In the Bonus: Rondo working his way back

In the Bonus: Rondo working his way back
January 28, 2014, 2:30 pm
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At his best, Rajon Rondo is an ankle-breaking blur going to the basket that can make the best defenders look downright foolish with his ball fakes and fancy schmancy dribbling.

But his return to the court is now five games old, and he has a ways to go before he's that player again.

One of the clearest indicators of this is his shot selection. Last season, 10.8 percent of Rondo's shots taken were three-pointers. This season, they account for 25 percent of his field goal attempts.

More often than not, Rondo has looked to score off the dribble getting to the rim. So the idea that 57.8 percent of his shots taken last season were in the paint is not a shock.

But that was then. This year? Shots in the paint account for just 43.8 percent of his shots taken.

Keeping in mind that this is a relatively small sample to draw from, it nonetheless speaks to how Rondo is either more reluctant to attack off the dribble and get into the paint, or physically incapable of doing so right now as much as he used to.

Rondo maintains that he's feeling fine, but adds, "there will be some good days and there will be some bad."

As he works his way towards returning to pre-injury form, there are likely to be more bad days for both him and the Celtics than good ones. The numbers certainly bear this out thus far.

Boston is shooting 40.3 percent from the field with Rondo, and 44.1 percent without him. Scoring is down to 88.6 points with him, compared to 95.4 without.

However, the one improvement since his return that comes as a shock to no one is the team's assist numbers, which are up to 21.6 with him compared to 19.5 without.

Even though Rondo and the Celtics have been challenged in re-integrating him into the lineup, all remain confident that things will start to turn around sooner rather than later.

"He's slowly getting back to himself," said Boston's Jared Sullinger. "Every game he gets better and better. It's only a matter of time until we see the Rondo that we all adore and love."