Rajon Rondo will debut against a skeleton Spurs club

Rajon Rondo will play his first game as a Maverick on Saturday night against the shorthanded Spurs.

Rajon Rondo will make his debut with the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night against a Spurs team resting their key players after two triple-overtime contests earlier this week. Rondo was traded on Thursday from the Boston Celtics along with Dwight Powell in exchange for Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson and two draft picks. The Mavericks introduced Rondo on Friday and coach Rick Carlisle announced that he would start against the Spurs.

Rondo will not have to worry about guarding Tony Parker, as the Spurs point guard is out with a hamstring injury. Kawhi Leonard (hand), Patty Mills (shoulder), Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan (both rest) won’t suit up either. The Spurs are coming off a brutal two games against the Grizzlies and Trail Blazers that went to triple overtime, which makes Gregg Popovich’s decision to rest his two veteran stars predictable. Even without their top four guys the Spurs are still dangerous, so the Mavericks won’t have a big margin of error.

The Mavericks are hoping Rondo can provide a defensive presence they have sorely lacked in the back court since Jason Kidd left the team. Tyson Chandler and Rick Carlisle see some similarities between Kidd and Rondo, as Dwaine Price of the Star-Telegram notes:

“I can see the parallels as far as two tough point guards, pass-first, gritty toughness,” center Tyson Chandler said. “They’re just selfless guys, guys that just simply want to pass the ball and don’t care about stats.”

“One of the other things I think that’s really interesting about [Rondo] and Jason Kidd is they’re two of the more resourceful guys you’re ever going to see in basketball,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “They just find ways to affect the game and help teams win.

“Guys like that you welcome into any situation.”

There are still doubts about how Rondo will fit in with the Mavericks’ league-leading offense that is predicated on spacing and how he handles playing off the ball next to Monta Ellis. The Jason Kidd the Mavericks enjoyed was a league average three-point shooter, something Rondo, for all his strengths, is not. The former Celtics point guard has struggled mightily shooting from outside the paint and is averaging 33 percent on free throws. It will be on Rick Carlisle to find a way to maximize Rondo’s impact on defense without letting his limitations harm the offense.

December 20, 2014 by : Posted in Uncategorized No Comments

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