In real life, Rajon Rondo is one of the best point guards in the NBA that talks really fast, dribbles a ball at all times of the day and night, hates my questions in media scrums, and is secretly hated by the POTUS. In fantasy basketball land, Rajon Rondo is a specialist. Despite being a fantastic floor general, in fantasy he lacks the tremendous value that he brings to the Celtics. Rondo can’t throw alley-oops to Kevin Love just because you have them both on your team, so just about the only thing he brings to your fantasy team on offense is with assists. Defensively, his steals averages are always near the top of the list and he’s a pretty good rebounder for a point guard, but even when you factor in those statistics, Rondo doesn’t live up to his real-life reputation in fantasy.
Almost all expert rankings will place Rondo far down the list of top point guards – Adam ranked him as the 17th best fantasy point guard at the end of the season – but there are still folks that will draft Rondo above guys like Jrue Holiday or Steve Nash because of his place amongst the league’s top pure point guards. Some folks expected last season to be the breakout campaign that vaulted Rondo into the top five fantasy point guard conversation. Unfortunately, Rondo continued to brick jumpshots (38 percent on all jumpers, 23 percent on three’s) and even though he averaged a career high 11.2 assists per game (second-most in the league), his scoring average dropped to 10.6 points per game, the second lowest of his career. Additionally, the stat that continues to break the backs of Rondo’s fantasy owners, free throw percentage, regressed from 62 percent to 57 percent.
If there is any silver lining it would be that the Celtics’ Big Three is getting older and must be due for a regression very soon, giving Rondo a chance to take on a bigger role. Pierce, Allen and Garnett getting older and progressively worse will likely present one of two outcomes for Rondo: 1) He will accept the added responsibility, adapt his offensive game by either taking it the hoop more (resulting in a higher PPG average) or working extremely hard on his shot/free throw shooting (resulting in a higher PPG average and a higher free throw percentage) or 2) Rondo fails once again to develop as a consistent offensive threat outside of his passing and as it becomes harder for the Big Three to convert on his passes into assists, he regresses as both a real point guard and a fantasy point guard.
Either way, I think this is the season that we finally see what Rondo is made of. Rondo has gone from unknown to anointed over the past three years but as the Big Three become less and less effective, we’ll learn how good Rondo really is.