WHY YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE FORGOTTEN ABOUT RAJON RONDO BEING ONE OF THE BEST POINT GUARDS IN THE NBA
To say Rajon Rondo had a tough season last year would be the understatement of the year. No one in recent memory fell further down the NBA point guard pecking order than Rondo did last season.
After Boston struggling early last season, and with Rajon having some uncharacteristic performances, the Celtics decided to take a huge step towards their rebuilding future and offload their best player. They also said goodbye to their talented, and arguably second best player in Jeff Green. This continued to raise eyebrows on what exactly the Celtics were planning and looking to do with all these added Draft Picks and young talent.
Offloading Rondo was a huge decision for the franchise and letting go of their favourite son had some Celtics fans angry, upset and wanting an explanation. This anger and frustration eased for Boston as the season progressed. Somehow, even though unquestionably looking to start rebuilding and possibly tanking a little, they found themselves in the Playoff picture. Fan emotions were erased as the Celtics overachieved and made the Playoffs. Maybe Danny Ainge was a genius after all and they were heading in the right direction, but only time will tell.
The Celtic jubilation was accompanied by, and partly because of, what transpired in Texas as Rondo joined the Dallas Mavericks.
Maverick fans were excited and optimistic that the Mavs had finally landed the missing piece to their Championship puzzle, however it was plain to see that even after just a couple of games, Rajon and Dallas didn’t quite fit the way we all expected them to. The Mavericks looked scary and dangerous on paper, however their chemistry and flow couldn’t have been further from a serious contender, especially in the Western Conference.
Rick Carlise and Rajon grabbed the public’s attention after just a couple of games as they had a well-documented, media publicized on court argument that fuelled speculation that there may have been issues between the two and that they clash. Despite this, the Mavericks finished the regular season in reasonable fashion and entered the Playoffs with an air of optimism. The Mavs would be a matchup problem for anyone on their day, but only if they were firing on all cylinders and clicking with good chemistry. Dallas fans looked for Rondo’s Championship experience and pedigree to aid their cause, however, it was nothing but disappointment and disaster for Rajon and the entire organisation. It continued to worsen as Rondo saw considerably less game time and it was blatantly obvious that this promising prospect had failed miserably and run its course. This was confirmed as the Mavs fell to the Rockets in the first round, ending their season.
The situation got so bad in Dallas for Rajon that Rick Carlise was quoted saying that Rondo would never play for the Mavericks again, even issuing fines and withholding wages. Needless to say, Rajon got out of there as quickly as possible.
After the disastrous stint in Dallas, league experts and NBA fans alike had lost all faith in Rajon Rondo. No point guard in recent memory had lost so much respect and stock within the game in the short space of a year. It was widely expressed that Rondo was finished, washed up, his career was slowly ending and he had no value anymore. So much so, that no one wanted to take a chance or even express interest in Rondo until the Sacramento Kings took a chance on him and may have pulled off the biggest bargain and piece of genius in franchise history.
Not only has Rondo fit in Sacramento, he has flourished. So much so, that people are starting to say he is the “Rondo of old” and is in deep discussion for the top 5 point guards in the league at the moment.
You see, Rajon is a situational player. He isn’t a player that can play off the ball and is next to 0% effective when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands. In Dallas, Rondo had to share the ball handling with Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Wesley Matthews, Dirk Nowtizki and others. In doing this, Rondo cannot be dangerous or pose a threat to defences because he cannot hurt teams on the perimeter. He doesn’t stretch the floor due to not possessing a consistent jump shot, and doesn’t have an overall damaging offensive game. With so many players in Dallas needing to handle the ball to be effective, it was never going to work out for Rajon.
Flip the script in Sacramento, and the complete opposite is occurring as the Kings are letting him run the show and are flowing like a well-oiled machine. Giving Rondo all the freedom in the world to pull the strings puts the Kings in a position where they can execute the offense as they please, and everyone is involved to contribute. Throw in a dominant big man in Demarcus Cousins and a talented wingman in Rudy Gay and you have yourself a genuine Big 3. The Kings have hit the jackpot with Rajon and he has now reinvented himself. With his fantastic play, he seems like the league’s biggest bargain at only $9 Million for 1 year. He currently leads the league in Triple Doubles, playing heavy minutes and has been absolutely outstanding stringing wins together in Sacramento.
Rajon has proven he is still a mastermind and class act even in this golden age of point guards. He is a walking Triple Double with an amazing Basketball IQ and his feel for the game has never been better. He is playing heavy minutes, getting everyone involved and running the offense the way an offense should be run, utilising all the weapons at their disposal. Rondo is truly a dying breed of pass first, traditional point guards but it is pleasure watching him intelligently break down and pick holes in defences’ night in and night out. Still defending at an extremely high level and with the chemistry starting to come together, Rajon Rondo could very well lead the Kings organisation to the Playoffs and promise land they have been searching for after 9 years.
As long as the ball is in his hands, Sacramento Kings Gongfu Tea Cup can dream again.