The Chicago Bulls recently announced that they were releasing the veteran guard after only one season with them. The former All-Star didn’t have a great regular season with the Bulls; only averaging 7.8 points and 6.7 assists and barely scraping 40% from the field.
Chicago looks to be going into full rebuild mode with this move and the trade of Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. To see Rondo falter with another team is a real shame. Rondo is still one of the best point guards in the league on his day and can still be hugely effective if given the right scenario.
I believe that on the right team and with the right coach Rondo can become and All-Star again and show us why he was a vital part of the title-winning Boston Celtics in 2008. Here are three teams he would work well on.
3. Orlando Magic
Rondo’s game is unlike anything we’ve seen in the NBA. He is an incredible passer who can make the flashy dime as well as the smart and simply play. He was so effective in Boston because he had Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to work with and Doc Rivers knew he was smart enough to call his own plays on the floor.
Rondo needs the freedom and the pieces around him for him to be at his best; being the primary ball-handler for the offense, dictating which play to run and finding his scoring options in amongst that.
The Magic had another dismal season last year, going 29-53. They have some good pieces like Nikola Vucevic, Terrence Ross and Aaron Gordon but they don’t have anyone who can provide them with easy looks. Elfrid Payton is an ok PG with some potential, but he isn’t the leader that Rondo is or have the amount of experience.
2. Milwaukee Bucks
Next season can’t come quick enough if you’re a Bucks fan right now. They had a competitive playoff series against Toronto in the first round and they have one of the most exciting players in the NBA, both in name and in style; Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Greek Freak averaged 23 points, nearly 9 rebounds and 5.4 assists with 1.6 steals and 2 blocks a game. He is just beginning to show his potential and he’s not only an extremely talented young buck.
Jabari Parker averaged 20 points and 6 rebounds on nearly 50% shooting before going down with his knee injury. Hopefully, he comes back as strong as ever next season and will be as explosive as ever.
Currently, the Bucks have 3 players averaging above four assists a game as they have no real primary ball-handler. Adding Rondo would give them that guy they need; the initiator who can get the weapons Milwaukee has the shots they want. Rondo is also a good defensive guard who boasts a 6 foot 9 wingspan for 6 foot 1 guard. He perfectly fits the defensive style for Jason Kidd; using length to disrupt passing lanes, steal the ball and score on the break.
1. San Antonio
If last season’s playoffs proved anything it was that one player can decide a series. The Spurs were up 76-55 against the Warriors in game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, then Kawhi went down and the Spurs never recovered. Golden State swept San Antonio who never looked competitive.
However there was another playoff series that was decided when a player went down; the first round matchup between Boston and Chicago, and the key player was Rondo. The 8th seeded Bulls beat the 1st seed Celtics in games 1 and 2 in Boston and took everyone completely by surprise. But Rondo went down in game 2 with a damaged thumb and the Celtics then won the next four games and progressed onwards.
In his playing time for that series, Rondo was averaging 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10 assists a game with 3.5 assists. Rondo was being Rondo of the past with Boston; creating great opportunities for his teammates, rebounding way out of his position and stature, being a real pest on defense and scoring when he had the chance. He was the key in that series even though he wasn’t the best player on the floor, he was the difference maker.
Rondo has an extremely high basketball IQ, something valued highly by Gregg Popovich. San Antonio were in the running for Chris Paul, but he decided to go to Houston so the Spurs still really need a point guard. Rondo would fit extremely well as his team-first approach is reflected by everyone who plays for coach Pop plus the Spurs would still be able to keep that defensive identity that has made them 5-time champions over the Gregg Popovich era.