No one knows when Rajon Rondo tore his anterior cruciate ligament during the Jan. 25 match-up against the Atlanta Hawks, but the Boston Celtics soon knew that they lost their leading point guard for the rest of the season.
The injury appears to have occurred late in the fourth quarter in a routine rebounding sequence seen in almost every NBA play. In Derek Rose-like fashion, Rondo now has a season-ending injury. Rondo may not be the ultimate package, but he is definitely the best thing the Celtics have going for them.
Since the injury, the Celtics recorded a six-game winning streak by playing very unselfishly. They actually look like a better team than they did when Rondo was playing. This may be from playing with more emotion, but before the injury Boston was riding a six-game losing streak.
Unfortunately, this argument is undermined by the fact that before the six-game losing streak, the Celtics won six in a row. The Celtics are a streaky team and, if the future mirrors the past, the Celtics are due for a nice, long losing streak.
Rondo makes the Boston Celtics a better team. This season, he was averaging 13.7 points, 11.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds in 37.4 minutes per game. How can a team be better off without a player averaging a double-double? He is their most proficient ball handler and he strengthens the team. Picture the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals: Rondo almost single-handedly carried the Celtics to Game 7 against the Miami Heat.
No one on this year’s roster can fill the hole that Rondo’s injury has created. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are too old to take on the enormous burden Rondo carried and Courtney Lee does not have the ball-handling skills that Rondo has.
Rondo may not have the shooting ability of Kobe Bryant, but he has the creativity every point guard has to have, similar to Steve Nash but with better rebounding skills. Rondo is already one of the top point guards in the NBA and if during an offseason he could get a better 3-point shot, he would dominate the league even more.
Saying the Celtics are better off without Rondo is like saying San Antonio Spurs do not need Tony Parker. Rondo is the future of the Boston Celtics and without him a title run is not plausible.