Rajon Rondo's Potential Surprise Replacement at Point Guard

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COMMENTARY | In a recent interview with CSNNE.com's A. Sherrod Blakely, president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics Danny Ainge confirmed that All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo will likely not return to the court until November or December.

Replacing him will be a platoon of several players until one player emerges as the clear winner to start until Rondo is healthy.

This is hardly a revelation, but one of the interesting parts of the interview and article that may come as news for many Boston fans is that Jordan Crawford is receiving high praise from teammates and the front office about his ability to run the floor and distribute the basketball, making him a prime candidate to be Rondo's replacement at point guard.

MarShon Brooks, for instance, describes Crawford as a "very under-rated passer" and a "good playmaker."

Danny Ainge referred to Crawford as potentially the best passer on the team in March.

Former coach Doc Rivers was often surprised at just how good of a passer Crawford was during stretches of the 2012-2013 season.

Watching Crawford play night after night certainly didn't give the impression to many fans that he was a guy who could play the point-guard position. To be fair, it was hard to look past the ridiculous number of awkward fade-away 3-pointers the young shooting guard took to see anything but a guy who had no patience with the ball in his hands.

The numbers, however, don't lie, and some of his passing statistics were incredibly impressive last season. For instance, 23.5 percent of Crawford's possessions ended in an assist in 2012-2013. To give you an idea of just how good that is, the expected favorite to replace Rondo, Avery Bradley, managed to get an assist on only 11.6 percent of his possessions. Crawford also beat out Bradley in assists per 36 minutes, averaging 4.7 assists compared to Bradley's 2.6.

It's hard to say exactly what the role of the point guard is going to be in Brad Stevens' offensive scheme. In his last year coaching for top college program Butler University, Stevens' top assist man was 6-foo-4-inch forward Roosevelt Jones at 3.5 assists per game, followed by guard Rotnei Clarke at 2.7 assists per game. Overall, Butler's offense was reliant on a team model that avoided having the ball in one player's hands too often, which explains why much of the starting five had a relatively equal number of assists.

Although Avery Bradley may still be the current favorite to run the point until Rajon Rondo returns, it seems as though Jordan Crawford is making a legitimate case in training camp for why he should be considered for the position, a case supported by some very interesting stats from last year.

Don't agree with me? Tell me why I am wrong on Twitter @THATCelticsGuy.

Justin Haskins is a New England native and a freelance journalist. He has been obsessively following Boston professional sports for 10 years and has been published in numerous online publications and websites.

Statistics provided by Basketball-reference.com and NBA.com.

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