Rajon Rondo finally made his debut for the Mavericks on Saturday night during a 99-93 win over an extremely short-handed Spurs team. Monta Ellis was the man in final minutes on his way to a game-high 38 points, and Rondo dished for nine dimes, but he again struggled to score, shooting just 3-for-11 from the field.
While a lot of basketball analysts claim Rondo isn’t the same player he was before tearing his ACL in Jan. of 2013, the games since then have been rather perfunctory, with the Celtics a long way from contention.
Rondo has always been rather bored unless he’s on a big stage, like a nationally televised game or the playoffs. Any drop off in his play seems relegated to his scoring ability, or shooting, and not his overall game. The fact the Celtics haven’t been competing for a title can’t be ignored, either.
He still sees passing angles some can’t even comprehend; open lanes that close before TV watchers can even grasp they exist. While there weren’t any assists last night that blew us away, Rajon still has a preternatural ability to get the ball to teammates in a perfect position to score:
Then there are those seven boards. Two of them were offensive. How many point guards so consistently help on the defensive glass, and find themselves capable of snagging a board on the offensive end to create another possession?
Rondo can’t shoot, and his right elbow flails to the side on his jumper. His mid-range shooting before his ACL tear was woefully underrated, though, as Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry showed in an excellent piece earlier this year.
While debating the merits of the trade with Boston will continue as we see the effects on Dallas’s championship aspirations, and the effects on a rebuilding Boston team, we’ll continue to think of him as a singular talent. Rondo is a pass-first — or pass-only — point guard whose only objective is a bucket, regardless of who scores. He’s just self-aware enough to know he’s not best bet to score that bucket.
(video via NBAShowtimeHD)
Will Rondo help or hinder Dallas’ drive for a title?
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