Amid turmoil, can Rajon Rondo turn things around in Dallas?
Rajon Rondo has always been a prickly personality whose competitive and combative nature is sure to rub some people the wrong way. But when the Mavericks acquired the point guard on Dec. 18, the move was met with near unanimous praise. Dallas lost some depth in Brandan Wright and Jae Crowder, but a starting lineup of Rondo, Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons was expected to help the Mavericks keep pace in the brutally tough Western Conference.
Things haven't quite worked out. Rondo's poor shooting has cramped Dallas' spacing and his ball-dominant nature has clashed with coach Rick Carlisle's offense, which is heavy on ball movement.
Even without the drama, Rondo has slowed down the Mavericks' once-prolific offense. Dallas is averaging nearly nine fewer points per 100 possessions with Rondo in tow, though their defense has picked up with him around:
Rondo's personal numbers haven't dropped off much, and his usage rate in Dallas has actually increased. But the point guard isn't allowed to dominate the ball like he was in Boston, and he's nearly useless when asked to stand in the corner of the Mavericks' offense:
Leaders like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, as well as coach Doc Rivers, were able to control Rondo's eccentricities in Boston and fully unleash his talent. Whether Carlisle is able to do the same will determine what the Mavericks' ceiling truly is.