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Now That Rajon Rondo is in Dallas, is There Any Reason for Him to Leave?

There will be plenty of bidders for Rajon Rondo, but none offer the winning pedigree that the Dallas Mavericks do.

Rajon Rondo

The Dallas Mavericks were already a very good team in the loaded Western Conference and one that seemed capable of possibly challenging for the conference title. That was before Rajon Rondo appeared on their radar.

They were humming along at 19-8 through Dec. 17. The next evening Rondo was obtained from the Boston Celtics, adding a winning pedigree to a roster of winners such as Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler.

Eight-plus years of mostly winning basketball before a Celtics rebuild was imported to Dallas and you can see the impact Rondo has on the game. After a 96-88 overtime win in Brooklyn in a game that many said they had no business winning, the Mavericks have won seven of nine games.

It’s a small sample size but each game has differing degrees of Rondo’s impact. In the first game of the Mavericks’ current winning streak, Rondo struck for 21 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. A week later in his return to Boston, Rondo had 29 on 12-of-19 from the floor.

That’s also why the Mavericks knew it wasn’t time to delay and drag their feet in getting him. They could have waited until the last minute before the deadline or any other time, but there was little doubt they had to make this move.

“If you can trade for a guy like Rondo, I don’t care when it is,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “I don’t care if it’s in April. You’ve got to take a shot at it.”

Even an off-night in one category doesn’t stop his impact in others. On Monday, Rondo had a 1-of-13 shooting night but while he reached double figures in shots taken, he also reached double figures with 14 assists and 10 rebounds.

If that sounds like someone else’s game, then you’re right. Those were the nights that Jason Kidd would have at various points. The shot wasn’t falling, but the timing of the passes was effective, his knowledge of where to be in position for rebounds are on point, and that’s what the Mavericks are seeing even if their 48.7 rebound rate is tied with Atlanta and Brooklyn for 21st in the league.

Even if the Mavericks are in the middle of the league in that category, Rondo’s rebounding of 12.2 leads all NBA point guards. It is 2.2 ahead of Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams and is the third-highest among any guard who qualifies.

“I had heard so many things in the immediate lead up to him being on the scene here before he was traded,” Mavericks play-by-play man Mark Followill told XN Sports. “You start asking around and you start hearing things and that’s the first thing people start talking about is his basketball IQ and the bottom line when you look at his numbers and his style of game he’s compared to Jason Kidd.

“So if you’re going to make a comparison to someone’s game to Jason Kidd than clearly being a high, high basketball IQ guy who sees the floor incredibly well is going to be what you’re going to think. When you’re a low point, high assist, high rebound players all of those attributes are Jason Kidd. If you’re rebounding well at the point guard position than clearly you’ve got to have a concept of angles and where the ball’s going to go off the rim and how to beat a person to the ball besides you own hustle and strength.”

So far, even with Rondo, Dallas has the league’s top offensive efficiency at 112.2 and its defensive efficiency of 103.3 ranks in the middle of the pack.

There is a possibility this is a short-term thing in Dallas for Rondo. He’s a free agent and a recent report in the Sporting News said Dallas did not concern themselves with seeking assurances that Rondo will re-sign. The usual names will dangle money at Rondo, who likely will hear from Phil Jackson in New York and Mitch Kupchak in Los Angeles, among other teams.

Those are nice dreams and wishes for those organizations and their fans but given the states of the franchises and other factors, why would you leave Dallas if you were Rondo?

“He’s one of the top point guards in the NBA and he’s got a lot of weapons around him,” Brooklyn coach Lionel Hollins said.

That sentence sums it up.

Sure playing with Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant might be nice. Once you move past that dream, your mind asks this question:

Would you go from 26-10 to play with either of those stars, whose teams have a combined record of 16-56 because they don’t have anything but the aspiration of cap space and a high lottery pick?

Based on Rondo’s pedigree of being around Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, the answer is no. The Mavericks certainly have a compelling case beyond this season for Rondo.

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