.

    • Batman

      choke artist? do u have any reason why or is it because you hate him?

    • Chris G

      The C's must sign DeAndre Jordan and Chris Wilcox with the Mid-Level money if its still there after the CBA. Then draft Marshon Brooks and Keith Benson. Do a sign and trade with Baby for O.J. Mayo, and use the $3.3 mil trade exemption on Al Thornton. While resigning Delonte West and Jeff Green.

      2011 Celtics

      Starters…Rondo+Only Big 3+ DeAndre Jordan
      Bench1….West+Mayo+Thornton+Green+J.O'neal
      Bench2….Bradley+Brooks+Wilcox+Benson

    • Morpheus

      I'm sorry, but i know your post has serious intentions, but i can't take it seriously. Thanks for making me laugh though.

  • ed judson

    Josh Smith is the dumbest player in the NBA. Watching the Hawks in this year's playoffs, I kept thinking Smith must have driven Rondo insane when they played together at Oak Hill.

  • sdv

    ugh the thought of Howard in green is tuff to stomach. lets not talk about it anymore…
    JR Smith is a good idea though, he can score, and maybe KG can corral his attitude.

    • kricky

      I don't get it.

      What is wrong with Dwight? He's a good guy. Just needs a bit more toughness. Imagine if KG was schooling him.

      JR on the other hand is such a douche. Even laid back George Karl can't stand him. He'd be poison in our locker room.

  • Avinash

    Josh Smith would actually be a great fit in my opinion. The dudes a stat sheet stuffer plays ill defense passes well and can finish at the rim. All he needs is a coach that knows how to control the volatile types aka Doc Rivers. Him and Rondo were best friends and room mates at oak hill and he might be perfect to get Rondos mind off Perk being traded. Only problem would be fitting him in to the starting 5 since he can only play the 3 or 4, which isnt so bad if theyre actually planning on bringing Pierce off the bench (which they arent).

    Jordan could be a great long term prospect if he learns how to play half court defense and adds a little more to his offensive game. There isnt any pressure on him to do anything offensively if he plays with this team but learning the defensive sets would be imperative.

    The FA market really isnt that great this year for the Celtics and a lot of the names being thrown around (Martin,Landry etc) are last ditch resorts if nothing else works out. I dont think Ainge wants to break up the big 3 especially after receiving so much criticism for the Perk trade but it might just have to happen if the team wants to build around Rondo and Green.

    With that being said I think we really should be focusing on Samuel Dalembert, the guy would be a defensive beast in the system.

  • I_Love_Green

    "Best at make dunk and nice to fan." Classic.

  • I_Love_Green

    Ellis for Igoudala is deep into discussions right now so he's off the table.

    • Morpheus

      Warriors have Lee, Udoh at PF. Why would they want BBD?

      • Brian

        You just answered that question..

  • heyjude

    Igoudala and L Deng up front would give Rondo lots of offense and defense rein (with Pierce of course). . . could have quasi-centers at the post in KG and M Gasol. . . add a spot shooter with R Allen from somewhere. . I don't know how the financing math adds up though. . . but I'm sure Ainge and company'd do all to get the best running and defending team with Rondo. . . or lose Rondo altogether – either with his talents "withering away" under seemingly "constricting" conditions of the current team, or with him packing-off for elsewhere. . .

    • Faye

      How are Rondo’s talents withering away? Don’t just say garbage for the sake of it you idiot. It’s obvious you don’t know the financing of it all since the guys you named all have ridiculous contracts not to mention we don’t even know how the new CBA contract will change things. Just enjoy the game cuz you don’t know much about anything else.

  • Zack

    sounds solid, how probable?

    • Jay P

      Very unprobable.

      You wont get both Jordan and Wilcox with just the MLE.

  • SteveB

    Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Rajon Rondo…that is some serious speed up and down the court. Since that is the topic here I think Bradley and Green can play the 2 and 3 with Rajon for stretches and speed things up. Not all five guys have to be out on the break. The problem with the current starting five is only Rondo is down the court. We always see him waiting at half court for the rest of the team.

    • LACelticFan

      Thank you for naming the current guys on this roster that can already play that way. Green may not finish over alot of people, but he can finish. Plus if the draft pick is Johnson or Williams, then that adds another big that can run and finish. Plus like I have been saying a McRoberts or Foster both of the Pacers are finishers too.

  • joel johnson

    this guy needs to lick my balls!!!!!!!!!

    • Morpheus

      Only if you can first.

  • Batman

    So you blame game 2 on Lebron? What about the rest of the team? How is it only Lebron? Lebron also had his fingers all over the 4th quarter in Game 3 with some delicious dimes, especially the one that led to the game winner
    Also saying James isn't a choker isn't crowning him over Jordan
    Stop hating

  • Morpheus

    "Hak" has some serious hops under his feet, should've been in the dunk contest..eesh.That's all i like about him though.

  • Morpheus

    My answer guy, hands down, man down would be Dwight. ALL IN. RR, Pierce, Dwight could bring Miami down in a series. Ray and KG could come back on vets minimum. We could keep Miami from being eyesore on our computer screens for 4-5 years.

    • Sam

      Agreed, this is what I've been hoping for all along. We sit down KG and Ray and tell them that if they want to be generous, we can sign Dwight Howard while keeping you as starters and be guaranteed champions. Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Garnett, Howard would be unbeatable in any situation, period. That combination would be incredible on defense, and rock solid on offense. It's literally the perfect NBA starting 5. Ray and KG would have to be willing to make the sacrifice though – Dwight might even have to sacrifice some of his money too. But I think this combination would guarantee a championship any and every year it plays together, as long as they're injury free.

      • NHBluesMan

        i feel like they'd be willing to take cuts (Ray and KG) but Dwight might not… also the 'injury free' thing is tougher and tougher to count on each year with the exception of Ray *knock on wood*

  • if Hakim came here

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRzQucmw4Io
    ^we'd have to bring him off the bench for Pierce.

    I remember he wanted to play the 3 in Milwaukee and they signed him to do so, but they didn't have enough bigs to run that Big a lineup.
    Funny how ish works out
    Wow his Wins Shared is shockingly similar to fellow Syracuse alum Carmelo.
    But Ainge will resign Green cuz he steals shots from everybody and cant get to the line http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4dr5dMsBUY

  • Jaffe

    What makes you think t-wolves will give him up for cheap?

  • Rondo&Warrick

    I could see a sign and trade for Green to Phoenix for Warrick. I remember the Slam Dunk contest he was in Magic said he could see Warrick as a 2-3.
    lol maybe he thought he was James Worthy reincarnated guarding G.Henderson sr.
    I wouldnt go as far as to put him and Pierce in at the same time unless it was an emergency but I like Warrick at the 3. If we would have had him instead of Green we'd be in the finals right now

    we would get Warrick and Lopez maybe? Gortat is untouchable.

    That would be a monster lineup with any combo of Pierce, Hakim, and Ray. Teams would be forced to matchup with us.

    should extend our window at the 3 spot and then we have to find a 4. But 1 2-guard
    I like this weak draft is Travis Leslie from UGA. 3rd 6'4 shooting guard in 10 years to measure with a 6'10.5 wingspan. Not 2 long not 2 small.

    the other 2? Dwyane Wade and James Harden. Leslie, Rondo, and Warrick would be a nice@ss retool.

  • Banner18?

    Anyone who thinks that Hakim Warrick is worth more than ANY player on the Celtics roster is just stupid. Subpar offense, subpar defense, subpar attitude. Warrick just finished a season playing alongside the best creator in the NBA (Steve Nash), and only managed 8 ppg. The fact that @Rondo&Warrick wants to sign and trade Jeff Green for this guy? Hey Rondo&Warrick chill the fuck out. Warrick's a) a free agent this summer so a sign and trade isn't possible and b) is worth less than Jeff Green's left nut. Jeff Green has true offensive talent, and potential on top of that. Warrick is washed up and has been since his rookie season. Please stop embarrassing yourselves by bringing this run-of-the-mill player into a serious conversation.

  • LACelticFan
  • HOWARD 2012

    DH,PP,RR,KG,RA,JO,JG, SHOULD I SAY MORE

    • Sergeant Alford

      I agree if Mr. Howard is really seeking a few rings with a great organization and coach; suit up and join the team; can he say yes for less money to win.

    • tiger

      you are right…….

  • paul

    I think Rondo is partly at fault for the Celtics' slow pace. He should have speeds in between racing up the court and walking it up and then standing around.

  • Morpheus

    Dudes need to put down the Warrick juice. He's 28, which means he is what he is, which isn't saying much at all.

  • paul

    The thing to remember is that no one in this league has played with a guard like Rondo. Rondo could turn a talented scorer into a league leading scorer. I hope Ainge doesn't underestimate how big the Rondo appeal could be around the league. If anything brings Howard to the Celtics it will be that. Rondo-Howard could be … well, it would be legendary.

  • Sam

    Dream Roster:
    Starters: Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Garnett, Howard
    Allen, Garnett, and Howard take pay cuts to make it work
    2nd String: Bradley, West, Green, Davis, Shaq
    Shaq comes out of retirement @ vets minimum after some time off to heal & everything
    3rd String: Doesn't really matter lol but I like Wafer… it would also be a good idea to keep JO and/or Krstic

  • Nmc

    Are we talking about the same Rondo that Doc was leaving wide open in practice?? I must have missed the part of his offense where he was hiding the decline of Paul, etc…
    Rondo must have had a big master plan instead of just trying to pad his assist record.

  • RondoFan

    I think we should try to pick up iguodala. he can't shoot all that well, but if we can do a sign and trade with baby + green for iguodala………oh boy! this way pierce could come off the bench or ray even? but we'd run, and oh man iguo's d would fit perfectly into celtics system!

  • phreesh

    Lopez and JR Smith seem like reasonable gets for the Cs that would thrive with Rondo.

    I don't see Howard in a Celtics uniform. Maybe Doc's Florida connection could help in that regard, though. It would be sweet, though. Who would you double off? Everybody on the floor can hit the open J.

  • wess

    leon powe

  • Faye

    I heard Allen Iverson wants to come back to the NBA. I know he belongs in Philly but I would love to have him in Boston. I think people are so quick to cautious of him because of his attitude in the past but I definitely think he’s over that. Playing in Turkey probably made him appreciate the NBA. I hate to add even more age to our roster, but AI is like Ray Ray, he’s in great shape despite his age so I think he’ll help the C’s. I hope we give him a chance.

  • Stace

    What's with all this 'Pierce off the bench' talk?
    He is the best player on the team.

    • Sam

      A possibility introduced by Danny himself my friend. A way to build the skills of Jeff Green. It's actually not a horrible idea.

  • nergalman

    tyson chandler. nuff said.

    • torpid bunny

      Dwight is a beast and would be a big addition but I can't stand him. I think he's a punk and would rather not have him on the team. Chandler is probably even less likely but at least he's a sort of really big, young, athletic blank slate.

  • DAVID FIGGIE

    you on CRACK COCAINE

  • Bobbie Uhrmacher

    Solder the poor connections on the pins on the blue convergence integrated circuit.

  • nate

    i like howard but only chance is if he is a free agent! or we can go for hibbert or javele magee in the 2012 free agency if we cant get howard! then get more athletic shooting guards and build around that! we need another star or 2 for the future! what will help boston become championship caliber is rondo develpoing a shot and surronding him with 2 good superstar players and a defensive minded team! dwight likes to play d and so does doc and rondo! match made in heaven! if howard is smart he would realize that he could be more succesful in the east than west because miami and chicago cannot stop him or rondo!! THE WEST has the thunder and perkins who can lock him down and a declining kobe? boston best choice for him period!

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