Rajon Rondo: Misunderstood and undervalued

Justin Ahrns Roar Pro

By Justin Ahrns, Justin Ahrns is a Roar Pro

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    Rajon Rondo is not the same player he used to be. He is not the player that scored 40 points in the playoffs against Miami, and averaged 12 assists in the 2011-12 playoffs.

    But that’s OK. Not many people are capable of doing what prime-Rondo was.

    His very short stint in Dallas left his legacy in question. His season in Sacramento was quietly terrific, as he led the league in assists per game. But because of the team’s struggles and the nature of playing in Sacramento nowadays, it went relatively unnoticed.

    Fast-forward to the 2016 offseason, and as Mike Conley signs a five-year, $150 million contract, Rajon Rondo settles for a two-year, $28 million deal – which many NBA executives thought he was lucky to get.

    Rondo made an instant impression on Bulls fans, as Chicago had a good start to the season, and Rondo notched a triple-double in a win against Cleveland. But as Chicago travelled to Dallas the next night, things took a turn for the worse.

    Rondo managed just two points and two assists as the Bulls fell to the lowly Mavs, and this was where the struggles for Rondo began. He soon found himself out of the rotation entirely, missing five consecutive games due to coach’s decision.

    He was then brought in off the bench for a long stretch of games, in which he admirably led the young bench unit of Chicago which was previously among the league’s worst. Fast-forward to today, and he is back in the starting line-up.

    This roller-coaster ride has further put a dint in the terrific career he was building. Fans of the NBA have seen him benched, fined for an altercation with an assistant coach and then confined to a role off the bench.

    What they haven’t seen is his support for Fred Hoiberg in a time where the city of Chicago is calling for his head. They haven’t seen the leadership he has provided to the likes of Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine.

    They haven’t seen his efforts to dive for a loose ball on the second night of a back-to-back. They have only seen what the media has shown them.

    His season has by no means been perfect. He let his emotions get the best of him on one occasion, and has not shot the ball as well as he could (39 per cent from the field.) He hasn’t been the old Rondo, but with an ageing body who would expect that of him?

    Instead he has worked hard, and accepted the role that he has been given. Despite the lack of communication from Fred Hoiberg, he has done all that has been asked of him.

    His time in Dallas will be an asterisk on his career – and rightly so. His attitude was poor and he hurt his team. But this season in Chicago should not take away from his days in Boston – but rather add to the resume he was building.

    What has been on display for all to see is his truly great basketball mind. Rarely has he made a poor decision with the ball, and his ability to read the defence and take what they are giving him is terrific.

    The Chicago Bulls as an organisation are a rabble, just as the Sacramento Kings were (and still are.) But Rondo has been the ultimate professional in the most trying of circumstances, and as NBA fans we need to appreciate what he is doing.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • March 21st 2017 @ 5:20am
      Jim Ella Pryor said | March 21st 2017 @ 5:20am | ! Report

      Well said. I agree with this. Yes he has and attitude but so do a lot of players. But so called superstars are allowed to have an attitude as long as they are healthy and playing well. I think I am Rondo biggest fan and always will be. Love you Rondo!!!!

    • March 21st 2017 @ 9:56am
      astro said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

      While I appreciate the impact injuries had on Rondo’s career, I can’t agree with the sentiment of this article.

      He’s not ‘undervalued’…He’s a PG who cant shoot, and even refuses to shoot, who chooses not to play defense. He’s even admitted this when playing for the Mavs.

      There are a heap of stories from the Celts, Kings, Mavs and now Bulls about his terrible attitude and inability to take on coaching or direction and being a bad teammate. During his peak, he was known (and there is evidence to prove this) that he improved his play when he was on prime time TV, then played worse during non-nationally televised games.

      Rondo is a mess and I was stunned when the Bulls signed him. In today’s game, Rondo is virtually unplayable. Teams can play off him because he can’t/won’t shoot and on defense, he’s a turnstile.

      Also, I’m assuming by the comment comparing Conley’s contract to Rondo’s that you think Mike Conley was overpaid? Apologies if that’s wrong, but if you do think that, whilst also seeing Rondo as being “the ultimate professional”…well… I don’t know what to say…

      • March 21st 2017 @ 2:21pm
        mushi said | March 21st 2017 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

        Wasn’t he hinted as the reason Ray Allen took less to leave for a bench role at the heat.

        • March 21st 2017 @ 2:49pm
          astro said | March 21st 2017 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

          And the reason why Doc left Boston?

      • March 21st 2017 @ 9:08pm
        Dr.Canuck said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:08pm | ! Report

        Rondo = team poison. The big three wouldn’t let him poison the Celtics…but once they split up his true colours came shining through. He’s torched every locker room he’s been in since.

      • March 21st 2017 @ 9:57pm
        Justin Ahrns said | March 21st 2017 @ 9:57pm | ! Report

        This is what I was referring to when I spoke of the media’s portrayal of Rondo. Many of the Bulls young guys have posted on social media about Rondo saying what an amazing influence he had on them, and he stood up for them when Wade and Butler called them about.

        Jimmy Butler called Rondo the best teammate he’s ever had, and Mirotic said he’s second behind Pau Gasol.

        Hence, the ultimate professional line. His time in Dallas wasn’t great, in fact it was terrible, but since then he has been great.

        And his shooting isn’t great, but the Bulls offense is a tonne better when he is on the court.

        Conley in my opinion was overpaid too, not by much, but i dont see him as a max deal player.

        • March 21st 2017 @ 11:59pm
          Mushi said | March 21st 2017 @ 11:59pm | ! Report

          Yep any time I can take recent platitudes vs a fake media seasoned veteran willingly earning less to leave a team he won a title with you have to take the platitudes

        • March 22nd 2017 @ 10:15am
          astro said | March 22nd 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

          Have to disagree with the idea that other than his short stint at Dallas, Rondo has been a model citizen.

          He was a disaster at the end of his time with the Celts…the owner called him “uncoachable”, there were reports of him breaking a TV when Doc was calling him out on his poor play, he said under Brand Stevens he “didn’t have to play defense” because Avery Bradley picked up his man. He was also fined for a gay slur at a ref, which was classy.

          His time in Dallas was obviously a nightmare…I’ve never heard of a guys own team opting not to give someone a share of playoff money, because they dislike him that .

          At the Kings, Rondo may have racked up plenty of assists, but he also said “you couldn’t name three people on my team, the Sacramento Kings, and I led the league in assists”…again, all class.

          And it took him 17 games before he was suspended at the Bulls for “conduct detrimental to the team”.

          All this along with a massive decline in his defensive effort and shooting. With all due respect, I don’t think he’s the guy young Bulls players should be looking to for guidance. Maybe the Bulls deserved to be called out by Butler and Wade? Either way, Rondo is terrible, and its not the media’s fault

          • March 22nd 2017 @ 11:26am
            mushi said | March 22nd 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

            Also there was some irony in how he “defended” the young guys saying vets shouldn’t call people out in the media via social media.

        • March 22nd 2017 @ 11:38am
          mushi said | March 22nd 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

          On the bulls offence being a tonne better. He ranks in the 60s for point guards on offensive RPM and the bulls apparently score 1.5 points/100 posessions more when he’s riding the pine.

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