The Kings have played three preseason games and it’s time to make definitive statements like this: Rajon Rondo is Back.
Maybe it’s only preseason and these games don’t mean anything. Maybe it’s just that a Kings fan like me isn’t used to watching someone actually leading the team, getting assists and finishing at the rim. And maybe the supposed powder keg that is the Sacramento Kings will explode into chaos and Rondo will be the one to light it.
But in a preseason game against the Spurs (minus almost all the Spurs starters and even Pop) Rajon Rondo almost had a triple double. Rondo also took over the 3rd quarter himself solidifying a lead and the Kings went on to win. Rondo is looking good and is poised to have a comeback season. So what does this mean?
Rondo The Starter
With Rondo racking up assists and being the very vocal leader of the team already, the starting point guard position will be his. That means we are going to be seeing Rondo and DeMarcus Cousin’s pick and roll a lot this year. And even though Rajon Rondo’s shot isn’t going to concern many defenders, it doesn’t matter.They have to worry about Boogie getting the ball and destroying defenders around the rim or hitting his signature mid range shot. That, or Rondo cuts in for a lay up. People will be talking about this pick and roll.
Rondo The Floor General
Even when he’s not on the court, Rondo doesn’t stop talking and is leading the team from the bench. He is even drawing up plays for Coach Karl. If Rondo wasn’t physically up to par this season, his leadership was what was expected from him. So at the end of the games, even if Darren Collison is in at point guard, Rondo is still the leader of the team.
Rondo The Finisher
George Karl’s offense is really spreading the floor with Cousins not just posting up down in the paint. Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein are constantly moving and setting screens. With this kind of set up we will hopefully see less of the Kings’ chronically bad play of dribbling into traffic and turning over the ball.
The other team’s defense will be spread out, which will leave lanes open for Rondo to slash in for lay-ups. This is where Rondo will get all of his points. And it is also where he will hopefully passing out to the wings for threes.
Rondo The Handler
Turnovers have plagued the Kings for years now. Cousins tries to take the ball up the court too often. Rudy Gay’s crossover is too high. Ben McLemore’s handles are still a weak spot. Darren Collison, even as an above average guard in the league, turns it over too much.
Rondo can turn the ball over as well, but with him in control of the offense and distributing the ball with greater accuracy. I’m predicting the turnover number to decrease this season. It really isn’t too much to expect, is it?
Rondo The Free Agent?
That’s the problem with Rajon Rondo rediscovering his groove, what happens next year. When the Kings picked him up for a one year $9.5 million contract, one of the criticisms was that if Rondo does perform well this year, he is just going to take off to a bigger market and a better team.
And that is a very real possibility. Everybody is excited for the new Golden 1 Center opening next year, but players don’t sign contracts because of new arenas. The Kings would do well to listen to a piece of advice from me and show him the money to try and convince him to stay.
I know, I know, this season hasn’t started yet and it’s silly to worry about next year already. But like Rajon Rondo, the Kings should always be thinking several moves ahead.
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