Boston Celtics

Rondos personal checklist of improvements

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Rondos personal checklist of improvements

WALTHAM -- With every year that passes, Rajon Rondo continues to improve facets of his game that bolster his rank among point guards -- and all players -- in the NBA. This season, the 26-year-old has a checklist of areas he would like to work on over the next months.

I want to take care of my turnovers, he said after the Boston Celtics first practice of the season on Saturday. 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.

What does Rondo have to do to surpass last seasons performance in those categories? Take a look at how the Celtics floor leader fared and how he compared to others in the league.

Turnovers per Game

Rondos goal: Limit turnovers

2011-12 regular season: 3.6 TPG, 5th among all players

1. Deron Williams (4.0)
2. John Wall (3.9)
3. Kevin Durant (3.8)
4. Steve Nash (3.7)
5. Rajon Rondo (3.6)

2011-12 postseason: 3.8 TPG, 3rd among all players

1. Chris Paul (3.9)
2. Carlos Boozer (3.8)
3. Rajon Rondo (3.8)
4. LeBron James (3.5)
5. Baron Davis (3.3)

Free Throw Attempts per Game

Rondos goal: Attempt seven or eight free throws per game

2011-12 regular season: 3.4 FTA, 64th among all players, 26th among all guards

Top 5 Guards in FTAsRegular Season Game
1. Kobe Bryant (7.8)
2. Russell Westbrook (6.3)
3. Derrick Rose (6.1)
4. John Wall (6.1)
5. Dwyane Wade (6.1)

2011-12 postseason: 2.9 FTA, 49th among all players, 20th among all guards

Top 5 Guards in FTAsPostseason Game
1. Kobe Bryant (7.9)
2. Dwyane Wade (7.2)
3. James Harden (6.3)
4. Tony Parker (6.3)
5. Russell Westbrook (5.6)

NBA adds 'Harden Rule' and 'Zaza Rule' for players' safety

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NBA adds 'Harden Rule' and 'Zaza Rule' for players' safety

NEW YORK - NBA referees will be able to call flagrant or technical fouls on defenders who dangerously close on jump shooters without allowing them space to land, as Zaza Pachulia did on the play that injured Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in last season's playoffs.

Officials will also make sure jump shooters are in their upward shooting motion when determining if a perimeter foul is worthy of free throws, which could cut down on James Harden's attempts after he swings his arms into contact.

The new rules interpretations are being unofficially called the "Harden Rule" and the "Zaza Rule". The Washington Wizards accused the Celtics' Al Horford of a dangerous closeout on Markieff Morris that injured Morris and knocked him out of Game 1 of their playoff series two weeks before the Pachulia-Leonard play.

Leonard sprained his ankle when Pachulia slid his foot under Leonard's in Game 1 of Golden State's victory in the Western Conference finals. After calling a foul, officials will now be able to look at a replay to determine if the defender recklessly positioned his foot in an unnatural way, which could trigger an upgrade to a flagrant, or a technical if there was no contact but an apparent attempt to injure.

"It's 100 percent for the safety of the players," NBA senior vice president of replay and referee operations Joe Borgia said Thursday.

The NBA had made the freedom to land a point of emphasis for officials a few years ago, because of the risk of injuries. 

Officials can still rule the play a common foul if they did not see a dangerous or unnatural attempt by the defender upon review. Borgia said Pachulia's foul would have been deemed a flagrant.

With the fouls on the perimeter shots - often coming when the offensive player has come off a screen and quickly attempts to launch a shot as his defender tries to catch up - officials will focus on the sequencing of the play. The player with the ball must already be in his shooting motion when contact is made, rather than gathering the ball to shoot such as on a drive to the basket.

"We saw it as a major trend in the NBA so we had to almost back up and say, `Well, wait a minute, this is going to be a trend, so let's catch up to it,"' NBA president of league operations Byron Spruell said.