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Credit Grantland.com
After a strange series of events, revered assistant coach Ron Adams joined Brad Stevens' staff over the offseason. As it turns out, Adams' work with point guard Rajon Rondo may be the reason for the point guard's much improved shooting this season. More from ESPN's Chris Forsberg:

"Call him the Shot Whisperer. As revered as longtime assistant Adams is for his defensive prowess, he also excels at working with individual players on their shooting. Celtics players who have spent even just a few sessions with him come away raving, including guard Avery Bradley, who has displayed improved consistency with his jump shot since the start of the season."

"As Rondo has watched Bradley thrive from the midrange and rekindle his 3-point shot, the star veteran went to Adams with a simple message earlier this season while navigating his way back from ACL surgery: "I want to shoot like Avery."

From that point, many of Rondo's practices (and post-practices) concluded with Rondo preparing his feet at the free throw line. Adams would remain at the gym working on Rondo's mechanics long after others had left.

Rondo's shooting improvement is undeniable, as he's connected for a career-best 36.4% from downtown this season. Perhaps more importantly, his confidence is there. Rondo will match his single season high in 3 point makes (17) with just one more triple.

Even more inspiring, take a look at Rondo's February averages:

15.3 PTS, 9.9 AST, 5.1 RBS, 49% FG, 40% 3PT, 84% FT

Rondo's improvement at the charity stripe is awesome, especially considering he has hovered around the 62% mark for his career.

While these stats reflect a small sample size, there is no denying that Rondo's shooting has undergone remarkable change. Shooting confidence does not just arbitrarily skyrocket to yield this kind of improvement, especially for that length of time. Worst case, Rondo's marks of 40% from 3, and 84% from the line dip slightly and land amongst the stars. That is to say, somewhere around the mid-upper thirties and mid-upper seventies respectively.

That being said, it is entirely possible that these numbers are here to stay (or dare I say improve?). Regardless, I think it is safe to say that Celtics fans everywhere can smile at the newfound efficiency.

Rondo was humble as he thanked Adams for his improvement.

"I've got to give Ron Adams a lot of credit," Rondo said. "He's been with me since day one. We've been working day in and day out, as much as possible. In the beginning [of rehab], I could only do so much. I just continue to work and shoot the ball with confidence."

When asked what exactly Adams imparted to him, Rondo was reluctant to explain.

"You've got to ask him. I think he's helped improve Avery Bradley; he's been shooting the ball extremely well," Rondo said. "I told Ron, 'When I come back, I want to shoot like Avery.'"

Obviously, players dominate the attention in sports, but it's guys like Adams who help facilitate their growth. While he still hasn't found his precise consistency yet this season, Rondo's improvements continue to highlight his uniqueness as a seemingly ever-evolving star.

Austin Gill 3/03/2014 05:51:00 PM Edit
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