Article: Why Rajon Rondo should not be Called a Stat-Padder
Rajon Rondo has been known to “steal” rebounds, or make an extra pass when he could have easily scored the ball himself. Many people try to use that as an advantage in a debate to call Rondo a stat-padder (SP). A SP is someone who plays the game of basketball worrying about their stats. It is a player who does something not for the better of their respected teams, but for personal gain. People have used the saying similar to this: “I’ve seen Rondo rip the ball right out of Ray Allen’s hands when Ray was like right about to catch it”. By saying that, they are calling Rajon Rondo a SP.
Background knowledge on the importance of point-guard Rebounding:
People undermined the importance of a point guard’s ability to rebound. The benefits of a point guard getting the ball from a rebound result in a quicker fast-break. A quicker fast-break can cause an easy two points if a shooting guard or small forward can run the break with the point guard. If a big man gets the rebound then he first must secure the ball and let the defense get back so the ball does not get poked out of his hands. If he tries to dribble up the court, then defenses will have no problem stripping the ball from him. The correct thing to do with a big man is to wait, and if they double then pass to your point guard. If the point guard gets the rebound, then you can immediately go into the fast-break.
Rondo pads his rebounding stat by taking rebounds away from his teammates:
The excuse for Rondo is that he isn’t a good rebounder because he takes the rebound away from his teammates. I won’t disagree on Rondo taking the ball from his teammates, but it doesn’t happen often. The reason behind a stat-padder is that they want to get the rebound so they look better. That is not the reason Rondo goes so hard for rebounds. He gets those rebounds to start the break and get two easy points for his team. The Celtics play a team game, and you need to sacrifice to win. Rondo’s teammates understand Rondo is faster, and if he gets the rebound then it is better for the whole team. When Avery Bradley became relevant Rondo “stealing” rebounds became much more common. Why? Because he had someone to run the fast-break with. Even though Rondo may take a rebound here and there to benefit the team as a whole, he is still a great rebounder and should be acknowledged as such.
Rondo passes the ball when he should just shoot it, he is trying to pad his assist stat:
This is another excuse people use to try to debunk “Rondo is the best passer” statement. People have said Rondo does extra passes purely so his assist total racks up. A scenario where someone would say this could be applied when Rondo beats his man on a drive to the paint and a big man slides over but it looks like Rondo could have a layup but instead he chooses to do a flip pass to Brandon Bass 6-8 feet out who hits the shot. You can look at this and say, “Wow, Rondo should have just scored, he clearly just wants more assists. That stat-padder!”. This is not true. Rondo was being smart by opting to pass rather than score. There is many benefits for passing in that situation. The biggest one is that Brandon Bass could now have some confidence and could hit a more difficult shot later on in the game. This confidence strings into KG blocking shots after the whistle. Every once in a time-out call, someone will take a practice shot before heading to the bench. Kevin Garnett ten times out of ten will jump up and block the shot. But, why? I’ll let Rajon Rondo explain, “I think as a shooter, if you see the ball go in, then you can get rhythm”. So if you apply that to Rondo passing the ball to Brandon Bass for a practice jumper, where he will most likely make, then it can give him rhythm and can start a spark.
Rondo always gambles for steals, all he cares about is leading in steals again:
Another fine excuse as to why Rondo stat-pads. Rondo does indeed reach for steals. To be fair, Rajon Rondo gets about half the gambles he takes. He has very fast hands, and is a great stealer. The mindset as to if Fondo stat-pads his steals stat or not is his mindset, but lets look at a few things. It takes more energy to play defense, then it does to play offense. On offense you are giving the ability to stop moving, but on defense you must be playing 100% of the time. Defense will tire you out quicker especially if you are an older team. If Rondo can get a steal early in the shot clock and only play defense for 4-5 seconds then the Celtics veterans will have an easier game. It may seem little that he is only saving about 20 seconds, but think about how many possessions there is in a game. I’m not saying Rondo gets 20 steals a game, but him gambling can result in a steal by a teammate. The Celtics, along with all the other teammates play help defense. If Rondo misses a steal attempt and his opponent gets by him, one of Rondo’s teammates will step up till Rondo is back in front of his man which does not take long for the quick and speedy Rondo. In short, Rondo stealing is worth it for the Celtics team to keep the older players fresh.