Most Impactful Former NBA Wildcats: Rajon Rondo

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May 28, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (9) drives to the basket during the first half in game one of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

 

As far as the current Wildcats who are playing in the NBA go, Rajon Rondo is the best of them all. Initially though, it looked as though Rondo wasn’t even suited to play in the NBA. After the 2005–06 NCAA season ended, Rondo announced he would forgo his final two seasons at Kentucky and enter the NBA draft. His college career was a roller coaster ride that saw him clash with former HC Tubby Smith, and was even relegated to a bench role at times throughout his two years atKentucky. Still, NBA scouts loved his raw talent and he was still projected a first-round pick, enough to entice Rondo to pursue his NBA dreams.

Rondo was selected 21st overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 NBA Draft, but was later traded to the Boston Celtics. He played sparingly as the teams’ backup point guard for much of his rookie year, but began thriving in the NBA game towards the end of his first season, enough to give HC Doc Rivers the confidence to enter the next season with him as the starting point guard.

The 2007–08 season came with huge expectations for the Celtics to win the NBA championship after they formed the “big-3″ of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett, all future hall-of-famers. The Celtics would defeat the LA Lakers in six games with Rondo running the point guard show and he won his first NBA championship in only his second season in the league.

The 2009 NBA Playoffs came, and Rondo would step up his game to an All-Star level as he nearly averaged a triple-double and led the Celtics to Game 7 of the Eastern semi-finals where they fell to the Orlando Magic.

Rondo continued to improve during the 2010 season, but a dislocated elbow during the 2011 playoffs against the Miami Heat eventually lead to the Celtics demise in five games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

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