Rajon Rondo’s time in Dallas is coming to an end. He was benched in Game 2 by Coach Rick Carlisle after playing only 10 minutes. He has been ruled out indefinitely with a back injury. This just means he is being benched and probably won’t suit up for the Mavericks again this season.
Rondo will be a free agent this summer and was expected to be a max player. That ship has sailed. He was willing to re-sign with the Mavericks if they offered him a contract but things have not worked out in Dallas. The Lakers might still make him an offer but it won’t be a max deal.
Rondo has not fit with the Mavericks at all. He improved their defense but he limits their space because he can’t shoot. He clogs things up and he is ball dominate. The Mavericks like the ball to move and flow between their players. Rondo likes to hold the ball and put people in position so he can get assist. He had three straight seasons of averaging 11 apg but he would pass up layups just to get an assist.
Rondo’s value has dropped since he had that ACL injury two years ago. His value continues to drop as this league evolves. Look at the dynamic point guards we have now; Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, John Wall and the list goes on. All of these guys can take over the game with their scoring or playmaking.
Not all point guards are created equal. Wall is not a great long range shooter but he is a threat to get into the lane and shoots a respectable 78% from the free throw line. Same thing with Westbrook, not a great shooter but can get to the basket and shoots 83% from the free throw line.
Not only is Rondo not a great shooter, he’s afraid to shoot and he can’t hit free throws. Look at a guy like Kemba Walker. He only shot 38% from the field and 30% from three. However Kemba isn’t afraid to take a big shot and actually hit some game winners for the Hornets this past season and he shoots 82% from the free throw line.
By comparison Rondo shot 42% from the field, 31% from three and 39% from the free throw line. 39% from a guard is unbelievable. Rondo is tied with DeAndre Jordon in free throw percentage. Jordan has taken 471 free throws and Rondo took 78.
On the season Rondo has made only 31 free throws. On two separate occasions this season James Harden has made more free throws in a three game span than Rondo.
Rajon Rondo’s game doesn’t translate to the type of basketball that is being played in the NBA right now. A similar player is Elfrid Payton. They both averaged 8.9 ppg and shot 42% from the field. Payton shot 26% from three and 55% from the free throw line. Rondo and Payton are the only top 40 scoring point guards to shoot below 60% from the free throw line.
However Payton is only 21 and coming off his rookie season. He can still improve his shooting. Rondo is turning 30, had major knee surgery and has not improved his jumper in nine seasons.
A team will take a chance on him during the off-season but it won’t be for a max deal. Point guards who can’t shoot or can get to the rim and knock down a free throw are not productive in this league, especially on winning teams.