Rajon Rondo says he was ‘easily top 3 in the game’ during his prime

Jesse Cinquini
4 Min Read
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Former Boston Celtics star point guard Rajon Rondo recently hopped on The Old Man and the Three podcast and said he was “easily top three in the game” during the prime of his career.

“Back in prime, when I was prime, I thought I was easily top three in the game,” Rondo told J.J. Redick. “I think guards didn’t want to play against me. I didn’t affect the game by scoring 30 a game. … It’s unconventional for a point guard like myself to box out, but you had to box me out. Guards that I played against in that particular time, it wasn’t a big deal to box out. So if I would get four or five offensive rebounds, I’m affecting the game in ways that you don’t really know how to control.”

Rondo, 37, has played for nine teams — the Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers — across his 16 seasons in the NBA.

But Rondo is best known for his time as a member of the Celtics. He spent a little more than eight seasons with Boston and accomplished a whole lot with the team, both from an individual and collective standpoint.

The 6-foot-1 point guard has earned four All-Star nods, led the league in assists per game three times — in the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2015-16 seasons — and led the league in steals per game once. Just about all of those accomplishments came during his time with the Celtics.

Arguably Rondo’s best season as a Celtic came during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. He averaged 11.9 points, 11.7 assists and 1.8 steals per game across 53 games played during the regular season (all starts).

Rondo carried over his excellent play from the 2011-12 regular season into the 2012 playoffs. That iteration of the Celtics made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat in seven games.

Rondo was fantastic in the Eastern Conference Finals series, though, as he averaged 20.9 points, 11.3 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game for the series.

The most notable achievement of the point guard’s Celtics career, however, was winning the 2008 NBA title. Rondo was just 22 years old during the team’s title run and wasn’t yet a star player, but he served as an invaluable supporting player, as he started 77 games for Boston during the 2007-08 regular season.

It’s definitely debatable whether Rondo was a top-three player during his prime, but what’s not debatable is that he was one of the best point guards in the league for a solid four-season stretch — from the 2009-10 season through the 2012-13 season — during his time with the Celtics.

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Jesse is an aspiring sports journalist that has previously worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.