Dallas Mavericks

Cuban sees Rondo as a winner with a lot of heart

BOSTON – Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban just can’t get enough of Rajon Rondo.

The Mavs’ newest point guard has impressed Cuban with his high basketball IQ and his ability to break down even the tightest defense.

"You can just see the dog in him, the winner in him, the heart in him,’’ Cuban said. "He’s coming in, he’s working hard -- Christmas night he was in here.

"People said, ‘Oh well, he’s a little bit different guy and everything.’ But the more I talk to him the more I like him. He’s actually really easy to talk to.’’

What’s impressed Cuban the most about Rondo is his analytic approach to games. The eight-year veteran craves the X and O part of the game.

"He’s super smart, despite the fact that he went to Kentucky,’’ said Cuban, an Indiana University graduate. "I know that’s an anomaly, but we’ll deal with it.

"I like him a lot. Any preconceived notions I had about him were wrong, in terms of off the court and how he is. Seriously, I can’t say enough just talking to the guy.’’

On the court, Rondo is a man of few words. Cuban just hopes the elite playmaker again lets his play do the talking when the Mavs (23-10) face the Boston Celtics (11-18) Friday at 6:30 p.m. at TD Garden.

Cuban dispelled any notion that Rondo is sullen and doesn’t care about engaging in conversations beyond what happens surrounding basketball. Quite the contrary.

"He’s been one of the easiest guys we’ve ever had for me just to talk to,’’ Cuban said. "I think he’s going to make guys better and the guys that we have here are going to make him better.

"I’m excited to see it all gel -- I’m not worried about if and when. As long as we’re healthy and in the playoffs, playing our best basketball at the end, we’ve got what, 50 games to prove it? That’s plenty of time.’’

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