While watching the playoffs, one thing stood out to me. To be a champion, a team must have a solid point guard. A good center is important as is the play from the other positions, but a dominant point guard on a team makes the players at every other position better. And on the other hand, good players can be hampered by the lack of a good point guard to run the offense on the court.
Teams spend a lot of time and money scouring the league and the globe for the next great big man. Fans gush about the exciting shooting guards and small forwards who slash to the basket and play above the rim with unbelievable athleticism. But it is the point guard who really makes all the other parts of the team better. It takes a great point guard to deliver the ball inside to the big men and to the slashing guards and forwards.
I believe that Danny knows the value of having a great point guard. He has taken a point guard in every draft of his tenure as GM. In 2003, he traded to get Marcus Banks who was picked 13th. In 2004, it was Delonte West with the 24th pick. In 2005, he drafted Orien Green with the 53th pick. And in 2006 Danny pulled off a trade to draft Rajon Rondo and in effect, used the 7th pick to get Sebastian Telfair.
Banks, Greene and Telfair have been disappointments. West held his own as a point guard but had to learn the position since his natural position is shooting guard. Rondo shows promise of becoming a dominant PG who is capable of leading the team to a championship. The point guard runs the offense and watches the backcourt. His role is so important to the team that he is really an extension of the coach on the floor. And in the case of the Celtics he is even more important since Doc is our coach. The Guide for Coaching Basketball tells us that a good PG must have these qualities: 1. He must have an instinctive knowledge of the game. 2. He must be a good ball handler. 3. He must be a good passer. 4. He must possess speed and quickness of foot. 5. He must be a good dribbler with either hand. 6. He must be able to play good hard-nosed defense. 7. He must be able to hit the outside shot when left open. 8. He must be able to penetrate and dish off. 9. He must be able to read defenses. 10. Above all, his ego must not be so inflated that it interferes with his basketball judgment.
If we look at these qualities, Rondo scores high on every one except hitting the outside shot. However, last season he showed a great deal of improvement from the beginning of the year to the end. He has an incredible work ethic and I believe that he will come back next season with the ability to hit the outside shot with regularity.
He has proved that he has great basketball instincts and makes very good decisions on the court. He is a good ball handler and a good passer. He is one of the quickest players in the league. He plays tough defense and is able to read the defenses to make the right decision with the ball. He has great hands and has an uncanny knack for stealing the ball. He is a master of penetrating because of his speed and does a great job of dishing off and finding the open man. Rondo seems to be the definition of the classic point guard. He showed a lot of promise last season and gives Celtics' fans reason to be very hopeful. I believe that Rondo will be the floor general that Danny has been searching for and who will lead this team to their 17th championship.
Nice work. Yet another reason I take issue with Doc Rivers. He buried Rondo on the bench for a good part of the season. Good things happen when he's on the floor. Although I wonder if I can speak rationally about Rondo. I'm the guy who is seriously considering starting something with the next ESPN basketball guy that mocks Rondo's shot. Hollinger, Stein, Bucher, Simmons, whoever, you've been warned.