The Chicago Bulls didn’t sign Rajon Rondo for his ability to score points. However, his shooting ability and decision making when it comes to shots has been horrendous. For now, it might be better he does as little of it as possible.
Rondo is a career 46.6% shooter from the field. He did pretty well with the Kings last season, 45.2%. He even did OK from beyond the arc for the first time in his career, making 36.5% of his shots. Despite the internal drama, Rondo seemed to be staying away from all of it. It was a rebound season for him after the way things were left in Dallas. Putting up solid, double-double numbers (led the NBA in assists with 11.7 per game), which helped him end up with a two-year, $28 million deal on the Bulls.
Leaving the whole personality “click” to a different time, it hasn’t been going well for Rondo next to two very dominant players like Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler, who don’t need him to create shots and opportunities for them. Rondo is also playing a lot less than last season (28.9 minutes, down by more than six per game). His assist percentage is down to 32.1% from 48%, despite his usage rate dropping by 0.6 points, nothing too drastic. He’s simply doing a lot less on the floor, in a team that’s not exactly built for 30 minutes of a ball dominant point guard.
But when things go really badly for Rondo, you see it in his shooting. So far, he’s making only 35.2% of his shots, taking just under nine per game. His free throw shooting is at its usual terrible 58%, while he’s hitting only 20% of his 3’s. Rondo is scoring 7.5 points per game, on pace for his lowest scoring average since his rookie season. Even his half season with the Dallas Mavericks produced better numbers.
Rondo actually started OK. After 1-for-9 on his debut in Bulls uniform, Rondo shot 54.2% from the field on his next three games. But in the Bulls last four, three of them losses, Rondo is shooting only 28.9% from the field, which hasn’t stopped him from taking more shot (9.5 per game). Twice he ended up making only 2-of-10. Both his true shooting and effective field goal percentage are below 40%, numbers that the Bulls can’t afford to see on Rondo’s stat sheet for much longer.
There are other ways Rondo helps out in, but one worrying sign is his net rating. He’s 0.6 plus per 100 possessions during his playing time, but the Bulls are better by more than 9 points per 100 possessions when Rondo isn’t playing. They’re really missing Michael Carter-Williams, and their defense has been a mess. Rondo starting to hit his shots won’t fix everything, but it’s a start. But considering they don’t lack offensive options, maybe he should give it a rest for the time being.