How Rajon Rondo‘s Return Impacts the Boston Celtics Fantasy Wise
The return of Rajon Rondo cannot be understated. The Boston Celtics have been hurting for a true point guard all season. I know you may be thinking, “but didn’t Jordan Crawford play well in his absence?” Well yes, Crawford played okay but the team clearly needs a true point guard. A true, dominant, excellent passing point guard (as evident by the team’s 13-26 record). From a fantasy perspective, Rondo’s return helps improve almost everyone on the Celtics outlook. Almost everyone.
Just like every injury in the NBA, one player’s return means another players slash in minutes. For the Celtics, there looks like there are two prime candidates: Avery Bradley and the aforementioned Jordan Crawford. Both have averaged over 30 minutes a game so far this season. In tune, they have become the Celtics second (Bradley) and third leading scorers. Rondo admits that his return to the lineup may be a slow and steady process. “I’m not coming back playing 38 minutes a night. I will have an impact on the game, but not like I used to have when I first come back.” For that reason, I think Bradley and Crawford are reasonably safe for the near future, say, the next week to two weeks. After that, one of them will have to lose playing time. For my money, that player will be Jordan Crawford. As a starter this season, Crawford has averaged 14.2 PPG on 40.5% shooting but has averaged 56.5% shooting with 9.8 points off the bench. Not to mention, Crawford has been horribly struggling with his shot recently. From December 10th to January 13th, Crawford shot just 36.1 percent and 22.7 from beyond the arc. Whatever mojo he mustered up in the beginning of the season is fading. Honestly though, it’s not so much that I think Jordan Crawford isn’t a solid player, it’s more that I’m a believer in Avery Bradley. Bradley is a much better fit for the team with Rajon Rondo on the court. The fact that they are both plus defenders will help one another on the defensive court. Offensively, Bradley is quietly one of the best spot-up shooters in the game. Bradley averages 1.32 points per possession on spot-up shots which is 10th in the NBA. When he’s forced to create his own scoring chances, he only averages 0.74 points per possession which is 74th in the NBA. Compared to Crawford, Avery Bradley is a sharp shooter. Bradley’s 45.5% FG is over 40 points higher than Crawford’s 41.3% overall for the season. If there’s one thing I’ve learned recently in the NBA, it’s that getting rid of low percentage shooters can significantly improve a team (see Toronto Raptors). With Rondo’s passing ability setting Bradley up for open shots, the match seems much more compatible than the alternative. Crawford needs the ball in his hands too much to play well with Rondo so he’d be better suited off the bench. If I owned Crawford, I would trade and trade him for any player inside the top 100-110. I don’t think he will be worth more than that going forward.
As for the outlooks of the other guys on the team, pretty much all of them get the same assessment from me: time for an upgrade. The great thing about great point guards is they make their teammates better. Someone like Jared Sullinger, a big man who likes to shoot, will find much more wide open looks with Rajon Rondo driving to the hoop. Jeff Green also looks to be one who will benefit with Rondo back. Green’s career FG% is 44.8%, yet he is shooting 43.8% this season. For all of his career aside from this year, he has played with an elite point guard. Russell Westbrook ran the point for the Oklahoma City Thunder and Rondo had previously ran it in Boston. Green’s FG% in his first full season with Boston was 46.7%. I would consider that his upside with Rondo in the lineup once again. Floor spacing and guard penetration just can do wonders for shooters and/or players in the post. All of Boston’s big men are about to have a field day at the hands of Rajon Rondo.
So there you have it: how Rajon Rondo’s return impacts the Boston Celtics fantasy wise. In a nutshell, blue skies ahead for the big men and situations get cloudier for the guards not named Avery Bradley. In reality, the Celtics are about to become a much better team because they get their franchise player back. I saw a tweet today that showed the crazy amount of picks the Boston Celtics hold in the upcoming seasons. They’re a team on the up and up. The backbone to their ascent returns Friday.
Update: Jordan Crawford was traded yesterday in a three-team deal that landed the Boston Celtics Joel Anthony. Avery Bradley, Jerryd Bayless and Phil Pressey were the guards left in the rotation for tonight’s game. Obviously this means the Celtics are committing to Bradley as their starting shooting guard going forward. Bayless will now become the first guard off the bench with Pressey taking over as PG3.
Let me how you feel about the return of Rajon Rondo by commenting on this article or hitting me up on twitter.
Author: Ricky Sanders, @RSandersFR