Rondo Brings Entertainment to Sacramento
The Kings got off to a very shaky start this season. Tensions between DeMarcus Cousins and Coach Karl were beginning to escalate and it seemed like Boogie was going to run Karl out of Sacramento. On top of that, their signing of Rajon Rondo seemed to be a mistake because Rondo’s play looked like it did when he was in Dallas. His season high for assists after six games was eight and the Kings were 1-7 collectively.
However, something clicked and now Rondo is taking us back in time when he was in Boston and revered as one of the best passers in the league. His recent stretch of scintillating performances was kicked off when he recorded a triple-double against Golden State where he had 14p/12r/15a in a nine-point loss to the hottest team in the league.
Pictured above are the point, rebound and assist counts that Rondo has put up over the Kings most recent eight games, which they’re 4-4 in. Something I excluded from the chart were his steal numbers, which have been consistent. Rondo has a steal in every game this season and has already posted multiple contests (6) with 3-4 steals.
The pick-and-pop with Cousins is turning into a great weapon for Sacramento because of Cousins’ willingness to shoot and Rondo’s unselfish play style. The defenders are forced to either help on Rondo or stay back and prevent the pass to DMC; if the defender helps on the drive, Rondo kicks it to Cousins and if Cousins’ man stays home Rondo shifts gears and takes it to the cup. Since the start of Rondo’s recent success, Boogie’s scoring is up from 22 PPG to 30.4. He was inactive for four games prior to the Spurs game on 11/09, but that average probably wouldn’t have deviated much. His FG% also improved slightly (42% to 46%) because Rondo generates easier shots for Cousins but it remains lower than what it should be because Boogie is attempting more threes.
This stretch by Rondo has also had a dramatic impact on Rudy Gay who’s now averaging 19.5 PPG on 53% shooting and prior he was at 17.1 PPG on 41%. Ben McLemore‘s improvement has been noticeable as well and he’s around 10 PPG and shooting 52% from three. His minutes have also been on the increase as Rondo can deliver perfect passes to a shooter’s pocket, like he does with McLemore.
There is definitely no shortage of outstanding point guards in the Western Conference – hell, the Pacific division has four really good point guards with Curry, Chris Paul, Eric Bledsoe and now Rondo. It’s going to be a challenge for the Kings to make the playoffs but if Rondo can sustain this level of play (and Cousins stays out of trouble) the Kings can turn into a team that the other teams in the west will have to start paying attention to.
*Video courtesy of GD’s Latest Highlights*
*All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference*