Cousins, Gentry Confident Rajon Rondo Can Turn New Orleans into a Marquee Team

Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Cousins, Gentry Confident Rajon Rondo Can Turn New Orleans into a Marquee Team

 

Although the addition of former Sacramento Kings superstar DeMarcus Cousins was thought to have done the trick at the midway point of the 2016-17 season, the New Orleans Pelicans were on the hunt to land valuable pieces to add to the puzzle this offseason.

Cousins, who has said to have reached out to “everyone” about joining New Orleans, made a few valuable connections with Chicago Bulls point guard Rajon Rondo and Golden State Warriors champion Ian Clark to buy in with the system.

Signing Rondo to a one-year, $3.3 million deal brings New Orleans veteran leadership at a cheap price, as well as a point guard who has experience with leading a team. Cousins and Rondo were teammates in Sacramento during the 2015-16 season and both put up spectacular numbers playing together. Rajon Rondo led the league with a career-high 11.7 assists per game and set several franchise assist records, while Cousins averaged a stellar 26.9 points and 11.5 rebounds per game that season.

In an international press conference from South Africa prior to the NBA Africa Games, Cousins explained how smart Rajon Rondo truly is and that it’s ‘freaky’ how he operates around the court.

“He’s so smart sometimes it’s actually kind of scary,” Cousins said. “It’s like you might think he’s psychic – it’s kind of freaky. Something that’s going to stand out right away to a lot of the New Orleans media, the fan base and the city, is his intelligence. His I.Q. is through the roof.”

New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said that having players with championship experience like Rondo and Clark can be extremely valuable for a young Pelicans roster.

“I think it’s very understated and very underrated,” Gentry said. “You have guys that know exactly what it takes to get there and know exactly what it takes to get over the hump when you get there. I think it’s very important that when you get in those situations that they can talk to those other players. I don’t think there’s anything like hearing it from a peer rather than hearing it from a coach.”

Gentry continued to explain how valuable a point guard like Rajon Rondo truly is.

“[Rajon] Rondo is a guy that’s been a point guard for years,” Gentry said. “He’s got championship pedigree, been successful for so many years. He brings a respect. He can make the game easier [for the entire team].”

Playing alongside two All-Star caliber big men such as DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis will show Rajon Rondo averaging double-digit assist numbers many times this upcoming season. A change in New Orleans’ backcourt likely moving Jrue Holiday to the shooting guard slot and Rondo at the helm may be an adjustment, but only will help the Pelicans’ chances at success.

“We see where the NBA is going, we need as much help and as much talent as we can get just to match up with the [reigning champion Golden State Warriors],” Cousins explained. “We’re fully invested in this and we want to win.”

The new look New Orleans Pelicans will look to make a splash during the 2017-18 season and work toward their first playoff run since 2015.

 

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