Dallas Mavericks

Cuban, Mavs impressed with Rondo’s defensive mentality

BOSTON – Rajon Rondo has only been with the Dallas Mavericks for six games. But his reputation of being a pit bull on defense has already been noticed.

"He’s strong and he’s long, he’s through the pick with his arms before the guy creates contact,’’ owner Mark Cuban said. "That says a lot, and he knows how to play it.’’

Cuban and others around the Mavs’ headquarters compare Rondo to Jason Kidd, another heady big point guard with a penchant for defense. Kidd, who now coaches the Milwaukee Bucks, helped the Mavs capture the 2011 NBA title.

"If you understand angles, if you’re a student of the game and you’re watching the guy you’re guarding to understand what he does, that more than makes up for young, dumb and full of (energy),’’ Cuban said. But you get the point.’’

Rondo historically has been a poor shooter, much like Kidd was earlier in his career. And the Mavs truly believe, with time, Rondo will make some marked improvements in his shooting stroke.

"He wants to make himself a better shooter,’’ Cuban said. "If you’ve ever been in a company that’s failing. . .you know the effort isn’t the same, and it’s no different for that.

"He’s taking the shots. He’s not backing off from shooting the shots and he’ll work on his free throws and he’ll get there.’’