Every time an NBA point guard steps on the court, his task is to execute his team's offense in a manner that produces points as frequently and efficiently as possible. It is, at base, an exercise in problem solving; given the myriad variables at play — whether fatigue has flattened out the arc on Teammate X's jumper, if Defender Y's doing too much ball-watching and leaving a back-cut open, etc. — you have to determine the best course of action for getting buckets. Some struggle to get the order of operations right, while others get by just sticking to the formula. The best, though, understand how to manipulate the evolving equation to their advantage, consistently finding answers while leaving opposing defenses wishing they'd show their work.
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo's a member of that talented upper tier of triggermen, and he brought his gift for solving X's and O's to a ninth-grade algebra class at Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester, Mass., on Tuesday morning. (He also visited nearby Harbor Pilot Middle School Tuesday morning.) This seems like a pretty solid strat for a high school math teacher to employ — it can't be easy to enflame students' excitement for polynomials at 9 a.m. on a Tuesday, especially when that Tuesday is Election Day, leading to all manner of questions about how voting can simultaneously be both the most important thing you can do and something not considered important enough to be recognized as a national holiday where you get the day off. (Pro tip for students: You'll be asking that as an adult, too, so get used to it.) So as attention-grabbing classroom aides go, a three-time NBA All-Star who's become the new face of the hometown team is a pretty cool one. Smart work, Ms. Oshodi.
The next math problem that Rondo and Celtics coach Doc Rivers will have to solve? Finding the right number of minutes for the 26-year-old lead guard to play. Through Boston's stumbling 1-2 start, Rondo's averaging a league-high 41.7 minutes per contest, and while his production's been strong — 15.3 points, 12 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game, 55.6 percent shooting from the field and just eight turnovers against 36 assists in the year's first three games — a C's team relying heavily on a big step forward from Rondo this year can ill afford to overtax him early in what they hope will be a long, long season.