Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past 24 hours you probably know that the Dallas Mavericks made a trade. Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, and two draft picks were sent to Boston for Rajon Rondo and rookie big man Dwight Powell.
Sounds great, right? Well Rondo isn’t quite the known commodity he once was. He’s had injury problems in recent memory, most notably a partially torn ACL in his right knee back in early 2013. He also suffered a broken hand this offseason when he slipped in the shower…or took a spill at a trampoline park…
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There have been whispers that Rondo has regressed while others say he’s as good as ever, just not in the right system. The point is that Mavericks fans don’t really know what to expect from their new starting point guard or who the heck Dwight Powell even is.
So, we linked up with our pals over at Hardwood Houdini for some insight on what to expect from our newest Mavs.
Dec 10, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) drives against Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) during the second half of the game at Time Warner Cable Arena. Hornets win 96-87. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Congratulations, Dallas! You just acquired one of the NBA’s most polarizing players!
Fans of Rondo call him the best pure point guard in the NBA; detractors, a ball hog who wouldn’t hit the ground if it wasn’t for gravity. Some Celtics fans will tell you that Boston now has no chance of luring free agents to come pay for the Celtics, while others will tell you to just ask Ray Allen what it means to play alongside Rondo, and if he would ever do it again.
And of course you have the supposed rift between Rondo and Doc Rivers, which implies Rondo is a coach’s worst nightmare . . . unless you watched Rondo immediately mesh with Boston’s Brad Stevens, which could mean the Rivers-Rondo feud was blown out of proportion.
Never a dull moment with Rajon Rondo!
Without a doubt, Dallas gets an upgrade in the point guard department, which should make every Mavericks fan happy given the wealth of outstanding point guards in the Western Conference. Yes, Rajon Rondo doesn’t shoot a very high percentage, and his free-throw shooting makes him a small liability in the closing minutes of a tight game – but out of all the point guards in the West that Dallas may have to face in the playoffs, Rondo has something that only Tony Parker shares: NBA Finals experience, and a ring to boot.
Rondo will run the pick and roll and the fast break to perfection, and he rebounds like no other guard ought to, as he is grabbing 22.3% of the available defensive rebounds when he is out there – insane. I don’t buy into the “elite defender” hype, but it’s clear that he is one of the NBA’s better defenders at the point guard position, as evidenced by his making the All-Defensive team four times. He is averaging close to two steals a game, so if Dallas can couple that with players leaking out in transition, the Mavs are due for a lot of easy buckets.
Honestly, I started arguing that Rondo would benefit from a trade last week, based on the fact that the offense that Brad Stevens is running, and the current Celtics’ roster, do not fit Rondo’s style of play. One only has to look at the success he enjoyed with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen to understand that he CAN make a good team a great team, and I sincerely hope he makes that kind of difference in Dallas.
Oct 22, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics forward Dwight Powell (12) drives the ball against Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic (33) in the second half at TD Garden. The Celtics defeated the Nets 100-86. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Canadian-bred Dwight Powell is an intriguing talent. Not getting enough hype out of his four-year career at Stanford, Powell was drafted in the late-second round by the Charlotte Hornets. He then bounced around and has been involved in three different trades this year. Now before Maverick fans think he will be released or traded, let’s take a look at his body of work:
-two-time all Pac-12 first-teamer
-part of a NIT championship squad in 2012
-averaged 14 PPG and 7 RPG on a deep Stanford squad in his senior season
Not bad accomplishments for a guy who has already been on four different rosters. Analyzing his brief stint in the D-League/NBA, Powell oozes potential for Dallas, a team that is in need of a back-up center thanks to the Rondo trade. He is 6’11 without shoes, a legit 7-footer on the court, and Powell has a 7″1 wingspan. Not eye-popping attributes, but 7-footers not named Kwame Brown are hard to come by.
The best and the worst thing about Dwight Powell, he can do a little of everything. Then why didn’t he get minutes in Boston? Well, Boston had the frontcourt stacked with young guys who are more accomplished than Powell (Zeller, Olynyk, Sullinger). Powell never stood a chance, considering that he isn’t great at just one thing. For a 7-footer he’s mobile, can shoot a little bit outside the paint, pass the basketball, run pick and rolls, and is taller than everyone else on the team other than Dirk.
So, Mavs fans, before you just take Rondo and run, give Powell a shot at your back-up Center position. You don’t have much to lose and it’s not like he will be playing a huge role considering Tyson Chandler racks up 30 minutes a game.
For those of you who want to follow your former Mavs’ careers with the Celtics, make sure to give Richard Spalding (@theamazingMrS), Stephen Varnum (@steviechillz), and Bobby Krivitzky (@Bobby_K91) a follow on twitter!