Rajon Rondo, a 6-1 point guard from the University of Kentucky, was the 21st overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. Originally selected by the Phoenix Suns, Rondo was immediately traded to the Boston Celtics. Since joining the organization, he has proven to be one of the quickest, most athletic, and most effective point guards in the NBA, having already won a championship and earned an All-Star appearance within his first four seasons.
Rajon Rondo spent two seasons at Kentucky where he began to demonstrate his impressively wide-ranging skill set. He displayed pure point guard skills as a pass-first slasher, capable of getting into the lane at will and finding open teammates with ease. On the defensive end of the floor, his speed and quick hands placed him among the NCAA’s steals leaders. What was most impressive was his ability to grab rebounds at a high rate despite often being the shortest player on the court.
Leaving college after his sophomore season, Rajon Rondo was a first round pick and the first pure point guard selected in the 2006 NBA Draft. In his rookie season with the Boston Celtics, he spent most of the season as the backup point guard to Delonte West. By season’s end, Rondo and West shared a starting backcourt and Rondo began to demonstrate why the Celtics wanted to acquire him. In 25 games as a starter, Rondo averaged 10.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 2.4 steals per game, giving the organization confidence in him going forward.
The 2007-08 season was Rondo’s first as a fulltime starter in the NBA. During the offseason, the Celtics completed a major overhaul of the roster, leaving Rondo as the only true point guard on the team and the de facto starter at the position. Playing alongside perennial All-Stars Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, Rondo grasped the opportunity and excelled. He proved to be an asset on both ends of the floor and he saved some of his best performances for his first playoff experience. Rondo averaged 6.6 assists in 26 playoff games including a brilliant 16 assist performance in game two of the Finals, stepping up as more than just a role player on a championship team.
In the 2008-09 season, Rondo took an increased role in the Celtics’ offense. He increased his assist average from 5.1 to 8.2 per game while scoring 11.9 points and shooting 50.5 percent from the field. He took home his first individual honor with a spot on an All-Defensive team. Though the shorthanded Celtics didn’t repeat as champions, Rondo’s playoff performance was Oscar Robertson-esque. In 14 playoff games, Rondo averaged 16.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, 9.8 assists, and 2.5 steals per game, tallying three triple-doubles.
Carrying his growth in the previous season’s playoffs into the 2009-10 campaign, Rajon Rondo had another breakout season. He broke the Celtics’ single-season records for both assists (794) and steals (189), leading the NBA in the latter category. Rondo earned a spot on his second straight All-Defensive team and appeared in his first NBA All-Star game. Now established as one of the NBA’s elite point guards, Rondo is a major reason why the Celtics have reached the NBA Finals for the second time in three seasons.