Over the summer, Rajon Rondo declared himself the best point guard in the NBA, and Celtics president Danny Ainge, whose faith in Rondo as the future of the franchise has seemingly been as inconsistent as the 26-year-old's play on the court through his first six seasons, didn't entirely disagree.
"The way he played in the playoffs I thought was pretty incredible," Ainge said from a Shamrock Foundation charitable golf event at The International in Bolton. "He proved that he's the best player on the team, and he's a guy who has earned the respect of his teammates and coaches. I think that's a big step. We're excited for him this year. He's worked really hard this summer as well."
Rondo averaged 17.3 point, 11.9 assists, 6.7 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game during the C's run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals last season. That performance and Rondo's ability to raise his game in nationally televised showcases has led to questions about the point guard's consistency during the regular season, where he averaged 11.9 points, 11.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals last year.
"He's gotten better and better, obviously," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "Now he's one of the better point guards in the league. I think what he wants to be is more consistent all the time -- just a guy that is a dominant player every night. I think that's his next big step."
After an eventful summer that included travel to Asia as a Red Bull spokesman, Rondo recently helped organize a teamwide workout in Los Angeles in order to get to work and build team chemistry.
"Rondo's been great," added Ainge. "He's maturing all the time and showing great leadership skills. He looks wonderful physically, too, and as soon as he steps in the gym with all the young guys you can just see the difference, and the guys really respect him."
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