Looking back at Rondo's season checklist


Looking back at Rondo's season checklist

BOSTON -- During training camp, Rajon Rondo listed out his personal to-do's for the 2012-13 season. At the time he had no way of knowing it would be cut short in January.

I want to take care of my turnovers, he said following the Celtics first practice of the season. I want to get more looks at the basket. I want to be more aggressive to the rim. I want to get to the line, obviously, maybe seven, eight times a game, realistically.

Rondo's season officially ended on Sunday when an MRI revealed a torn right ACL that will require surgery. The point guard, who was voted as a starter in next month's NBA All-Star game, played in 38 games this season, averaging 13.7 points, 11.1 assists, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.8 steals. He recorded 20 double-doubles and five triple-doubles.

With his season ending on January 27, see how Rondo fared on his checklist:

Goal 1: Limit turnovers

2012-13: 3.9 TO
2011-12: 3.6 TO
2010-11: 3.4 TO

Tied for highest turnover average in the league with Jrue Holiday and James Harden.

Goal 2: Get more looks at the basket (field goal attempts)

2012-13: 12.2 FGA
2011-12: 10.8 FGA
2010-11: 9.9 FGA

Tied for second with Kevin Garnett for most field goals attempted on the Celtics this season. Paul Pierce is first with 15.0 FGA.

Goal 3: Get to the line 7-8 times a game

2012-13: 2.4 FTA
2011-12: 3.4 FTA
2010-11: 1.9 FTA

Rondo attempted 93 free throws, fourth on the Celtics behind Pierce (242), Garnett (146), and Jeff Green (112).

Rondo's season ended with him atop the leader board in assists per game. He also led the entire league in triple-doubles.

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

BOSTON –  Terry Rozier was having a rough stretch where his minutes were limited and when he did play, he didn’t play particularly well.
Among the voices in his ear offering words of encouragement was Avery Bradley who knows all too well what Rozier was going through.
For all his time as a Celtic, Bradley has let his work on the floor do the talking for him.
But as the most tenured Celtic on the roster, his leadership has to be about more than just getting the job done, but servicing as a vocal leader as well.
For a player whose growth from one year to the next has been a constant, being a more vocal leader has been the one dynamic of his game that has improved the most during this past season.
And it is that kind of leadership that will carry into the summer what is a pivotal offseason for both Bradley and this Celtics franchise which was eliminated by Cleveland in the Conference finals, the first time the Celtics got that deep in the playoffs since 2012.
He is entering the final year of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2014. And it comes at a time when his fellow Tacoma, Wash. native and backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas will likely hit free agency where he’s expected to command a max or near-max contract that would pay him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $30 million.
At this point in time, Bradley isn’t giving too much thought to his impending contract status.
Instead, he’s more consumed by finding ways to improve his overall game and in doing so, help guide the Celtics to what has to be their focus for next season – a trip to the NBA Finals.
While Celtics players have said their focus has always been on advancing as far into the playoffs as possible, it wasn’t until this past season did they actually provide hope and promise that Banner 18 may be closer than you think.
It was an emotional time for the Celtics, dealing with the unexpected death of Chyna Thomas, the younger sister of Isaiah Thomas, just hours before Boston’s first playoff game this season.
And then there were injuries such as Thomas’ right hip strain that ended his postseason by halftime of Boston’s Eastern Conference finals matchup with Cleveland.
But through that pain, we saw the emergence of Bradley in a light we have seldom seen him in as a Celtic.
We have seen him play well in the past, but it wasn’t until Thomas’ injury did we see Bradley showcase even more elements of his game that had been overlooked.
One of the constant knocks on Bradley has been his ball-handling.
And yet there were a number of occasions following Thomas’ playoff-ending injury, where Bradley attacked defenders off the dribble and finished with lay-ups and an occasional dunk in transition.
Among players who appeared in at least 12 playoff games this year, only Washington’s John Wall (7.9), Cleveland’s LeBron James (6.8) and Golden State’s Stephen Curry (5.2) averaged more points in transition than Bradley (4.7).
Bradley recognized the team needed him to be more assertive, do things that forced him to be more front-and-center which is part of his evolution in Boston as a leader on this team.
“It’s weird but players like Al (Horford) definitely helped me get out of my shell and pushed me this year to be more of a vocal leader,” Bradley said.
And that talent combined with Bradley doing what he does every offseason – come back significantly better in some facet of his game – speaks to how he’s steadily growing into being a leader whose actions as well as his words are impactful.