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Rajon Rondo is heading back to the All-Star Game this season.Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is headed back to the All-Star Game for a third consecutive season after being named an injury replacement Wednesday as Atlanta's Joe Johnson (left knee tendinitis) was forced to bow from the event.
Did Rondo deserve the honor? Looking at the stats, about the only argument you can make against him is that, due to injuries and the current two-game suspension, he was limited to 22 first-half games, missing nearly a third of an already shortened campaign. Even still, on the night that All-Star reserves were announced, Celtics coach Doc Rivers declared, "Rondo to me, is an All-Star and would have made it, but you miss a week or two and all of a sudden it's hard."
Johnson's injury afforded Rondo some additional time to state his case and that included maybe his most potent offensive stretch in a Celtics uniform, as he went off for a career-high 35 points against the Pistons last week (this after putting up 32 points and 15 assists in a win over the Chicago Bulls).
Rondo's numbers are right on par with what we've seen over the last two seasons before the break:
2009-10: 14.3 points, 9.7 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 52.9 FG%, 59.1 FT%
2010-11: 10.9 points, 12.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 50.2 FG%, 55.2 FT%
2011-12: 14.8 points, 9.5 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 48.5 FG%, 61.5 FT%
Some will contend that Atlanta's Josh Smith might have deserved the honor more, but it's hard to compare two players at different positions. What's undeniable is that Smith is having an All-Star-caliber season, averaging 16 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 steals per game in 32 appearances. He seemed like the natural choice after teammate Johnson was forced out.
But Rondo getting the ticket to Orlando speaks volumes about what he's done in his limited time on the court and likely how close he came to getting in the first time around during voting by Eastern Conference coaches. Sure, the Celtics are 6-4 without Rondo and a mere 9-13 with him this season. But the eyeball test tells you his value to Boston this season. And for him to get the nod directly from commissioner David Stern, all while serving this two-game suspension for zipping a ball at a game official, surely reflects positively on his contributions, even amid Boston's overall struggles.
Your turn: Did Rondo deserve the All-Star nod? Sound off in the comments and vote in the poll.