In a playoff-less season, the Celtics really have only one thing to look forward to before lottery night: The return of Rajon Rondo. There are always a few indicators that a player is nearing his return, and one of the first ones is that he is returning to drills during practice.
From Gary Washburn’s Twitter account:
Brad Stevens said he’s been mixing in Rajon Rondo into 5-on-0 drills during practice. “So he’s ready when the time comes.”
Said Stevens on Rondo: “We’re doing some things that fit him better than anybody else.”
Now, it’s worth noting that 5-on-0 is FAR from 5-on-5 full court, which is usually the final hurdle, and the Celtics are (correctly) in no hurry to get Rondo back ahead of schedule. But this report is exciting for a couple of reasons.
Stevens’ 5-10 record belies the job he has done coaching these players thus far. He seems to combine Xs and Os with advanced stats in a way that is advanced for his relative youth in NBA years (see: Avery Bradley playing shooting guard, Jared Sullinger receiving more minutes, etc), so when he says the Celtics are doing things that will fit Rondo better than anyone else, it’s an exciting prospect. Rondo is currently this team’s building block, and an offense built around his skillset very well might take on his unique, enigmatic approach to the game. That’s an intriguing proposition.
Even more intriguing is the prospect of finally seeing Rondo and Stevens work together. All summer we heard rumors of how Stevens was interacting with Rondo and picking his brain for ideas on how the team should be run. We would like to believe that this will lead to chemistry, and with their combined IQs and reported respect for one another, it’s hard to imagine they will clash.
Either way, Boston’s season is going to be injected with new life when Rondo returns, and just having something to look forward to can be hugely beneficial.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.