One of the most unexpected moments of All-Star Weekend came during Saturday’s HORSE contest. Rajon Rondo, a 59% free throw shooter with an infamously iffy jumper, was definitely a surprise choice to compete in a shooting contest. Even more surprising than Rondo’s inclusion was how well he did. Rondo held his own with dead-eye shooter Kevin Durant throughout the contest, matching him three for three at the end of the contest.
That display has led some fans to ask the question that will always accompany Rondo’s greatness: has Rondo’s jumper improved? WEEI’s Paul Flannery is the one asking the question today, and he finds that while Rondo’s outside shot isn’t much better than it was last year, he has improved in some key areas.
Rondo has actually gotten worse on threes and long twos, but has made huge strides on mid-range shots. Rondo has converted shots from the <10 foot range and 10-15 foot range at a much better rate than last year. This has helped Rondo raise his overall FG% to a career-high 53%.
Rondo isn’t a long-range bomber yet. He’ll always be more dangerous going to the basket than taking a deep jumper, and he seems to recognize that. By utilizing midrange shots, Rondo is building his shooting game around his ability to drive, which is becoming a lost art in the NBA. Rondo is becoming a more complete player, even if his future games won’t look much like his performance in HORSE.