Every time I looked for a Rajon Rondo statistic for this post, I seemed to come across another one that boggled my mind. The assist numbers that he put up in the first few games of the year were outrageous. Now if he doesn’t dish out at least 10 of them on any given night, it’s like we wonder if something’s wrong.
For instance, the Celtics have just four losses and are tied for the best record in the East. In three of those four game — granted, in one of them he didn’t play — he’s had fewer than 10 assists. Rondo’s only been held to single digits twice this season.
He’s on a pace to put himself with names like John Stockton, Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson. Stockton averaged 14.5 assists a game in 1989. Only the aforementioned names and Kevin Porter in 1978 have averaged more than 13 per game. Rondo? Well, it’s still early, but he’s backed these numbers up and a league-leading 13.8 a game.
Rajon Rondo joined Dale & Holley on WEEI in Boston to discuss his excitement level to start the season, Kevin Garnett saying that the Celtic’s are Rondo’s team, Doc Rivers saying he is the smartest player he’s ever coached, why his assist numbers are through the roof, Shaq’s effect on the Celtics and why he’s never been in awe of playing with the league’s superstars.
On being excited from the opening tipoff this season:
“I was anxious to play, ready to get back in there. I want to take advantage of the opportunity I have now to play with such great teammates, more than a couple future Hall of Famers. I was just really excited about the opportunity that I have in front of me, just to take advantage of it and win another championship.”
On Kevin Garnett saying the Celtics are now Rajon Rondo’s team:
“That’s a lot of pressure. … I don’t really consider it pressure, I just go out there and play every night. Those guys have my back, just like last night. It’s not going to be perfect every time. … It’s a team effort. I think that’s one of the great things about us. Every night you can’t really say it’s going to be one guy that beats you. … We’re very deep. As far as the last couple years, this is the best bench we’ve had.”
On Boston coach Doc Rivers saying he’s the smartest player he’s ever coached:
“It’s definitely an honor, but we’ve had our times where I thought something was right and he vice versa, he thought different. But we worked together and grow as player-coach and I think we have a special relationship. I’ve been in the system for five years. I know plays before he’s gonna call them. That can be a good and a bad thing, but I love playing for Doc.”
On why his assist numbers are so high:
“It’s just chemistry. I’ve been playing with The Big Three for four years now. I know exactly where they want the ball, I know when they’re going to shoot. And then just coming along with Shaq, he’s definitely shooting a high percentage from the field, so just get the ball into him and anywhere near the rim he can go and get it. Obviously the team is making shots. I wouldn’t have the assists if those guys didn’t make shots, but it’s a little bit of knowing the system, knowing where we’re going to get our shots from and continuing to make them.”
On Shaq’s effect on the team:
“I think a good effect. He’s great, he’s a positive player, he’s always trying to get better. One thing I’ve noticed about Shaq is, at halftime, he’s always asking … what can he do better or how can he be more efficient. For a guy that’s scored 20,000 points, a future Hall of Famer, it’s crazy to see that those guys continue to want to get better.”
On not watching basketball when he was growing up:
“I don’t even remember Shaq playing. They joke with me all the time about it. I don’t remember Kevin playing in those Minnesota days, Ray I guess Seattle or whatever. … This is all kind of new to me. They get on me about it because I didn’t watch the game growing up.”
On what he was watching:
“Brett Favre, football, football players. I thought I was going NFL at first. I didn’t think basketball.”
On that maybe having a good effect considering he doesn’t feel in awe of superstars:
“I know a lot of these young players that I talk to, they watched KG film and grew up admiring or idolizing those guys. You can get caught up in it I guess. For me, I know the history and I know what they’ve done in this league … but I don’t get caught up in playing with Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce.”