BOLTON, MA Right behind his not-so-great perimeter game, the biggest question surrounding Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo has been whether he's ready to assume a greater leadership role.
He took a major step in that direction this summer in organizing some pick-up games and workouts with his teammates in Los Angeles.
"He's maturing all the time, showing great leadership skills," said Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations. "He looks wonderful physically too. When he steps into the gym, you can see with all the young guys the difference. The guys really respect him."
That respect stems from his play which in recent years has put him on the short list of the game's top point guards.
Earlier this summer, Rondo declared that he was the NBA's best point guard.
"The way he played last year in the playoffs was pretty incredible," Ainge said. "He proved he was the best player on the team, and he's earned the respect of his teammates, coaches. That's a big step. We're really excited for him. He's worked really hard this summer as well.
Added Rivers: "He's gotten better and better obviously and now he's one of the better point guards in the league. What he wants to be is more consistent all the time; just a guy that is a dominate player every night. That's his next big step."