NBA / Aug 12, 2010 / 3:00 pm

Doc Rivers says Rajon Rondo needs to fix his jump shot

Rajon Rondo (photo. Gary Land)

Doc Rivers wants Rajon Rondo to improve his jump shot.

In other news, O.J. Simpson wants to get out of jail, Spencer Pratt wants his own TV show, and Kobe Bryant wants another NBA championship.

It’s no great revelation that Rondo’s jumper is the Achilles heel in his otherwise All-NBA caliber game, and in today’s media/fan climate — where everybody is an expert on everything and anybody will find a reason to criticize anything — it’s the one criticism he can’t get away from. Never mind that Rondo does just about everything else you’d want from a point guard (pass, protect the ball, run the offense, create havoc on defense) better than all but a few PG’s in the League, that broken jumper allows room for some critics to claim Rondo is not among the NBA’s elite despite all the evidence to the contrary.

“We want him to shoot the right shots,” Rivers told the Boston Herald as Rondo trains for USA Basketball. “The three-point shot, I could care less. I could care less if he takes another three the rest of his career as far as I’m concerned. But we have to get him to make the elbow jump shot.”

According to 82games.com, Rondo made only 37 percent of his jumpers this season, and the Herald said he made 33 percent of his shots taken between 16-23 feet from the basket. He’s also a 63 percent free-throw shooter for his career, and his numbers dip to 59 percent at the line in the playoffs.

“I think when he becomes a better free throw shooter it’ll make him a better driver,” Rivers said. “I think, unfortunately it happened in the Finals, when he started missing free throws he stopped driving. That’s what all guys do.”

Every star on the verge of superstardom and every young superstar in the NBA has at least one hole in his game. Perhaps none is as talked-about as Rondo’s jumper, but the list is significant:

Joe Johnson‘s ability to take over a game.
Derrick Rose‘s three-point shot.
LeBron James‘ low-post game.
Monta Ellis‘ range.
Danny Granger‘s shot selection.
Brandon Jennings‘ consistency and defense.
Al Jefferson‘s defense.
Amar’e Stoudemire‘s rebounding and defense.
Dwight Howard‘s offensive repertoire.
Tyreke Evans‘ passing.
Kevin Durant‘s strength.

You would think that each of these players does so many things right, people wouldn’t harp on the few things they do wrong. But that’s not how it works these days, especially when you don’t have a championship ring or 11 to cover up your shortcomings. We want our athletes to be flawless, even though there has never been and will never be a flawless athlete in any sport.

Still, which of the above attributes, if properly fixed, could bring that NBA player attached to it the closest to a flawless game?

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  • jnuh

    It bothers me that someone who has been on the same team as Ray Allen (who is arguably the best shooter on EARTH)still has one of the worst jump shots in the league and literally has done NOTHING to improve that area of his game.

    So annoying.

  • fallinup

    Bron’s post up. Why he hasn’t got this going is cuh-razy. He’s the size of Karl Friggin Malone and still likes playing like Dr. J. Friggin get your ass on the block, and beat up any SF or even SG in the game. No doubt.

  • down since the begining

    I’m going to go with my lakers here
    Even tho I’d love to say kobe has the least holes in his game (when he gets tunnel vision lots of things stand out)
    I’d go with pau gasol. Big man can hit the outside shot, put it on the floor, plays defense and the ability to make and catch passes. Kinda like a chris webber

  • down since the begining

    As far as above. Its gotta be rose. Legay outside of his post up game, he still takes forced shots which could still be considered a hole

  • http://www.TheProductBand.com Kermit The Washington

    LOL @ Rondo in the Finals…it cracked me up every time he got the ball on the elbow and all the Lakers would just walk away from him. And then when he missed and they got the rebound, it was so funny. I did feel bad for him tho; that’s just embarrassing. And then if he happened to hit one, the next time he got the ball in that same spot they’d walk away AGAIN, like “yeah you’re not hitting that joint twice in a row; what are you, CRAZY?” and sure enough…BRICK.

  • Jonathan

    Seriously, Rivers “could care less if he takes another three the rest of his career”… Shouldn’t that be “couldn’t care less”? If he could care less, then Rondo may as well keep shooting (and missing) threes until Do can’t care less…

  • The Other Aj

    I agree with #1 Rondo should be in the gym with Shuttlesworth all summer working on his J

  • Heckler

    since they are rookies (or now going into the 2nd years) I’m not sure Brandon Jennings and Tyreke Evans should even be on the list. Rookies, especially point guards, will def have holes in their games.

    as for the list above, its gotta start with LeBron James. for a dude his size, he surely needs to go down low more often (pause). even if he doesnt have a post moves or footwork, he can be DEADLY playing point guard out of the post. the same way Gary Payton and Rod Strickland used to play point and be playmakers from the paint, instead of top-of-the-key all the time.

    next, its gotta be Dwight Howard. he’s gotta improve his free throw shooting. he should be somewhere around 73% to be respectable. and then, he should develop a little 12ft jump shot; or at least an 8-footer. and on the block, he needs some REAL post moves. not that sweeping hook bullshit.

    and thirdly, Amare Stoudamire. at 6’10 and all his hops, he aint worth a shit on the boards or defending his own man. he sucks. overrated. $100mil for nothing.

    Kenny Smith: “what do you call a power forward who cant get 10 rebounds a game?”

    Charles Barkley: “…a small forward”

  • Celts Fan

    @jnuh – dude, you clearly don’t watch the Celtics at all or are just a hater. Rondo’s rookie year was a joke (backing up Telfair before the C’s were any good. Did you even know they exist back then or do you just talk ish now that they’re good and you think you know WTF you’re talking about?) In his rookie year that sh(t had side spin and he was clearly afraid to shoot. I clearly remember him going up for an open J, thinking twice while in the air and just coming down w/ the ball for a travel. He got yanked a second later. His jumper has slowly improved. It’s still bad, but it’s MUCH BETTER fundamentally. It’s a long road to go down. You gotta look at JKidd’s career path. It took a solid decade before he could consistently knock down open jumpers. That’s what you’re looking at w/ him. He ain’t gonna just come back w/ a wet J overnight. It doesn’t work that way.

  • Stunnaboy09

    @Heckler I love Barkley dissing Stoudamire. STAT has like 3 inches on Crash and about the same hops yet your telling me he gets more rebounds than him?

    Rondo’s jumper is infuiriating, I mean he has RAY FUCKING ALLEN on his team. RAY FUCKING ALLEN. And you can’t improve your jumper to at least a decent level? Damn.

  • louisianimal

    in other news…pat riley says lebron can touch the rim

  • Manu14

    If Tony Parker had a 3pts shot…

  • bobby stew

    I feel like if Durant got bigger it would actually take away from his game. He may actually get more calls because he is so skinny

  • sh!tfaced

    Two words. Chip Engelland.

    Just ask Tony Parker & Grant Hill.

  • WinDelRoj

    Free throws are as fundamental as it gets. You gotta make 70-80% at least. When the other team can just give you 10 feet of open space to shoot, and you cant hurt them…. problems

  • Crew Dizzy

    This is nothing new, last year he worked with Mark Price in the offseason, I wonder what’s he’s doing this offseason to improve that thing he calls a jump shot.

  • Jdote

    I think Rondos strengths far outweigh his weaknesses. I think Rondo has taken a lot of criticism for a finals game where one of the greatest shooters in the world shot 3-14. Another great scorer shot 5-15. I don’t think too much of it had to do with Rondo. I think there’s been some major revisionist history when it comes to why the celtics lost the finals. Lastly a jumper would be nice but him improving his free throws is more important

  • Jdote

    I think Rondos strengths far outweigh his weaknesses. I think Rondo has taken a lot of criticism for a finals game where one of the greatest shooters in the world shot 3-14. Another great scorer shot 5-15. I don’t think too much of it had to do with Rondo. I think there’s been some major revisionist history when it comes to why the celtics lost the finals. Lastly a jumper would be nice but him improving his free throws is more important

  • Jah

    Brandon Jennings + Jason Kidd’s consistency and defense is A PROBLEM.

  • Pat

    Guess what? Basketball players are people and no one’s perfect.

  • Ehbert Talice

    All the big stars have a post game. Kobe, melo, d.wade. I always wondered why lebron doesnt lol? He would be such a better player if he could score on the block. He would be unstoppable.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    If Steve Nash could play defense, he would play til he’s 50.

  • qas

    “Al Jefferson’s defense” that dude was getting like 2 blocks a game before he got hurt.


    if dwight could avg 25 pts, he would win mvp every year…every damn year

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    @Celtics fans, stop fronting like Rondo’s broke jumpers isn’t “that bad”. And if you knew anything about teaching basketball, you’ll know that all Rondo has to do is get in the gym and get his reps up shooting. Shooting off the dribble and shooting in game situations.
    Rondo = Hotsauce from And1. I don’t think he’ll be like that for his career, but he clearly doesn’t think he needs to work on his game. He seems contempt with being a “Coulda been” instead of a sure fire lock for top dog at the PG position. $h!t is going to get really REAL for him when those big three retire.

    As for Lebron,
    His post game is weak, but that is something that can be fixed in a month. I think LBJs basketball IQ is the worst part of his game. He lacks so much knowledge of the little things that if you took away his amazing athleticism, he’d be done with. Grant Hill is a perfect example of someone who knows how to play the game. Even without his incredible athleticism that made him a top 5 NBA player, his knowledge of the game is keeping him in the L as a starting SF while he is 35+ yrs old.

    Derrick Rose, Who in the hell thinks learning to shoot a 3 will benifit Rose? If anything, him shooting more 3’s will hurt his game. Larry Bird is an all time great shooter and he was quoted as saying “I wish I shot less 3pters in my career, i would have had a much higher fg%”. This coming from a guy who was a 3 time winner of the 3pt contest and shot 50% FG for most of his career.

    This ain’t rucker or the YMCA, shooting 3pters is a low percentage shot unless you are spotting up and someone is kicking it to you. Other than that, it’s a terrible shot. The Midrange jumper is much much much more important because it opens the game for a PG that much more.

  • bub

    Rando isnt a natural shooter, but man he has the tangibles and intangibles to be one of the most disruptive PG’s in the league. His wing span and hand size are tremendous for his size and position. I have confidence that his jump shot will come around, maybe not become great but it will get better.

    Bron’s post up game needs to improve. Yeah he is physically the most gifted NBA player to probably ever play the game, pretty much a power forwards body with all the skills of a gaurd. Just imagine if his turn around or fade away jumper improved? There is prolly less than a handful of small forwards i could think of that could actually outmuscle lebron out of the post….

    One thing Kobe has that Lebron doesn’t have, a meanstreak/killer instinct. Kobe will do anything to win a game, i hate Kobe’s personality but i respect his attentiveness to detail and his dedication to the craft of basketball.

  • jnuh


    You’re right. I’ve never seen the Celtics play basketball. Ever. I also have no idea who this Ramon Honda fella is you keep speaking so highly about.

    Honda’s problem coming out of college: HE CAN’T SHOOT THE BALL.

    Honda’s problem during his rookie year: HE CAN’T SHOOT THE BALL.

    Honda’s problem during his 2nd year: HE CAN’T SHOOT THE BALL.

    Shall I continue?


    He clearly has never put any time into working on his only real and VERY obvious deficiency.

    Do i need to quote his jumpshot/free throw statistics mentioned in the article again?

    He’s a garbage shooter. Always has been. Always will be.

  • WinDelRoj

    Jason Kidd still doesnt have a jumper. Hes got a set shot. So yeah if your coming down on Rajon hes got hall of fame company

  • rban

    Yeah but J Kidd hits the 3 at a more then solid rate these days

  • Celts Fan

    @rban – EXACTLY. THESE DAYS. It took him a decade plus to get that down. Rondo won’t be any quicker. That ish was BROKE when he came outta Kentucky. It ain’t coming overnight. It looks better fundamentally now and he’s knocking down the occasional elbow J. He’s still not good, but it’s definitely a few steps closer than it was as a rookie. If you guys can’t see that, I don’t know what else to tell you…

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    Jason Kidd always hit his free throws

  • http://facebook.com/Mr.Brogden Mr. Brogden

    Blake Griffin : all he needs is TWO things:

    1. midrange2longrange game aka range

    2. NBA Experience

    His passing is polished enough for a big guy.
    His athleticism is off the charts.
    He’s a certified gamer and beast.
    He knows the game.

    Really, he could be unstoppable.

    Rondo’s jumper is broke. pahahahaha. Never heard that one.

    And hearing somebody say Derrick Rose with a 3pt game will actually HURT HIS GAME, I had to exit Chrome asap.

    “If anything, him shooting more 3’s will hurt his game.”

    If your opinion truly reflects this thinking…THAT’S STUPID. The logic is STUPID. It makes absolutely NO BALL SENSE. The point guard who pretty much can get in the lane at will, who pretty much can handle all j’s in or near the box…him adding a consistent 3 shot to his game will keep ALL DEFENSES HONEST ALL THE TIME. That’s called “helping his game.” That’s called “helping his team.” That added skill could make Derrick somewhat of a FLAWLESS pg.

    Bird was a BIG. His on-the-court mentality is ENTIRELY DIFFERENT. Yeah, he stretched out and shot 3s. Your forward’s hitting 3’s, it’s gonna be a tough game to win. When Rashard’s hitting…when Troy Murph’s hitting…when Sheed’s hitting…it’s straight up tough to win if you’re on the other squad. He was talking ‘stats.’ You wanna talk stats????

    Let’s see what Larry said, “I wish I shot less 3pters in my career, i would have had a much higher fg%”.

    Well I guess if you have that mentality, that probably explains Rondo to a T.

    What point guard has the highest FG% the league??

    Guess what???


    Rondo’s still young. He just got chips, a really good squad, a really good coach, some deals…you know, he’s got that swag of a 3pt shooter but no 3pt shot. But he gives you EVERYTHING ELSE RIGHT NOW. You won’t get that type of production from a pg except maybe Jason Kidd every now and then.

    And Rondo’s midrange and 3pt shot killed the Cavs in the post-season. So obviously he’s working on it…he’s just gotta continue to work on it…

  • carmikal

    The Finals should have been the illest exposure on Rondo’s weakness, yet you still have cats saying that he is the best PG in the league? When the Lakers put Kobe on Rondo, Kobe was damn near playing zone on the foul line and Rondo still wouldn’t shoot! I actually think that Rondo’s jumper isn’t that bad, its his rhythmn or lack of it. If you notice whenever he shoots the J he tends to take a bunch of dribbles almost like he is building up his momentum and confidence in order to pull. That cat just needs to go to the lab and put in the work. Especially, on the free throws. There is no way in hell a pg should be inbounding the ball so that he can’t fouled. That’s embarrassing!

  • control

    People been hating on me all year because I’ve said the exact same thing that his fucking coach just came out and said…

    I think getting a jump shot would improve Rondo’s game, but take away from the perception of Rondo’s game. Right now, he’s getting rebounds like crazy because he is NEVER boxed out. People just ignore him, they don’t see a need to be within 10-15 feet of him because he shoots worse than the average high school kid. That also opens up his passing, because he has so much room to get off passes and pick clean angles to pass along. If anyone has ever played basketball before, and sucked enough to not be guarded in a game, then you know how much easier that makes the game for ya. Rondo is living off this, he picks up a jump shot and people start defending him, his rebounding and assist numbers will drop dramatically. The only thing he will have left his is pretty good speed.

    Rondo probably won’t work on anything though. He already thinks he’s the best point guard to walk the earth, just because he won a ring while riding 3 hall of famers. Reality is, the Lakers probably wouldn’t have won if Rondo was replaced with any of the real top pgs in the league…trade Rondo straight up with Steve Nash, CP, Deron, Rose, or maybe even a guy like Reke or Westbrook…the Celts have another ring.

    Rondo MIGHT be a top 10 pg in the league, MAYBE, and he’s pretty much hit his plateau. I can’t wait to see how Boston does when Rondo is “the man”. Should be almost like watching how Cleveland does this year.

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla


    Man you just like to argue. well i got the time today so lets see career 3pt % for some of the better guards over the last 20-30yrs

    Isiah Thomas = 29%
    Kevin Johnson = 30%
    Sam Cassell = 33%
    Starbury = 32%
    Dwayne Wade = 28% (30% the last two yrs since he shot more)
    Tony Parker = 31%
    Baron Davis = 32%

    Now if you think that a PG shooting less than 40% from 3 is a good shot, then you clearly don’t know basketball. I was only naming PGs because of the size, but (i hope you)we already know about the SG and SF that did not care for the 3pt shot like MICHAEL JORDAN and Dominque Wilkins.

    Why are they important? Well because of the Rule changes that the businessman David Stern has made over the years, any strong and fast PG can get into the lane with ease because they are seemingly untouchable on the perimeter. So when Derrick Rose can get into the paint at will (or Tony Parker for that matter) while also being able to nail mid-range jumpers with ease if they back off him like they do Rondo, Rose would be effing retarded to shoot 3 pointers instead of driving.

    You give Coaches headaches when you drive the lane and draw fouls, create lay-ups, create dunks for yourself or teammates. When you stand back and shoot 25ft jumpers…the opposing coach laughs and the opposing Pg is smiling because you just lost the chess match.

    and BTW, you’re a f^king idiot…no wait, you’re a f^king Douche…I like that one better.

  • http://facebook.com/Mr.Brogden Mr. Brogden

    If you truly believe Rose working on his 3pt shot will HURT his game.


    If you truly believe Rondo working on his range will HELP his game.


    You truly are talking outta ur azz, homer.

    — your favorite enema-bag…(u like that one?? i know ol’ heads use ‘em)

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    I’m 30…that is ole head to you? lol, idiot. Maybe you’re referring to my references to old players all the time…well I’m just a basketball junkie and been one since i was 10.

    “If you truly believe Rondo working on his range will HELP his game” <—-this one is interesting. I don't believe DOC ever said anything about shooting 3pters. As a matter of fact, he thought Rondo learning to shoot 3's would be a BAD idea. I simply agreed with him. Rondo needs a mid range jumper the same way Tony Parker improved his. They essentially do the same things on offense with Parker being a better/smarter finisher and Rondo being a better passer.

    So we have
    Coach Doc Rivers
    All believing that 3pt shooting isn't all that necessary of an weapon. I guess I'm not the only one who thinks 3pt shooting is not a good idea.

  • http://facebook.com/Mr.Brogden Mr. Brogden

    all i’m sayin Chicagopantsy : rose n rondo working on their overall range is an all around advantage. they can shoot 3s so why not? especially if they can make them consistently. bird, zeke, mj, nique, doc…nwords aint been playing ball since 4ever and that’s who you cite??
    the game changed, you admitted it.

    and the 3pt shot is ONE HELLUVA WEAPON NOWADAYS, ol’ head.
    Doc would love Rondo to make 3s. He’s saying right now at this point in his career and for this season’s ball club, he wants rondo to consistently hit the elbow jumper.

    If Ray was a lousy 3pt shooter, you really think Doc wouldn’t care about Rondo’s lack of marksmanship??
    N.O. NIZZAH.

    put it to you like this, if rondo n rose are content with only being able to hit the short2medium range jumpers, they are hurting their game. Especially when you got flat out shooters in both of thier divisions at the guard and forward positions.

    but you know all of this ALREADY.
    nevertheless, point taken…your favorite moron

  • Just Wondering

    Question, for the guy who says, Rondo has done nothing to improve his jump shot, you ride with him like that, you know his every move.

    As far as him playing with Ray Allen, I’m sure it can help him, but that doesn’t mean he’ll become a great shooter.

  • Seriously

    “Where everybody is an expert on everything and anybody will find a reason to criticize anything”. This says it all.

    Why some of you guys NBA coaches just befuddles me.

  • Seriously

    *Why some of you guys aren’t NBA coaches*

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla


    So when I pointed out
    Baron Davis
    Tony Parker
    DWayne Wade

    who are all attacking small guards who have been considered the top 5 at their positions for the past 5 yrs or so. Yet none of them are 3pt shooters.

    Explain that Jagaloon.

  • http://facebook.com/Mr.Brogden Mr. Brogden

    @ CHICAGODUMBAZZ – out of those attacking guards, who’s a true point?

  • JD

    If any of you idiots who have been commenting on this knew anything, then you’d know that Rondo has been working with Mark Price on his jumpshot and foulshooting the last two summers. So people like control and others who say that Rondo is too cocky to work on his jumpshot: get your facts straight you idiots.

    He has also tweaked his shooting form with Mark Price, so that would explain his poor FT percentage this year, along with his typical jumpshot problems (although it should be noted that his form looks much better since he started working with Price). The fact of the matter is, your shot is going to get worse before it gets better when you tweak your form, there is no magic, instant fix.

    Oh and go fuck yourself control.

  • ab_40

    you forgot melo his defense and being in shape. dude looked straight fat at his last interview in new york. He needs to fix his diet and work on his body before he get’s injured because of it.

  • http://www.espn.com Sho-Nuff

    I’m late on this but don’t we all need to improve out jump shots?

  • http://www.espn.com Sho-Nuff

    Damn….”our”….not “out”…

  • NYC

    Doc Rivers has also said several times on the radio “Rajon Rondo has the highest basketball IQ of any player I’ve ever coached”.

    Now why don’t you print that as well Dime? I’m not saying that Doc Rivers shouldn’t discuss his players. He can! But he wasn’t critiquing Rajon, as much as responding to a question, and he later went on to say “I don’t care if he never hit’s a three pointer; I want him to work on his free throw”. Yes he did! Lastly, he has also gushed on a recent radio interview “He’s become such a great player in the NBA with out a jump shot”.

    Come on guys. Instead of looking for spicy talk with out context, can we have more in depth discussion. Isn’t this a basketball magazine/publication?

  • NYC

    PS: How’s this for what Doc Rivers said about Rondo recently and his jump shot; just to keep things in perspective!

    ‘But probably the most impressive part of his game has been his ability to control the action without having a reliable jump shot.’

    “You think about how dominant he has been,” Rivers said. “It’s always been said you cannot win in the NBA with a non-shooting point guard. We’re winning with a non-shooting point guard and we’re winning because of his IQ.”


    So Doc, of course would love to see him improve his shot, but he’s not looking for dramatic improvements or is dissatisfied either.