20 December 2014

Does Rajon Rondo make the Mavericks title contenders?

(USATSI)
We have not even reached Christmas yet and we already have the first big splash of the NBA season. The Celtics and the Mavericks agreed on a deal that sends Rajon Rondo as well as Dwight Powell to Dallas in exchance for Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, a conditional first-round pick, a second-round pick in 2016 as well as a trade exception. It's a bold move for Dallas, could be it one that could provide some separation in a deep Western Conference?

Even with mediocre play at the point guard position, the Dallas offense has been wildly efficient all season long. Now they will add one of the top pure playmakers in the game in Rondo who is excellent at finding his teammates and setting them up for good shots. Rondo was at his best when he was surrounded by Boston's Big Three in Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and with weapons at his disposal such as the ageless Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Monta Ellis and Tyson Chandler, an explosive offense may be even more fun to watch.

And while Rondo may be an overrated defender, he still brings a defensive upgrade at the point for a team that hasn't defended well all season long and his long arms could be useful on that side of the ball. Also, he rebounds very well for a point guard and that is a spot that Dallas has struggled at this season.

But even while the Mavs appear to acquire Rondo at a discount, there still is some risk here. First, Rondo is coming a torn ACL a year ago and does have a reputation as a bit of an enigma, potentially messing with the team's chemistry to this point which has been key to their offensive success. Also, Rondo is on an expiring contract and while it is expected that he will re-sign long term in Big D, it isn't a guarantee yet. Plus it will be interesting to see how he fits next to Monta Ellis, a player used to having the ball in his hands.

Plus the Mavericks did give up some valuable pieces. Wright has played very well behind Tyson Chandler this season, shooting a ridiculous 75% from the floor, and now in his absence, the team has no reliable big men on the bench (hence why they are aggressively pursuing Jermaine O'Neal). Nelson is a shell of himself during his Orlando days but he's a good shooter. Crowder can be a useful player on the wing as a three-and-D guy.

All in all for the Mavericks, it is a move with risk but one I think is worth taking. Should they be adding a motivated Rondo, he can potentially put them over the top but even then, they still are not the favorites in the Western Conference.

As for Boston, obviously I think they would have liked to have gotten more out of this deal but the market simply was not there for Rondo to get some significant pieces back but they do have some tools to work with. Wright and Crowder will be free agents this summer, with Crowder being restricted, but both can be useful. Wright isn't a great defensive player in the paint but he has shown to be a pretty good finisher, and Crowder could be a strong defensive presence on the wing. Both, as could Nelson, could be useful trading chips as well and Nelson could be a mentor for rookie Marcus Smart in the meantime. Considering when they were trading Rondo as well as the lessened market for him, they did not make out too terribly with this move.

No comments:

Post a Comment