Rajon Rondo: Passer extraordinaire, Scorer average

Rajon Rondo has had many labels heaped upon him throughout his career. Phrases like "great passer", "tough competitor", and "lockdown defender" flowed freely. The phrase "good scorer" has probably never been said about Rondo, and rightfully so. For the majority of his career, Rondo has been downright atrocious as a scorer. There is no way around it, he was one of the worst in the league. But this season Rondo seems to have taken the step to becoming an average scorer, and laugh if you will, but that is a huge positive for Rajon Rondo.

The great scorers can score with high efficiency on a large volume. These are your Lebrons and Durants. Rondo will never get to this level. But the average scorer, your Wesley Mathews and Jarret Jacks, hover around league-average efficiency on league-average volume. Rondo, since his rookie season, has hovered around league-average volume for the majority of his career. What never worked was the efficiency, which never even came very close to even matching league-average, due to his atrocious shooting. A rejuvenated Rondo has made himself into a different player this year, and it has been a very interesting sight.

Rondo, for the first time in his career, has actually matched and slightly surpassed league-average efficiency. Currently, the average TS% in the league is 53%. Rajon Rondo is sitting at a decent 54%. Now a +1 differential may seem laughable, but in a game where every possession counts, even the slightest efficiency gap is notable. But what has made Rondo so much more efficient than past years?

Rondo has always had one consistent weapon in his offensive arsenal: the layup. Rondo has, for the most part, consistently been an elite finisher at the rim. He usually hovers around the low 60%s, but this year his finishing percentage has shot up to 67.6% on 4.4 attempts. Now 67.6% seems unsustainable over an entire season for a skinny point guard like Rajon, but if I had to put money on it, I would bet on Rondo.

One of the main weapons Rondo utilized in the past was his floater. In fact he was so good, he gained a reputation. But in recent years, the effectiveness of his floater had really fallen off. In fact, he went from hitting 50% of his shots from 3-9 feet in 2010, but hovered around 27% in 2011 and 2012. So far this season, he has been hitting his shots from 3-9 at around a good 43%. Regaining this shot has been key to his new found efficiency.

Now on to the main course: Rajon's new mid-range jumper. A point of emphasis by Celtics fans everywhere, Rondo has responded to their hopes and dreams quite well. At the moment, he is shooting an astounding 54% from 16-23 feet. Now unless he suddenly turned into a Larry Bird-Steve Nash hybrid over the summer, this is unsustainable, but his improved jumper has really opened up the rest of his game. With more pressure on him and less on his teammates, he has been able to find his teammates even more effectively than usual.

Now Rondo keeping up his current production as an average scorer is still very much in question. It has only been 20 games into the season for him, and he is shooting unsustainable percentages from mid-range and at the rim. His FT and 3-point shooting are still terrible, so he will get no help from those areas. Rondo's efficiency is something that all Celtics fans should keep an eye on over the season, as he continues his quest into average-scorer territory.

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