The Resurrection of Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo has had an up and down last three seasons to say the least. The former Boston point guard has seen his career get back on track with the Sacramento Kings. Rondo was drafted by the Phoenix Suns, who then traded the crafty point guard to the Celtics.

In the early years with Boston, Rondo was a setup man for the “Big Three” of Celtics legend Paul Pierce, sharpshooter Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Rondo soon blossomed into one of the leagues best setup men. Rondo made four consecutive All-Star appearances from 2010-2013. Within those years, Rondo led the NBA in steals (189) and steals per game (2.3) in 2010. In 2012 and 2013, the Kentucky product led the NBA in assists per game and triple doubles.

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He was also a defensive stalwart for the Celtics, being named to the NBA All-Defense First Team twice, and the Second Team twice. But after the disbandment of the Big Three, Rondo’s last three years in Beantown were anything to be desired, which began the rebuilding process of Rondo’s career.

In the 2012-2013 season, Rondo tore his ACL midseason right before the All-Star break. That injury ended his season and limited Rondo to just 30 games the subsequent season.

The next year, with the Celtics clearly looking for a rebuild, started shopping Rondo. Eventually, Boston found a trade partner for Rondo and sent him to the Dallas Mavericks for a package that included Jae Crowder and a first round pick.

Rondo’s time in Dallas was disastrous to say the least. Rondo missed some time after being hit in the face by teammate Richard Jefferson. Then, after an argument with head coach Rick Carlisle, he was suspended for one game. The relationship from then on went downhill fast. In the playoffs, Rondo was ruled “out indefinitely” with a back injury. But questions whether the injury was legit or not began to surface. Was the injury made public because Rondo didn’t play? If the injury was legit, how did it happen? Rondo is a tough player (remember when he dislocated his elbow in the playoffs and returned later in the game?), so why can’t he play through this? So even before his contract was up, it was easy to see his time was up in Dallas.

Rondo signed on with the Sacramento Kings this season and he looks like a born-again Rondo. He’s playing with fire, intensity, and of course, great passing skills. rondo.0.0.gif

That play last night against Oklahoma City is just classic Rondo. For  a 6′ guard, he’s actually a very good rebounder (just under five a game for his career). Then he had the presence of mind and absurd idea to kick it out to Marco Belinelli for a wide open three.

Rondo is averaging a double-double on the year, something he hasn’t done since 2013. Rajon is also shooting 36% from three, and as a 27% career three point shooter, it wouldn’t surprise me if that number dropped. But as of now, it’s a pleasant surprise. Rondo leads the NBA in assists with 10.9 a game. As previously mentioned, Rondo’s a solid rebounder, and as of today, he’s pulling down 6.8 rebounds a game, which would be his career high (was averaging 7.5 per game for the Celtics until he was traded to Dallas, where he averaged 4.5). As for his defense, Rondo is averaging 1.9 steals per game. If that number stands, it would be his most since 2011. If Rajon Rondo keeps up his success, it could lead to yet another All-Star performance.

It’s really quite a shame that the Kings are terrible. They have good pieces, like Rondo, Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins, but they can’t put it together. All three of those players have huge egos, something many people, myself included, wouldn’t work too well. But Rondo seems to have found a good situation for himself in SacTown. No pressure to win really, and he has some guys who can put it in the net with ease. As a Rondo fan, I hope he continues this success. Rondo may have an ego, he may even be a downright jerk sometimes, but Rondo is a tough player and leaves it all out on the court. It’s always nice to see a player like Rondo re-find his role, niche and skills after they had all seemingly evaporated. So here’s to Rajon Rondo, keep doing you, and no one will complain.

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