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Irish Coffee: Should Rajon Rondo rest his feet?

11.09.10 at 11:13 am ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Although Rajon Rondo continues to downplay his “minor” case of plantar fasciitis, HoopsWorld had an interesting breakdown of Rondo’s numbers since the issue arose following the Celtics‘ overtime victory against the Bucks.

I’m not sure I buy the fact that his assist numbers have decreased since that game as a valid argument for its effect. It’s a little much to expect Rondo was going to keep up his 16.8 assist-per-game average, considering that would obliterate John Stockton‘s all-time NBA record of 14.5 dimes per contest.

Still, after watching Rondo’s apparent success through eight games, HoopsWorld’s analysis of his non-assist numbers is surprising …

It should be noted Rondo’s free-throw shooting percentage — 50.0 percent – is the lowest of his career, and his field-goal shooting, also at 50.0 percent, is the lowest percentage since the 2007-08 season. His Win Shares of 1.1 have drastically dropped from last season’s 9.6. In addition, his turnovers per game at 4.0 are his highest level ever.

That may say more about the “win share” statistic than it does about Rondo’s game, considering he’s clearly been the best player on the floor for the Celtics this season. Although, the turnovers are certainly a concern.

As HoopsWorld notes, Rondo ranks first in assists (at 118, by a whopping 52 over Andre Miller) and assists per game (14.8), while sitting at second in steals (27) and steals per game (3.1).

But only two NBA players have committed more turnovers this season and only seven have committed more per game than Rondo. The Celtics point guard ranks 41st in the league in steals-to-turnovers (0.8), behind guys like Chris Paul, Mike Conley, Jrue Holiday and Jason Kidd. And Rondo ranks ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.7) — again behind Paul and Kidd, as well as Charlotte’s DJ Augustin.

The turnover problem can be chalked up to either carelessness or (too much) creativity rather than the plantar fasciitis, but if a heel injury was going to affect any part of someone’s game, wouldn’t it be his shooting? Considering the lift from the legs necessary to get off a shot, it makes sense.

After the preseason, when he hit 50 percent of his shots from 10 feet or farther, it appeared as though Rondo had improved his shot-making and the confidence in his shot-making ability (a little bit of a chicken-and-egg argument there), as Celtics Hub noted in a fantastic breakdown of his jumper.

Through the first five games of the regular season, Rondo was 9-of-20 from 10 feet or further (and 50 percent from 3-point range). Since that Bucks game, when the plantar fasciitis really flared, Rondo is just 4-of-14 from beyond 10 feet (28.6 percent), including Monday night’s failed game-winning 3-pointer.

The Boston Globe and SLAM Magazine theorized that Rondo’s attempt in the waning seconds was a positive sign that he’s gained confidence in his jumper. But isn’t there a chance that the missed attempt — whether it was affected by the plantar fasciitis or not — could hurt that confidence going forward?

And, in turn, could Rondo’s teammates (i.e., Paul Pierce and Ray Allen) lose confidence in his shot-making ability during those big moments? Time will tell, as similar situations are going to arise as teams will mirror Dallas’ late-game strategy until Rondo proves he can make them pay.

ALREADY RESTING FOR THE PLAYOFFS

As Dennis & Callahan discussed, in the wake of Jermaine O’Neal missing the second half of Monday night’s loss to the Mavericks because of soreness in his left knee, Rondo mentioned to The Globe that the Celtics should be more concerned about health down the road than contributions in the regular season right now …

“I told him if you’€™re not feeling great, just go ahead and sit it down. Health is the most important thing. I don’€™t want JO or any of our players out there trying to be a hero and tough it out. It’€™s about the stretch and the end of the season. So if he needs to take a couple days off and get some rest, so be it.”

Following up on that HoopsWorld article, considering that rest appears to be the best treatment for plantar fasciitis, it’s interesting to note that Rondo doesn’t have the same sentiments when it comes to his own health …

The obvious question about whether or not he was going to have to sit out games in efforts to get better had to be broached.

“No, I don’t want to,” he replied.

Perhaps Rondo should listen to his own advice. After all, if indeed a few days rest can make him healthier in the long run, shouldn’t the Celtics consider sitting him once Delonte West returns from suspension?

NBA VERSION OF DUMB CRIMINALS

I’ve always loved dumb crime stories. Years ago, in the Wellesley Townsman, I remember two separate items in the crime log: 1) a man had stolen an entire ham from a local butcher; and 2) police had picked up a man walking down the street with an entire ham shoved down his pants. Yet, nobody had put the two together.

Well, the police work was a little better in Charlotte, N.C. During a Bobcats game, a Brooklyn man wanted for murder “waltzed past a JumboTron camera … in the same gaudy bling he wore when he allegedly pulled the trigger,” according to the New York Daily News.

Then, the genius showed up at another Bobcats game just days later. He was of course welcomed by North Carolina police and the FBI.

A KEVIN GARNETT RIP JOB

 Count Mike Fisher of FOX Sports Southwest and DallasBasketball.com among those who don’t buy what Kevin Garnett sold in his press release following the Charlie Villanueva Twitter incident …

Garnett – having his PR people type up this statement while they attempted to keep a straight face – claims that what he told Villanueva while in the heat of Celtics-Bucks battle was that Charlie V is ‘€œcancerous to your team and our league.’€

That is completely credible to any NBA fan who is: 
a) Unfamiliar with Garnett’€™s especially twisted habit of bullying opponents who don’€™t fight back
b) Under the impression that Kevin Garnett talks like a robot.

ARE THE LAKERS AIMING FOR 72 WINS?

Most of the preseason talk surrounded whether or not the Miami Heat could win 72 games this season. Well, after their 4-2 start, there aren’t too many people left on that bandwagon. 

However, after the Lakers’ 7-0 start, some hopped on the L.A. train. Obviously, most people agree no team — especially one as veteran as the Lakers — should aim for such a goal in lieu of staying healthy for the playoffs.

My favorite take, though, comes from The Los Angeles Times’ Mark Medina

For the same reasons the 2008-09 Lakers and 2009-10 Lakers didn’t surpass the mark are the same reasons the Lakers shouldn’t pursue.

Oh, OK, so the the Lakers are the only ones that have kept themselves from winning more than 72 games in each of the last two seasons? Good one.

Medina’s colleague, Mark Heisler, has a more realistic take on why the Lakers won’t even attempt at the 72-win NBA record …

Since Lakers fans deserve an update on their team’s chances – now far better than Miami’s since they only have to finish 65-10 – here it is: 0 percent.

Here’s my methodology: I take the hype from their 21-3 and 23-4 starts the last two seasons and note their win total at the end, 65 and 57, respectively. Then I multiply by coach Phil Jackson‘s inclination to push them – zero – and come up with zero!

Not even Jackson, who coached the record-setting 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, would admit there’s a comparison between that team and this year’s Lakers …

“Not the same defense,” Jackson told Heisler. “Unfortunately, we have a lot of offensive prowess. The defense isn’t quite the same.”

Well, I’m glad that’s settled. Let’s drop the 72-win talk for any and all teams.

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’€™s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

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