While ranking Boston's all-time greatest passer, Marc D'Amico of Celtics.com regarded Rajon Rondo as the number one passer in Celtics' history. However, could there be some recency bias involved in that choice?
The argument for Rondo is simple. During his tenure in Boston, he was a wizard with the ball in his hands. Rondo made plays that are not even imaginable to ordinary fans, let alone other superstars. His 4,474 assists with the Celtics rank fourth all-time, behind mainstays Bob Cousy, John Havlicek and Larry Bird, respectively. If Rondo had continued playing in Boston, it is definitely possible that he could have become the all-time leader, although it would have taken at least five more good years to surpass Cousy’s 6,945 career assists. That being said, “greatness” goes beyond mere statistics. We all watched Rondo develop throughout his career, and his highlights are still fresh in our minds. Does this necessarily mean he is the best? Not at all!
While Cousy highlights are not the most sought after products, he was not called the “Houdini of the Hardwood” for nothing. Cousy played in a completely different era when basically everyone except for Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor played below the rim. How many assists might Cousy have had playing with guys who could do this?
Rondo is not even Cousy’s biggest threat to best Celtics passer. That honor goes to the Basketball Jesus, Larry Bird. I promise not to argue if you make the claim that Bird had the highest basketball IQ of all time. Not only did Bird have move career assists than Rondo (5,695 to 4,474), but he did so while playing primarily off-ball, while Rondo had the ball in his hands the majority of the time. Just because Rondo was a point guard in no way makes him a better passer than Bird. I mean, how often do you see these types of passes from a forward?
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