Because he’s the point guard in charge of running the show, Rajon Rondo has created a whole different set of dynamics for the Dallas Mavericks that’s usually sorted out in training camp and during the preseason.
But because Rondo was traded to the Mavs 27 games into the season, modifications have to be done on the fly to make his union work.
“We have different players now,” coach Rick Carlisle said beforeTuesday’s game with the Phoenix Suns. “There’s an adjustment period and we’re going through that right now.”
The Mavs experienced a similar adjustment period when they acquired Jason Kidd from New Jersey in February 2008. Dallas was 35-18 before Kidd showed up and stumbled to a 16-13 record the remainder of the season.
Rondo is averaging 10.7 points and 9.3 assists in three games with the Mavericks. But his new teammates are still getting used to a point guard who rebounds, plays defense and isn’t an accurate outside shooter.
How long the adjustment period lasts is anyone’s guess.
“Not very long hopefully, but it’s work,” Carlisle said. “We have different dynamics, we have different personnel personalities, and so putting it together is a process and we’ve got to expedite it as best we can.”
Several things can be done to expedite the process. The Mavs just know they have to be patient until Rondo gets acclimated to his new landscape.
“We’ve got to keep it as simple as possible on the one hand, but we’ve got to tweak things that need to be tweaked,” Carlisle said.
“Some of this is just purely personnel based and some of the X and O strategic stuff. But our problems the last two games have stemmed more from our deficiencies defensively than different dynamics offensively.”
Lob dunks traded?
One important element of the Mavs’ offensive game that vanished with Thursday’s trade is the lob dunk.
Prior to the trade, the Mavs were being compared to the originators of the lob dunk — the Los Angeles Clippers — by utilizing center Brandan Wright. But after Wright was traded to the Celtics in the Rajon Rondo deal, the Mavs had no lob dunks in the next two games.
But Carlisle insists the lob dunk didn’t leave with Wright’s departure.
“We haven’t had many the last couple of games, but it’s just going to depend,” Carlisle said. “It’s a little bit has to do with, you take away one sky-walker that takes away a lot of your opportunities.
“But I’m not so concerned about dunks right now; I’m concerned about getting stops — that’s where our focus has got to be. If we get some more stops it’s going to generate better offensive opportunities for us.”
The Mavs’ bench came up big in Monday’s 105-102 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, scoring 43 points and keeping the game competitive in the second half.
The bench obviously changed when Wright, Jae Crowder and Jameer Nelson were traded for Rondo and Dwight Powell.
“You don’t like giving up good players in trades,” Carlisle said. “But if you want to get All-Star caliber guys like Rondo and good prospects like Powell, you’ve got to give up some guys.
“We’re learning about the new guys as quickly as we can. They’re both working extremely hard.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760