The Sacramento Kings took a huge gamble on a player no one wanted a part of in the offseason, Rajon Rondo. While things could be better obviously for the team, it’s safe to say they’re pleased with the risk they took on him so far.
Rondo was coming off the worst season in his career with the Dallas Mavericks. He didn’t get along with the players nor his head coach, and during the first round series of the playoffs against the Houston Rockets was pretty much thrown off the team. He didn’t follow directions from the bench and showed little effort as the season went on, on both ends of the floor. Rondo won’t admit it, but he deserved to be viewed as huge risk after last season.
I think it made me hungrier. I never started doubting myself. It made me work a little bit harder. I think I worked the hardest I ever worked in the NBA this summer. I’m a competitor. I never doubted myself. All these people have counted me out since I got in the league, so it never made me any difference. I kept myself around positive people, got a great support system and just kept at it. Every relationship doesn’t work. It just didn’t work. No excuses. No pointing the finger at anybody. It made me stronger, made me appreciate just playing the game, especially playing at a high level. I never doubted myself. It just didn’t work. Try to keep staying positive, but things just didn’t work out for the best for either side. And that’s just part of it. Every player, every coach doesn’t always see eye to eye. Every team doesn’t fit every person’s style of play.
Rondo sure looked hungry as the Kings faced the Mavericks for the first time this season, scoring 21 points against his former club. Rondo couldn’t do it without pissing off Rick Carlisle, pushing himself into a conversation between the coach and Deron Williams, which resulted in Carlisle telling him to “get the f*** out of here“. Rondo said it wasn’t the first time he heard that coming from Carlisle, which makes sense.
All the talk of Rondo not meshing with George Karl? So far that’s been debunked. He’s averaging 12.9 points with a league best 10.7 assists, also shooting 44.2% from the field, his best since the last time he made the All-Star game in the 2012-2013 season. An interesting change has been playing more next to another point guard. Defensively, for both him and the Kings, things need to look a lot better, but they’re one of the best offenses in the league and in the Karl way of running things, eventually it should be enough to win more than they lose. Keeping Rondo happy is an essential part of that plan.