Playoff Success Will Decide If Rajon Rondo Stays


This article is moot if Rajon Rondo decides he doesn’t want to re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks –who maintain his bird rights and can offer him the most money– this offseason.

Last night, to our horror and deep, deep frustrations the Mavs lost their 4th straight game. It is their first four game skid in two seasons and obviously the longest of this otherwise mostly successful season.

January has been especially rough, though. That we can all agree on.

Rajon Rondo has had major struggles in the first flip of the calendar of 2015.

Photo Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

His basic numbers don’t stink, but I find those often don’t tell even half the story. Its the efficiency and the turnovers that are absolutely killing the Mavs, starting with their ball controller.

RR is scoring 8.5 points and grabbing 5.3 rebounds but from there it’s just not Rondo-like at all.

6.6 assists for someone leading the leading in that category when the Mavericks acquired him on December 19th. 2.8 turnovers are dreadful. 39% from the field is just as bad. I’m not even going to talk about three point percentage beyond this sentence, because yeah it’s not his game, but the Mavs as a whole need to improve there and he won’t have to take more than one or two a game…max.

Free throws are moot, 0.1/0.7 a night in January so far. But that’s something he wasn’t doing well in green or in his transition to blue at any point this season.

The Mavericks traded for Rondo in hopes that he would solidify their team for an upcoming run at an NBA title, adding a piece or two here or there to fortify the casualty of the trade: the bench.

The 2014-15 Dallas bench was not one of the better ones the team has had anyway. Granted, Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban’s clubs always tote extremely deep and balanced second units and sometimes, like in 2011, have some very capable players like Corey Brewer, Peja Stojakovic and Ian Mahinmi at the very end of the rotation.

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Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson and Jae Crowder were all sacrificed to bring Rajon Rondo to Dallas, as well as a first round pick and a second round pick.

Including the draft picks probably indicates to most of the NBA that the Mavericks will do whatever it takes to keep the four-time all-star in the Big D when his contract expires at seasons’ end…at all costs…likely a max contract.

Whether it’s a maximum deal or not, Rajon Rondo is going to command quite a bit of dough in the unrestricted open market. But the investment Mavs management made in Rondo this season doesn’t at all guarantee he will be a Maverick after the 2015 season sounds its final buzzer.

The players Dallas gave are all bench players, Brandan Wright being the only one with a really legitimate case to help a team accomplish something this season, Jameer Nelson a maybe-okay backup and Jae Crowder just hasn’t really developed into anything inbetween the lines.

Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The second round pick is an absolute wash, and honestly, the first round pick is totally meaningless to the Mavericks.

It will presumably be late in round one but even in recent years when the Mavericks selected in (2012) or near (2013) the NBA Draft Lottery, they traded down out of it to gather assets for the trade market, not the draft market.

And even when they use their first round picks, the history is bleak. Pavel Podkolzin, Maurice Ager, Roddy B, Dominique Jones and Jared Cunningham are examples of picks that made no impact for the Mavericks. The last first round pick Dallas made that was of any use was Josh Howard in 2003.

On top of all of this, the first round pick is protected. The Celtics are loaded with draft picks and signed off on this, so the Mavericks will have the pick in 2015 unless they totally bottom out.

Even still, it’s a pick that Boston will eventually have, just a year later than the 2015 second rounder they’ll acquire from Dallas.

I guess the point I’m trying to make, if I’m making one at all, is the Mavericks gave up nothing for Rajon Rondo.

If it doesn’t work out, he is a disappointment and the Mavericks are a first or second round exit and then Rondo wants a max deal, don’t be surprised at all if Mark Cuban cuts his losses and pursues Goran Dragic (player option) or Brandon Knight (restricted) in free agency this summer.

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Next: Game Grades for Loss in Houston