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Post by bobheckler on Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:04 am

http://www.celticsblog.com/2014/8/1/5959473/rajon-rondo-cant-shoot-well-actually-he-sorta-can-boston-celtics-rumor-nba



"Rajon Rondo can't shoot?" Well, actually he sorta can
By Kevin O'Connor  @KevinOConnorNBA on Aug 1 2014, 5:39p 114


"Rajon Rondo Can't Shoot?"  Well, Actually He Can... 20140119_jcd_sv7_130.0_standard_783.0
Make or miss? Probably depends on if the shot was off the catch or the dribble. - Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


Evans Clinchy published a well-written article about the possibility of building around a point guard that can't shoot the basketball, but is that player really Rajon Rondo? Let's investigate.


Didn't we already close the book on the narrative that Rajon Rondo can't shoot? Rondo certainly did enter the NBA as an abominable shooter, but he has developed to a stage that defenders have to at least respect his shot. Saying "Rondo can't shoot" is like saying "LeBron will never win a championship." It's an erroneous statement that has been proven wrong time after time.

Over the course of the past five seasons, NBA teams have shot 39.5 percent from mid-range. Rondo comes in at just a hair above at 41.3 percent. He's above average. But looking more closely at the past two seasons, Rondo is at 46.6 percent from mid-range, which is actually quite good.

Defenders almost always go under screens when Rondo is the pick-and-roll ball handler, which leaves him wide open for shots, but the fact he can at least drain the attempts is what counts. Whether a player is open or not is a moot point, because all that really matters is whether the shot is a make or miss. Regardless, Rondo is such a lethal dribbler that he'd get to the basket with ease if defenders chose to go over screens.

Show someone these statistics and they'll say, "but he still can't shoot the three-pointer." Well, this is partially true, and it's really the main topic of conversation that needs to be looked at more closely, in addition to his free throw shooting.

Since 2009, Rondo is shooting 24.6 percent from three, but he is at a clip of 27.1 percent the past two seasons. No matter how you slice it, the numbers don't look good, but they really don't tell the whole story.


Rondo Three-Point Shooting Splits
Year----------Isolation---------------P&R Ball Handler---------------Spot-Up
2009-10------26.9% (7/26)---------30.8% (4/13)------------------32.6% (14/43)
2010-11------18.8% (3/16)---------100% (1/1)--------------------30.8% (4/13)
2011-12------41.7% (5/12)---------27.8% (5/18)------------------12.9% (4/31)
2012-13------0% (0/10)-------------45.5% (5/11)------------------22.7% (5/22)
2013-14------20% (4/20)------------44% (11/25)------------------17.2% (5/29)
Total----------22.6% (19/84)---------38.2% (26/68)---------------23.2% (32/138)


After reviewing the above stats courtesy of mySynergySports, it becomes clear that Rondo has consistently struggled shooting threes out of isolation and spot-up situations, but he is quite good out of the pick-and-roll. These totals suggest that he is efficient when he's open (which he almost always is in the pick-and-roll), but he has difficulties when his shot is contested (isolations) or if it's off the catch (spot-ups).


Considering Rondo's success shooting the three in the screen game, it may be beneficial to utilize this skill more in 2014, especially since he's shooting at 44.4 percent the past two years. It may be a small sample size, but it's not unreasonable to assume he can't replicate this success with more reps, since defenders will still probably play him the same way.

His numbers in isolation shouldn't be too concerning. He might not score with this play type, but when defended one-on-one he's able to create with penetration and kick outs to open teammates. Scoring here, especially shooting the three, is not worth harping on.

But what does need to improve is Rondo's spot-up three-point shooting. Playing in Brad Stevens' motion-offense, it's a major bonus if he can spread the floor by spotting up from beyond the arc. At 17.1 percent the past three campaigns, Rondo has a long way to go before he can even be considered a threat.

Part of the reason for his struggles may be due to the simple fact that most point guards are generally better shooting off the dribble; they've always had the ball in their hands from a young age, so most of their experience came from shooting after dribbling. For them, it's foreign to hover on the perimeter, catch the ball, set their feet, and then shoot.

Considering the fact that Rondo has improved nearly every facet of his game over his eight-year career with the Boston Celtics, it's quite possible that he will add a new dimension to his shooting. He's already a solid shooter from mid-range, and in the pick-and-roll from three, so why can't he add the ability to spot-up?

If Rajon Rondo is working as hard as he has in past summers, maybe he'll come back this season as an improved shooter, but before we get to that point we have to stop and remember that he can shoot well in certain situations.



bob
MY NOTE:  The good news is that PnRs are the #1 play in the NBA by far and Rondo shot 44% from 3 out of PnRs last year.  The bad news, of course, is that he's not good other than that.  One could argue, so what?  I thought Bay Leaves had some very nice games last year, really racked up the points, off of picks that freed him up for elbow jumpers.  As long as it goes in, I'm just fine with 18' jump shots, since they are more likely to go in than 22' jump shots.

With the exception of last year's injury recovery shortened season, in which he was just trying to get strong again, Rondo has come to camp with one less flaw than the previous year.  I not only have no reason to assume this year won't be just like the previous ones, I have perhaps as much as 20 million reasons per year to believe he is going to come back looking very, very good.  Shooting is the easiest of all the skills to teach and learn.




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Post by Sam on Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:37 pm

Bob,

Are you absolutely certain that "shooting is the easiest of all the skills to teach and learn?"  I believe it's not just the mechanics that make for a good shooter.  There's also a "feel" that some people have and some people don't.  And it's problematic as to whether a given player who doesn't have the "feel" will ever develop one."

For instance, while Rondo has tried a variety of techniques from the foul line, he still seems stuck on roughly the same mediocre shooting percentage.  I believe this is because he doesn't have the "feel" whereby the rolling of the ball off the fingers seems like the most natural thing in the world other than a calculated element of mechanics.  "Feel" is also part confidence.  When we say a certain player is "feeling" it, we mean that he's brimming with confidence at least for a certain period of time.  Rondo's stoicism doesn't offer a clue as to how confident or unconfident he is in shooting fouls; but I'm willing to bet that each trip to the line is a chore for him.

Anyway, I believe defense is much easier to teach and learn than shooting because a major part of learning defense involves effort; and it's relatively easy to summon more effort.  In shooting, more effort often involves tighter muscles, which can throw off body mechanics rather than improving them.

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Post by bobheckler on Thu Sep 18, 2014 1:42 pm

sam wrote:Bob,

Are you absolutely certain that "shooting is the easiest of all the skills to teach and learn?"  I believe it's not just the mechanics that make for a good shooter.  There's also a "feel" that some people have and some people don't.  And it's problematic as to whether a given player who doesn't have the "feel" will ever develop one."

For instance, while Rondo has tried a variety of techniques from the foul line, he still seems stuck on roughly the same mediocre shooting percentage.  I believe this is because he doesn't have the "feel" whereby the rolling of the ball off the fingers seems like the most natural thing in the world other than a calculated element of mechanics.  "Feel" is also part confidence.  When we say a certain player is "feeling" it, we mean that he's brimming with confidence at least for a certain period of time.  Rondo's stoicism doesn't offer a clue as to how confident or unconfident he is in shooting fouls; but I'm willing to bet that each trip to the line is a chore for him.

Anyway, I believe defense is much easier to teach and learn than shooting because a major part of learning defense involves effort; and it's relatively easy to summon more effort.  In shooting, more effort often involves tighter muscles, which can throw off body mechanics rather than improving them.

Sam


sam,

I believe shooting is the easiest to teach since it depends, mostly, upon mechanics and repetition.  Defense requires sustained effort, good schemes and ganas.  You have to want to be a good defender, take pride in it, every single second you're on the floor.  That's not easy and how do you teach it other than by yelling at them or benching them?  They either have the motor to back up the focus or they don't. Shooting isn't like that.  You're not going to take every shot.  Paul Pierce is a shooter who has averaged 15fgas/game and 36mpg career.  That's 1fga/2.5minutes.  And he's a shooter.  A relative non-shooter like Rondo doesn't need that type of groove nor does he take those number of shots so he doesn't need to put in the effort, he just needs to have the mechanics and cool head to do it when he's open.  

There appears to be a "floor" on shooters.  Some are "below the floor" and are non-shooters, like Reggie Evans and Louis Amundsen, who have zero feel for it.  Zero.  You're not going to teach them how to have a feel.  If they're not within 5' they won't take the shot and probably shouldn't.  There are exceptions to this like Don Chaney and even Jason Kidd, who couldn't throw it in the ocean from even mid-range but who taught himself the 3pt shot and retired as the #3 3pt fgm shooter in NBA history.  Players who have mid-range shots, though, have enough of a feel that you can build upon them.  When Bass came in the league he did not have his now extremely reliable mid-range shot.  Rondo is now a decent mid-range shooter.  Last year he shot 68% from the foul line to the top of the key straight away and 53% from the left elbow.  That tells me he has a feel for shooting.

Rondo is a chameleon.  Just when you think you've figured him out, he does something different.  He overthinks.  That's why, in my opinion, he can shoot 44% from 3 but only 62% from the line.  It's the much easier shot, requiring the same mechanics and has no defenders rushing you but it's not coming "out of the flow" and so he overthinks it.  He obviously has some feel for shooting since he hit 44% from 3 in a specific scenario last year, proving to me he's not a bricklayer and always will be.


bob



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Post by kdp59 on Thu Sep 18, 2014 2:31 pm

Rondo's a good shooter....ah.......OK!

can we be serious here........I know it's off-season and all...but man.

he's a great ball handler and passr...check!

he's one of the best rebounders for his size...check!

he can play good/great defense (when the mood hits)........check!

he's a good shooter.......um....NO.

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Post by k_j_88 on Thu Sep 18, 2014 3:56 pm

kdp59 wrote:Rondo's a good shooter....ah.......OK!

can we be serious here........I know it's off-season and all...but man.

he's a great ball handler and passr...check!

he's one of the best rebounders for his size...check!

he can play good/great defense (when the mood hits)........check!

he's a good shooter.......um....NO.



Rondo's decent from mid-range. He's gotten a bit better from beyond the arc. He'll never be a Steph Curry type shooter, but that isn't really necessary.

I think we should give Rondo credit for putting the time in to work on mechanics, as there has been a noticeable difference. From my observations, he seems a lot less hesitant to pull up and take a shot. He's also making more shots, as has already been stated. Any shooting improvements Rondo makes are really just gravy on top of everything else.



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Post by Outside on Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:08 pm

I can't get on board with Rondo being considered a good shooter.

First off, there's the free throws. I cannot wrap my mind around the idea that anyone considered a good shooter would be a poor free-throw shooter. I can't think of anyone who I consider to be a good shooter who is a poor free-throw shooter. And Rondo isn't just average; he's poor.

When I look at his shot charts (http://stats.nba.com/playerShotchart.html?PlayerID=200765&Season=2012-13), the only areas that are green are ones where he has taken very few shots.

For threes, he shot 28.9% on 90 attempts last season, 24.0% the season before that on 50 attempts. Even though he shot threes far more often last season (3.2 per 36 minutes last season, as opposed to 1.3 the season before, his previous high) and improved his percentage, he still doesn't shoot them well, and his per-36-minute rate was only 11th on the team last season (just ahead of Vitor at 3.0 and behind Pressey at 3.4). I see nothing there that indicates he's a good shooter.

There's a reason that defenders go under screens on Rondo, and it's not just because he's a good ballhandler. Chris Paul can drive as well as Rondo, but no one considers going under screens on him because he shoots threes pretty well (36.8% last season) and at a higher rate (3.5 per 36 minutes) despite not being left open on a regular basis like Rondo.

Defenses can't stop everything, and they give an offense certain opportunities because they prefer to defend others. Ray Allen is far more effective on catch-and-shoot threes than drives to the basket, so they play Ray close and tight on the three-point line and let him drive. With the Celtics, defenses are quite happy to give Rondo open jump shots and threes because they know that he can't make them consistently and is hesitant to shoot them. He takes a few in an attempt to keep the defense honest, he takes more than he used to, he even makes them more often than he used to, but that doesn't change the fact that it's still a weakness in his game.

Finding one narrow category that looks good percentage-wise (shooting threes off a pick and roll) when he has taken only 68 shots in that situation over five seasons isn't convincing evidence that Rondo is a good shooter, to put it mildly.
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Post by beat on Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:58 pm

Outside

Agree, if you can't make a wide open 15 footer consistently then there is no way that person can remotely be considered a good shooter.

We have said for a number of years now he will improve or get better, and fractionally I suppose he has..........he is also 5 years closer to retirement too than he was 5 years ago. (so am I and boy it is looking better each day)

Rondo is what he is, I believe he is so bull headed he won't change his shooting form to much of any degree to try to help himself, and I really wonder how much he actually works(ed) at it. Does shooting 300 foul shots a day help when 300 of them are shot with poor mechanics? Probably not.

Still he is our best player and the only holdover from just a couple years ago. He can dominate a game like few his size can. Can he do it again, with more new players, new system, and a newer coach? Rondo's shooting is adequate but nothing more. He's best described in my opinion as an enigma, but he is our enigma. (at least for now)

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Post by Outside on Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:28 pm

Beat,

Rondo does many things well and some things extremely well. I suppose I could've mentioned that somewhere in my previous post, but I was sticking to the original topic of the thread (this time, anyway).

If I was going to write an article about Rondo going into this season, making a case for him being a good shooter wouldn't be on my list of items to discuss. He is an interesting and enigmatic player, obviously talented in many ways, and key to what success the Celtics may build from this point. His evolving relationship with Stevens, his ability to adapt his game to get the most out of his teammates, whether his knee injury will affect his style of play going forward -- so many things come to mind.

As far as his shooting, he may improve marginally, but like you say, he is what he is in that regard. It seems like one of the least interesting things to discuss about him.
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Post by Sam on Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:24 am

Bob,

Sorry, still not buying it.  As you suggestion, defense requires effort more than anything else, which means the teaching part is relatively easy although the motivation part can be problematic.  And, by the way, good coaches are usually very good motivators.

The nuances of shooting are much more difficult to inculcate to a player.  As You suggest, it's not so much lack of effort that challenges a player's shooting ability.  It's lack of ability to learn the nuances of shooting; ergo it's much more difficult to teach shooting.

By the way, I don't understand at all the logic that concludes a shooting groove need not be as important to Rondo as to Paul Pierce because Paul shoots more often than Rondo.  For one thing, I'm assuming your figure of 1 fga every 2.5 minutes is correct for Paul.  Rondo's corresponding stat during the past three years is 1 fga every 3.16 minutes.  Obviously not a large enough gap to excuse Rondo as not needing a shooting groove whereas Paul does.

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Post by Sam on Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:51 am

Bob,


As far as whether Rondo can shoot, I thought he had improved his jumper two seasons ago.  But his history is one of inconsistency—seeming to improve, then dropping back, etc.



From every distance category over 10 feet, a chart of his seasonal percentages would look like a sea serpent:

10-16 feet

.356
.464
.375
.443
.341
.346
.313
.400

16 <3-pt land

.279
.452
.436
.353
.418
.389
.508
.404

3-point land

.207
.263
.313
.213
.233
.238
.240
.289

Same undulating pattern holds from the foul line:

.647
.611
.642
.621
.568
.597
.645
.627

This will be his 9th year in the league (albeit not all full seasons), and...stats be damned...isn't the real issue whether you can count on a player to attain some degree of consistency—whether it's at a low percentage or a high percentage?  When Rondo shoots, I don't have any reassurance as to whether we're looking at the improved version of proficiency or the mediocre version of proficiency.

I'd be the last person to say that I believe Rondo's shooting is anywhere near as important as his playmaking.  But, if he's going to take the sixth most shots on the team per 36 minutes, I'd hope that (1) he'd be higher than the 8th highest-shooting rotation player on the team and (2) he'd be reasonably consistent at whatever level he achieves over time.

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Post by hawksnestbeach on Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:46 am

I have a theory that Rondo rushes his foul shot, just doesn't get into the zone before he lets the ball go. Kind of like ripping a bandaid off, because you anticipate it's going to hurt, so, may as well get it over with quickly. I'd like to see him take five seconds more, concentrate purely on the shot every time. Hawk.

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Post by kdp59 on Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:50 pm

My theory is that Rondo has huge" Mickey Mouse" hands.

guys with large hands are typicaly bad outside shooters.

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Post by Sam on Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:20 pm

Kdp, you agree with me and Red Auerbach, who claimed that outsized hands are often associated with poor shooting.  My theory is that, in the formative years of playing and learning basketball, young people with big hands tend to emphasize powering the ball by palming it.  That's great for dunking and showing off and even executing a behind-the-back ball fake.  Not so great for outside shooting, which requires an arc that can best be achieved by shooting off the fingertips.  Early habits often die hard.

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Post by beat on Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:10 am

Hands........... check this one out !

http://www.businessinsider.com/giannis-antetokounmpo-hands-2014-1

"Rajon Rondo Can't Shoot?"  Well, Actually He Can... Hands10

Gosh almost all players have pretty big hands but the key is as Sam say,s to get the ball on the fingertips and out of the palm to create the spin.

Connie Hawkins had as big a pair of hands as I ever saw but he had a great touch and I personally know how big Bob McAdoo's hands were when he played in Buffalo, got to see him and speak to him often. When I shook his hands his fingers literally wrapped around my hand twice, and he has as good an outside shot as anyone back then.

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Post by k_j_88 on Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:21 pm

Rondo has larger hands than Lebron.


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Post by beat on Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:48 pm

k_j_88 wrote:Rondo has larger hands than Lebron.


KJ

And where do you find that fact?

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Post by k_j_88 on Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:27 am

beat wrote:
k_j_88 wrote:Rondo has larger hands than Lebron.


KJ

And where do you find that fact?

beat

It was on this science short on ESPN that they have from time to time.



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