The good news: Rajon Rondo is back. The bad news: It’s same the Rajon Rondo.
Again, it’s too early to pronounce the Mavs’ trade for the former All-Star point guard a failure. But even after his return from a one-game suspension there remain reasons for concern.
There are the ugly stats: Mavs were 19-8 before the trade; 20-14 since. Rondo’s assist-to-turnover ratio has dipped from around 3.1-to-1 in Boston to about 1.9-to-1 in Dallas. And, inexplicably, he’s just not making open shots: 40 percent from the field and only 28 percent from the stripe.
But this is also the awkward style.
Rondo is best, obviously, when he’s not in a shouting match with head coach Rick Carlisle. But he’s also excelled in the past at having the ball in his hands, probing, dribbling, driving, dishing. But in Dallas’ free-flowing style where the ball needs to float from player to player, he’s been an awkward fit so far.
In Saturday night’s ugly home loss to the mediocre Nets, Carlisle attempt to integrate Rondo’s strength’s into the offense by post up his point guard. It used to work with Jason Kidd. It remains to be seen if it will work with Rondo.
Bottom line: Rondo needs to be better, in all facets. With the ball. Off the ball. Shooting. One-on-one defense. Everything.
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Last Saturday night he missed six of his 10 shots and produced eight points, seven rebounds, six assists and four turnovers. The Mavs were minus-22 with him on the floor.
At some point the Rondo experiment has to start working. Monday night against the Pelicans would be the perfect place.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.