Rajon Rondo Thinks He Can Average 20 Assists Per Game
The Boston point guard, who is averaging 14.3 assists and could challenge John Stockton's 1989-90 NBA record of 14.5, has missed the past two games due to a strained left hamstring.
When asked in a Monday interview with FanHouse after Boston's 99-76 win over Atlanta at Philips Arena when he might return, Rondo said, "Friday.'' That's when the Celtics play host to Toronto.
Boston does have New Jersey at home Wednesday. When asked if there's not enough time for him to get ready for that one, Rondo first said there wasn't. But then he changed his tune.
"I mean, I might try to do something Wednesday,'' Rondo said. "We'll see. I was saying Friday, but I don't know yet.''
Let's just say Rondo is less wishy-washy about how many assists he believes he can average this season. When asked if he can maintain his tremendous pace, he said, "I can keep it up. If we keep making shots, I can keep it up.''
OK, so how many assists per game does Rondo believe he can average this season?
"Twenty,'' he said.
Realistically, how many?
"Twenty,'' said Rondo, who did hand out 24 Oct. 29 against New York but hasn't exceeded 17 in any other game.
OK, why do you think that?
"Because we're shooting the ball extremely well,'' he said. "We're playing together and moving the ball.''
Told that, to average 20, if he had 15 one game, he'd have to make up for it with 25 in another, Rondo said, "I know. I can count.''
Opinions differ on the Celtics about whether Rondo could average 20 assists. Forward Paul Pierce said, "It's impossible.'' But guard Von Wafer was much less skeptical.
"He believes he can,'' Wafer said. "He believes that he's the best point guard in the NBA. He really, really believes that. He's not just saying it. He really feels he can average 20 assists a game. He's just confident. That's (how) you got to be playing this game is confident.''
Rondo, though, is much less outspoken about USA Basketball than he is about his assists average. He was the final cut by Team USA last August when the team was in Greece. He then returned to the U.S. under somewhat mysterious circumstances while the Americans went on to Turkey to claim the gold medal at the FIBA World Championship.
"Things were going on for me personally, and I wanted to leave,'' said Rondo, not wanting to elaborate on anything, including whether it was completely his choice to depart or whether there was a recommendation by USA Basketball officials.
That begs the question as to whether Rondo, who remains on the 35-man working roster for the 2012 Olympics, has interest in playing in London. While plenty of players have been expressing their eagerness to play, Rondo isn't one of them.
"It's too far right now to think about,'' he said. "I'm just worried about getting healthy and doing what's best for the Celtics. ... I still don't know. Nothing has to happen (regarding any discussions with USA Basketball). It's all about the Celtics. I'm not thinking about anything else.''
He is thinking about how many assists he can average for Boston. Stay tuned to see when the chase will resume.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson