Rondo: The near-misses

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Rondo: The near-misses

I'm going to have something a little bigger on the Rondo situation tomorrow. You know, just to change things up a bit. In the meantime, here's another little diversion from the Rondo talk with a little something about Rondo.

As we speak, Rondo is the NBA leader in total assists, with 420. However, it's only a matter of time before he loses this title. The way it looks now, Greivis Vasquez will have surpassed him by next week, and by the end of the year, Rondo's name won't be visible on the list of top NBA assisters. (Rasheed Wallace approved.)

On the other hand, I'm willing bet he finishes the year as the NBA's leader in triple doubles.

To that, a lot of people will say: "BLSRHF! Who cares? They were 2-3 when Rondo tripled doubled this year. It's meaningless!"

But that's not true. They aren't meaningless. Because triple doubles are awesome. Are they more important than winning? Of course not. But they're still great.

Seriously, how many stat lines are cool enough to get name dropped in raps?

Perfect game? No hitter?

Anything else?

I'm talking single game stat lines. Not season.

Maybe "straight sets"? I'm almost positive that I've heard Jay-Z rap about beating someone in straight sets, but Google isn't backing me up.

Anyway, the world loves triple doubles, and Rondo currently leads the NBA with five. That's well ahead of LeBron, Nicholas Batum and Jose Calderon, who are tied for second with two.

Of course, there's always the chance that LeBron goes off and ends up with, like, 10. But the safe bet is that Rondo finishes on top. This would be the second straight year he leads the league in this category. This, after finishing second to LeBron in the two previous seasons.

And how about this: Over the last three years, Rondo has 14 triple doubles. Nobody else has more than six. The next three guys on the list (LeBron, Iguodala, Westbrook) have combined for only 13.

For his career, Rondo has 18 triple doubles. That ties him with Kobe four fourth place on the active list behind Jason Kidd, LeBron and Grant Hill.

Maybe the craziness thing of all?

Rondo missed an additional three triple doubles by ONE rebound this season.

That means he was three random rebounds away from having eight triple doubles in 38 games!

And OK, that's enough. Let's not go down that road. After all, three of the five triple doubles he did get featured exactly 10 rebounds, so you could also say that he was three random rebounds from having two. Bottom line: He finished with five. That's still amazing.

And certainly something we're all going to miss over the course of this Rondoless season.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

The '86 Celtics Interviews podcast (Ep.8): Dan Shaughnessy

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The '86 Celtics Interviews podcast (Ep.8): Dan Shaughnessy

Boston Globe columnist, and former Celtics beat writer, Dan Shaughnessy sits down with CSN for an extended discussion on "The '86 Celtics Interviews" podcast. Shaughnessy talks about the greatness of that team and the players' surprising reaction when they found out he was moving from the Celtics to the Red Sox beat.

Starter, bench or DNP: Zeller ready for any role with Celtics

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Starter, bench or DNP: Zeller ready for any role with Celtics

Every weekday until Sept. 7, we'll take a look at each player at the Celtics roster: Their strengths and their weaknesses, their ceiling and their floor. We continue today with Tyler Zeller. For a look at the other profiles, click here.

BOSTON – The NBA is a league full of highs and lows for players.

There are few who understand this as well as Tyler Zeller, a player who has gone from starting to being a backup to not playing at all – at times in the same week.

And through it all, you never heard him gripe about it publicly or privately to teammates.

It’s among the many reasons you constantly hear his teammates talk about how much they respect the way he has handled some extremely difficult situations.

This past season was especially tough for him considering he was heading into free agency and looking to do all he could to not just win, but showcase what he could do as player.

There were many nights when Zeller didn’t have that opportunity, but he understood.

The Celtics have been and will continue to be a team that’s about finding ways to win and on many nights coach Brad Stevens decided to go in a direction that didn’t include Zeller playing.

As the summer dragged on and the Celtics’ joined the handful of teams that came up short in landing Kevin Durant, Zeller’s return became more likely.

And Zeller’s patience was rewarded with a two-year, $16 million contract with the second year of the deal being a team option.

Now that he’s back in the fold, what’s next?

The ceiling for Zeller: Part-time starter

It may not happen on opening night and it may not happen in the first week, or even first month, of the season.

But at some point, Tyler Zeller will be in the Celtics’ starting lineup.

And when he’s there, he’ll do a lot of good things that he has proven he’s capable of doing.

When it comes to running the floor in transition, Zeller has distinguished himself as one of the Celtics best big men.

The Celtics are big on playing with space and pace and there are few 7-footers who can run the floor as well as Zeller.

In fact, his PACE (number of possessions per 48 minutes) last season was 101.93 which was tops among all Celtics frontcourt players and second overall to guard Marcus Smart (102.46).

It’ll get the Celtics a few easy buckets here and there, but it won’t score enough points with the coaching staff to keep a starting job, which would then relegate him back to being one of the team’s frontcourt reserves.

Still, Zeller is a luxury that few teams have: a player who won’t get (overly) bent out of shape even if his minutes resemble this.

The floor for Zeller: On the roster

Zeller has spent the bulk of his NBA career as a back-to-the-basket center, but showed more desire to score more from the perimeter last season, which is one of the reasons why he shot a career-low 47.6 percent from the field.

He’s trying to expand his game because of the direction that the NBA is going with big men who need to be able to score further away from the basket in addition to providing a presence around the rim.

While Zeller has decent mechanics on his perimeter shot, it’s clear that he’s not yet totally comfortable being a “stretch big.”

According to NBA.com/stats, Zeller shot 30.9 percent from the field last season on wide open shot attempts from at least 10 feet away.

With the addition of Al Horford and the return of Amir Johnson as well as Kelly Olynyk, Boston has a nice group of stretch centers they can put on the floor. And let’s not forget about Jonas Jerebko, who closed out the playoffs as a starter for Boston.

Minutes will once again be hard to come by for Zeller with any kind of consistency.

In fact, there’s a very good chance that he will have some games in which he doesn’t play (coaches decision) at all.

And depending on injuries, he may have to be inactive at times just to ensure Boston has depth on the perimeter.

Whether he’s starting, coming off the bench or not suited up at all, Zeller is an important part of this Celtics squad. Above all else, he provides depth, which continues to be one of the hallmarks for this franchise under Stevens.