I had to throw this anecdote on the board.
Call it Kid vs Kidd.
In someways the two players are alike. They are both known not to have a great outside shot, but are excellent rebounders for their position. Both like to fast break and distribute the ball with the best of them. The assist is far more important than personal scoring for both.
Jason Kidd’s stat line was 6 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, two blocks and one turnover.
Rajon Rondo had 13 points, 14 assists, 7 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 turnovers.
In this recent run, Rajon Rondo has outplayed Devin Harris twice, Steve Nash, Jameer Nelson and now Jason Kidd. And outplayed them significantly. That is quite a list of elite point guards to dispense of consecutively and in short fashion. Certainly it is no coincidence that each game was a Celtic win.
Jason was approached by a small media contingent after the blow out and was asked about Rajon Rondo…
He’s grown as a player. He’s got great team mates and veterans who you could see are teaching him, and he has a great coach.
I’m not sure he meant this line to be funny….
So…He’s having one of those all star type of years. His numbers would be better if they had to play the fourth quarter.
But it brought laughter from those who were there. Rondo does average 32:17 minutes this year. Rajon played 34:24 in this game. But, in fact, he did not play the 4th quarter and hasn’t in other blow outs. The point was amusing and well taken.
Addressing a weak point in his game, Rajon has also been hitting the rare jumpshot with a bit more regularity lately.
Jason was asked about Rondo’s jumpshot and the success he had in this game. He said that Rondo doesn’t need to be Ray Allen, just be able to hit open jumpers.
He’s growing into making those shots. He’s comfortable taking those shots. He is going to get a lot of those shots. You could see he’s starting to grow confidence-wise. His ability is there. His confidence is high right now.
I asked Rondo if he was expecting to be this good this soon.
I come in every game defensive minded. I have three Hall of Fame great scorers, so I don’t come in the game trying to score. My job is to play defense, push it up the court and find the guys, get ’em open looks so…I pride myself on defense.
I can’t give (all of the) credit to myself. I have a second line behind me. I have Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett. When Scal was in he did a great job as well, shadow some of the guys, keep the ball out of their hands.
No doubt, that is part of his success. Having a cohesive team defense that cuts off passing lanes, disrupts the enemy point guard’s play making options, and helps on penetrations in invaluable. Still, Rondo’s pressure defense and constant harassment has disrupted a litany of top guards.
If these were gunslinger showdowns at high noon, Johnny Rondo would be calmly blowing smoke away from the barrels of his six guns, then adding notches to their handles. ‘Black Bart’ Harris, ‘Shotgun Steve’ Nash, ‘Butch’ Nelson, and now the Sundance Kidd have been left lying in the dust.
Johnny Rondo tips his hat in the noon day sun and moves on. Another game, another challenge.
But when Rajon, the new “Kid” took on Jason, the old Kidd, it had a bit more meaning.
When mentioned to Rajon about Kidds’ praise for him, Rajon responded…
That means a lot coming from a Hall of Famer and an All Star. He was out there trying to tell me, Im a good rebounder. I’m just trying to follow in his footsteps.
I’m a long way to go to be where he is. The most important thing is we are getting the wins.
Wins indeed. Also known as blow outs. And when that happens, Rondo gets the 4th quarter off. There go the stats.
I get the distinct feeling Rondo doesn’t mind a bit.
We are watching a special NBA point guard grow up before our very eyes.