29 points, 18 rebounds, 13 assists
It’s a stat line that would make Magic Johnson jealous. Rajon Rondo has officially become “the man” on the Boston Celtics, a team that starts 3 Hall of Famers. He is already a Top 5 NBA point guard, and with Steve Nash and Jason Kidd on the tail end of their careers, Rondo has a legit shot at being the best point guard in the league. And while Deron Williams and Chris Paul have what I would call “prototypical” point guard games, Rondo has a unique style of play that only Nash can match.
But, for those of us who watched him play at Kentucky, we have very mixed feelings about Rondo. Rondo never really lived up the hype in Lexington that he came to UK with, as a 5-star instant impact player out of Oak Hill. Don’t get me wrong, Rondo had his moments of stardom at UK, hitting several big shots, and becoming the season record holder in steals. But, as UK fans tend to do, when Rondo was in Lexington, fans generally were unhappy with his play because he would go looooonnnnngggggg stretches with no impact on the game. And as much as we would love to hold Rondo up on a pedestal as a UK great, let’s remember that he was nowhere near a fan favorite when he was here.
The reason I bring this up is that Rondo is going to be the first player that I can remember who had a average UK career but a fantastic (theoretically) pro career. And it brings up the question: where do we, as UK fans, put Rondo in our pantheon of great players. Matt made a great point in his morning post about Rondo possibly becoming the greatest PRO player to ever come out of Kentucky. And personally, that’s where I think he should end up. But many people will lump Rondo’s pro career into his college career and call for a retired jersey. I think this is preposterous.
Let me put it in another way (as Colin Cowherd does 400 times on his show a day): If we consider my “career” here at KSR, I would consider it less than stellar, and I have a gut feeling you would agree. But, if in my later years, I suddenly learned to spell and form proper sentences, and became a world renowned author, I don’t think that suddenly props my KSR career up. It’s not like suddenly my posts that I wrote here was top quality. That’s how I see Rondo, his play at UK was average, his play in the NBA has become spectacular, and the two are seperate.
Rondo’s Career UK Stats
9.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.1 apg, 2.2 spg, 28.3% 3P
Since I know this will get started in the comments section: TUBBY WAS NOT FULLY TO BLAME FOR RONDO’S PLAY AT KENTUCKY. Did Tubby’s system emphasize a more half court game than full court? Yes, there is no doubt. And Tubby should have upped the pace some when Rondo was at UK. BUT BUT BUT, instead of working on his jump shot, if I remember correctly, Rondo basically sulked about the pace of play. It was the main reason he appeared uninterested at times in Lexington, and his relationship with the fans suffered. Nonetheless, I would say the blame was 50-50 between Tubby and Rondo.
But, the point of this rant was the ask what you think: Should Rondo, when its all said and done, be considered an all-time great UK player? I say no because I don’t put the pro career on top of the college career. But I am kinda interested what UK fans think. Has all the tension during Rondo’s college career now subsided due to his success in the pros?