67RIEFNS No. 41: Rajon Rondo playing with (slightly) better teammates

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The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

So many times last year, I saw Rajon Rondo dribble through traffic, read the defense and throw a pinpoint pass to an open teammate… who missed the shot.

Rondo’s supporting cast in Boston won’t set the world on fire, and it’s probably not playoff caliber.

But it’s better.

For Rondo, that means everything.

Rondo combines toughness and intelligence to form one brilliant package. He sees the court like few others, and he uses his strength and speed to create angles that play to his advantage. He just can’t shoot jumpers reliably, meaning his particular brand of basketball works best when he has teammates who finish what he creates.

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen didn’t make Rondo. But they made Rondo’s skills shine. It was a symbiotic relationship, one last year’s Celtics couldn’t come close to duplicating for Rondo.

This year’s squad won’t come close to those glory-days teams, but it should be an upgrade over last year.

Avery Bradley is healthy, and Marcus Thornton also helps at off guard. Tyler Zeller is a skilled center, and more importantly, he allows Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk to play their natural position of power forward. Evan Turner gets a bad rap from his time in Indiana, but he’s a capable NBA player.

It was tough seeing Rondo’s talent wasted so often last season. It should happen a little less this year.