Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Rajon Rondo is going streaking.
The Boston point guard skipped the quad and went straight to the gymnasium, where his generosity has made him the talk of the league. Rondo enters Wednesday's action with 34 straight double-digit assist games, the third- longest streak of its kind in NBA history.
Rondo's quest for 47 straight double-digit assist games (the NBA record is 46 in a row held by Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson) has taken on a life of its own in recent weeks. Even Celtics coach Doc Rivers, not usually one to glorify statistical pursuits like the one Rondo has embarked on, has lent a helping hand.
With Boston down by more than a few Sunday night in Detroit, Rivers kept his ace point guard on the floor with one goal in mind: assist number ten. With 51 seconds left on the clock, he got it. Rondo's dish to Jared Sullinger sealed the deal, giving the Celtics cause for celebration on a night that was otherwise filled with disappointment.
Few will be rooting for Rondo to top Magic, one of the game's all-time greats and a true ambassador of the sport. Where Magic could light up a room with his jubilant personality, Rondo has been labeled as abrasive and hotheaded. His fiery demeanor likely cost the team a shot at keeping Ray Allen, who left to join LeBron's bunch in Miami this offseason amid rumors of his turbulent relationship with Rondo.
But Rondo is no Dwight Howard. He's not asking to be liked. In fact, it seems like he'd prefer it if people just kept piling on the hate. He thrives off of it.
With each 10-assist game, Rondo is bridging the gap between good and great. From a fantasy perspective, he is already a bona fide superstar. Check out some of the numbers he's posted since the streak began March 11 against the Lakers:
- 13.6 apg average - Three games of at least 20 assists - 11 games with 15 or more assists - Two triple-doubles - 20 games with double-digit points - Four games with 20-plus points
As if these staggering achievements weren't enough to impress you, consider that his current 13.1 apg average during the 2012-13 season is the highest in the NBA since John Stockton averaged 13.7 a game during the 1991-92 campaign.
That season marked Stockton's fifth of nine straight assist titles and one wonders if this might be the beginning of a similar streak for Rondo. His season average is more than three assists per game higher than the league's next-best distributor, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers (10 apg).
Assists are the headline but that's far from the whole story when it comes to Rondo's overall fantasy worth. Rondo announced his presence as a scorer during an epic 44-point effort against Miami in last year's Eastern Conference Finals. This year, he's putting up 13.2 ppg, a noticeable improvement from the 11.9 he averaged a year ago and the second-highest scoring average of his seven-year career.
Never the most accurate of three-point shooters, Rondo is shooting a career- best 33.3 percent from that distance in 2012-13. That's nothing to write home about (San Antonio forward Matt Bonner leads the NBA with a 64.3 percent success rate) but it's definitely a step in the right direction. Rondo's career average from beyond the arc is only 24.6 percent. He's on pace to heave up 122 threes this season, 42 more than his previous career-high in attempts set during the 2009-10 season.
Rondo's game isn't without its flaws. He's still a bit turnover-prone (3.6 per game, sixth-highest in the NBA) and his free throw shooting hasn't improved at all (he's the only Celtic shooting below 70 percent from the charity stripe this season). But he's also been an incredibly efficient scorer (career-high 53.2 percent field goal percentage, best among NBA guards) and his rebounding statistics remain well-above average for a player of his short stature (fourth among point guards in rpg).
Rondo can be as giving as Kris Kringle on the offensive side of the basketball but on defense, he can be quite the thief. His 1.9 steals per contest ranks 17th in the NBA. In seven seasons, Rondo has never finished with a spg average lower than 1.6.
Rondo goes for 35-in-a-row Wednesday against San Antonio. Even if Rondo doesn't make it all the way to 47, he's still given fantasy owners an awful lot to be thankful for this season.