DALLAS The acquisition of point guard Rajon Rondo by the Dallas Mavericks has turned the NBA on its collective heels.
That’s because now the Mavs have a top-flight defender on the perimeter to go along with a top-flight defender in the middle in center Tyson Chandler.
Rondo eats, drinks and sleeps defense and is one of the best in the game at delivering the ball to his teammates’ sweet spot. And for the Mavs, the best part about it is Rondo truly would rather see one of his teammates score than score himself.
Those prospect along makes him a likeable teammate. It helps, too, that Rondo has a quality resume and was the starting point guard when he, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen led the Boston Celtics to the 2008 NBA title.
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Thus, Rondo is already accustomed to playing sort of a supporting role while others share the spotlight.
The Mavs acquired Rondo and forward Dwight Powell from the Celtics on Thursday for forward/center Brandan Wright, forward Jae Crowder, point guard Jameer Nelson, a 2015 first-round draft pick, a 2016 second-round draft pick and a $13 million trade exception which Boston has a year to use.
One of the big problems the Mavs must be concerned with is Rondo’s offensive game. In coach Rick Carlisle’s flow offense, the ball is supposed to move quickly and often, and players often set up shop at the 3-point line.
Well, perimeter shooting is not exactly a forte of Rondo. And he could find himself in constant situations where defenders double-up other players and intentionally leave him wide open for the jumper.
In 22 games for the Celtics this year, Rondo averaged 8.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and a league-high 10.8 assists per game. But he only shot 40.5 percent from the field, 25 percent from the 3-point arc and a woeful 33.3 percent from the free throw line, meaning he is an offensive liability.
But since they lead the NBA in scoring at 110.1 points per contest, the Mavs know they already have enough offensive weapons. Defense, which has been a constant sore spot with this team, is where the gaping holes were located.
Rondo, who thrives on defense, can fill that gap on the perimeter while making live a little easier for center Tyson Chandler, who often finds himself cleaning up a lot of the defensive breakdowns that occur outside the paint.
Plus, with Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Chandler and Rondo, the Mavs have arguably the most potent starting five in the entire NBA. Only time will tell if an NBA title – this season – is next for the Mavs.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760