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Damaged Goods

NBA Finals Game 7:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

Remember when the Boston Celtics’ new era big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen first assembled? Remember how the biggest questions surrounding that team pertained to Rajon Rondo and his growth, maturity and play? Years have passed since those questions, that team in particular was relevant. But the questions pertaining to Rajon Rondo have resurfaced and will more than likely remain for the rest of his career.

At one point of time Rondo was regarded as the best point guard in basketball. He was a better defender than most, if not all. He was a better rebounder than every other guard. And his playmaking ability was second to none. Some would often harp on his inability to score; while others would simply imply that his scoring wasn’t required. Rondo’s overall game reminded people of Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd two first ballot Hall of Famers who led their teams without having to score.

Whenever the Celtics’ games were televised Rajon Rondo would have ridiculous numbers. He had games where he posted 32pts 10reb & 15ast, 10pts 10reb & 24ast and a game where he posted 18pts 17reb & 20ast ( there were some games better than these). There wasn’t another point guard in the league who could impact the game in the ways Rondo did. Point blank period.

Los Angeles Lakers v Boston Celtics

Some thought Rondo was a legend in the making, while others viewed him as a player who was a product of his environment.

After five years of proving he’s among the NBA’s elite, (4x All-Star, All NBA Team, 4x All Defensive Team, NBA Champ,) and finally taking the reigns of being the Celtics’ best player, Rondo tore his ACL amidst a career year (arguably). The Celtics’ championship window closed as well as Rondo’s quest in becoming an all-time great.

Once Rondo tore his ACL the Celtics starting rebuilding. They had already lost Ray Allen a season before via Free Agency. And decided that now it was time to part ways with Doc. Rivers, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Although injured, Rajon Rondo’s name was constantly linked to rumors. (Pacers, Lakers, Kings, Rockets, Heat etc.)

With Garnett and Pierce in Brooklyn, Doc. Rivers in coaching the Clippers, Ray Allen in Miami and best friend Kendrick Perkins playing in OKC Boston was no longer familiar, no longer a place Rondo wanted to be contrary to what him, his representatives and GM Danny Ainge wanted us to believe.

The following season (2013-14), Rondo returned to the lineup and played in the final 30 games averaging 11.7 points 5.5 rebounds and 9.8 assists. In the games he played he looked a lot like his former self skill wise, but mentally and physically he seemed a tad bit slow and uninterested.

Following the season the Boston Celtics drafted PG Marcus Smart, who many thought spelled the end of Rajon Rondo’s tenure in Boston. At that point in time the team was no longer being built around Rajon. It was being built for life after Rondo.

Initially the plan was for Rondo to teach, mentor and provide the younger Celtics with leadership. The problem with that was how Rondo wasn’t a leader himself. He needed a someone to babysit him; he was incapable of babysitting others.

In the 22 games Rondo appeared in for the Celtics he was pedestrian at best. His defense had plummeted, his quickness wasn’t up to far, he was a liability on the offensive end, his playing time was diminished and the team did significantly better when he was on the bench. Those observations should’ve been a red flag for any team trying to trade for him; not an excuse on why a change of scenery was needed.

After weeks of killing the Celtics the Mavericks traded for their cancer. ”Allegedly” the Mavericks were getting the piece that would propel to them to the top. Instead they got a piece that stagnated, rather derailed their changes of getting over the hump.

The Mavericks were a poor rebounding team and were very mediocre on the defensive end. With Rondo being a guard who excelled in those aspects the assumption was that he’d change those problems. The only thing that changed with his arrival was how great the Mavs were offensively and their chemistry.

To be fair, point guards generally take a long time finding themselves when shipped to a new team. Instead of focusing on the regular season and his putrid performances there we would always elude ourselves into believing his play would rise in the playoffs like they generally would.

After two playoff games Rondo pretty much quit. Like Melo in New York, Rondo checked himself out and used the injury excuse because he no longer wanted to play. Everything had to be about him.

When you think about it Rondo really isn’t the player, the guy we make him out to be.

For starters, Rondo isn’t a true leader. In Boston he was shielded and coaxed by guys like Pierce, Allen, Garnett and Doc.Rivers. As a rookie he had guys like Sam Cassell and P.J. Brown around. All of those guys mentioned were leaders at one point; some were often cited as great leaders. In Dallas no one outside of maybe Tyson Chandler is considered a good leader. Dirk & Monta Ellis are often thrown under the bus for their leadership skills or lack thereof. When surrounded by subpar leaders (hence another Melo similarity) Rondo’s game folds.

Another knock on Rondo is how he just pissed on an opportunity to compete for a championship. The Mavericks have/had enough talent on the roster to make a legitimate push for a title, but because of Rondo’s arrogance and selfishness that goal faltered.

When evaluating Rondo’s play his game is a bit tedious. He’s a step slower than most of the guards at this point. He can’t shoot in a league where shooting is a necessity. And his playmaking ability isn’t as good as we once thought. If Rondo can’t over dribble and hold the ball for an excessive amount of time his not going to be a great playmaker. In today’s game his ball stopping style (Melo reference #3) won’t fit in most if not all of today’s offenses.

Honestly, the game has moved past Rajon Rondo. He’s not a top 40 player. And he can’t run a team that would be functional in the league today.

Teams like the Lakers, Kings, Heat and etc should stay away. If he quit on a team that close to a championship why wouldn’t he quit on a team that’s further away? If he quit on a team that was in the rebuilding phase why wouldn’t he quit on another?

Max dollars shouldn’t be thrown his way. He’s not that top level guy anymore. And he never will be again. Headcase, arrogant and selfishness are the traits of a team killer. Teams should be wary.

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Twitter:
@FortOnSportsInc & @RyanDFort

Do you agree or disagree with this assessment of Rondo?

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Rockets (2) vs Mavericks (7) Preview : City Tension

Houston Rockets (56-26) vs. Dallas Mavericks (50-32)

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Dating back to the T-Mac & Yao collapse against Dallas, maybe even before then the Mavs and Rockets have had a huge disdain for each other. The owners dislike each other. The players dislike each other. Simply put, everyone within each organization dislikes the other. Basketball aside these two cities often get in disputes on which city is the best in Texas. This matchup gives us our first series that features two rivals……. Man this is going to be fun.

The Rockets haven’t been healthy for most of the season and made a few in season acquisitions to shake up an injury riddled roster. Houston brought in power-forward Josh Smith and ex-Maverick (championship squad) Corey Brewer. MVP candidate James Harden kept the Rockets afloat while Dwight Howard was out of the lineup due to a few nagging injuries. With Harden playing at an MVP level, Brewer and Smith leading the bench and Dwight Howard back from injury the Rockets are going to be a tough out.

The Mavericks, like the Rockets, also made a few moves. The Mavs traded for point guard Rajon Rondo and signed forward Amare’ Stoudamire mid way through the season. Before the trade the Mavs were arguably the best offensive team in basketball. After the trade however, the Mavs took a step back in all aspects of the game. With that being said the Mavericks finished the season on a minor role going 4-1 in their last five games.

Starters:

PG: J.Terry vs. R.Rondo

SG: J.Harden vs. M.Ellis

SF: T.Ariza vs C.Parsons

PF: D.Montiejunas vs. D.Nowitzki

C: D.Howard vs. T.Chandler

Mark Cuban has already started the war of words. He claimed Houston wasn’t a good team outside of James Harden and they are a very predictable foe….. Back during free agency Rockets GM, Daryl Morey, said that Chandler Parsons wasn’t a max guy and basically dissed him. To rev things up even more the Rockets traded for ex-Mav Jason Terry knowing they had intentions of bringing him back….

During the regular season the Rockets beat the Mavericks 3 out of 4 times. The games were competitive but Harden just seemed to be too much for the Mavs. There shouldn’t be much stock put into that record though knowing the Mavs are a different club in the postseason.

Keys:

Houston

The Rockets are an explosive team that relies on shooting the three and getting to the free throw line. In this specific series they can’t be a run and gun team. They have to defend and dominate the inside. If Dwight can have his way with Chandler and he dominates the glass the Mavs won’t be able to pose much of a threat. (Horrible rebounding squad.) The Mavericks also don’t have a player that can guard Harden one on one. His size alone is another aspect of the game Houston should take advantage of.

Dallas

The Mavericks are a better offensive and defensive team than the Rockets. The main problem they have is being consistent. In order to beat the Rockets the Mavericks need to force someone other than Harden to score. If they can make shots consistently, rebound and defend Harden the Mavericks will win the series. It’s time for playoff Rondo and playoff Rick Carlisle. If Carlisle’s schemes are being run to near perfection and Rondo is right this series will end quickly.

Prediction Mavericks upset the Rockets 4-2. The Mavericks have more experience and in my eyes just might be the better team in general. Houston lives and dies by the three and they have no clear cut 2nd option to be exact. Harden still has to prove himself to be a playoff guy and Dwight has to prove he’s serious about winning. Too much trying to prove and won’t be enough doing. The Mavericks have it.

What Should The Mavs Do Part 2

After doing my first post about the Mavs offseason, ( http://wp.me/p33YLP-5q) I have had some time to think and do my research.So here are the people I think the mavs should Sign or try to sign.

1. Chris Paul.
After losing in the First Round of the Playoffs Paul said he wasn’t sure if he was coming back or not. And i know Mark Cuban would LOVE and I mean LOVE to have Paul and Dirk together. Paul would be the superstar guard that the Mavs need and would lead the Mavs back to the Playoffs, maybe even the Finals. But just remember I said maybe.

2.Andre Iguodala.
Iggy may not be an allstar, but he is a good player and I think he would be a great pick up for the Mavs. He brings athleticism,defense, and he’s a great player on the wing. Iggy has a player option this offseason so who knows if he will stay in Denver or not. But a guy can dream right?

3. Drum roll please……….. Dwight Howard.
For the past two years Mark Cuban has let go of good players and broke up his championship team just to get this guy. Every one knows that Dwight had a bad year with LA and he didn’t seem that happy either; Dwight wants to win and Dallas gives him that opportunity. Howard brings rebounding, DEFENSE, and a nice low post game. Dwight and Dirk?!?!?! Now that’s a great big man duo.

4. Monta Ellis.
Yes I said it Monta Ellis. The guy is a great scorer but is too undersized to play shooting guard; so that’s why you move him to point guard. In today’s league having a quick point guard that can score is a deadly combination , and Monta is exactly that. If the Mavs fail with Chris Paul I think this would be a great backup plan.

5. Al Jefferson.
6″10 290 pounds they don’t call him Big AL for nothing. The jazz have been shopping Jefferson for the past year or so, but now that his contract is up he’s free to go, and Dallas is a good place to go. Jefferson and Dirk have identical games, but with Jefferson being big he can get it done on the low post. Bringing in Jefferson would make the Mavs look like the Grizzlies in a way.

6. Brandon Jennings
Jennings is a straight up baller. He has only been in the league for four years now and I have noticed that he has been getting better by the year. Now if you’re Dallas you have to be thinking that this is the guard of the future and if Chris Paul decides to go back to the Clippers Jennings will be the best point guard on the market. Signing Jennings gives Rick Carlisle a chance to develop a young and up coming superstar guard.

7.Eric Bledsoe.
When Chris Paul was out who stepped up for the Clippers? You guessed it right Eric Bledsoe.l Bledsoe is 23 years old so that gives the mavs a guard for the future. I don’t think Bledsoe is a max contract player, but he is a player to watch out for in the offseason.

8. Josh Smith.
During the trade deadline the Hawks were actively shopping Smith, but no deals were done because Smith wants a max contract. I don’t believe Smith will get a max contract, but I do believe that Smith and Dallas could be a good fit for each other. Smith can play the Small Forward position and the Power Position, if the Mavs bring in Smith it gives them an athletic big man that could spread the court.

9.OJ Mayo
Mayo already showed what he can do if he is the superstar of the team. So why not sign him back. Mayo is on the right track to becoming an allstar shooting guard.

Now I know you’re saying what about Tyreke Evans, Devin Harris, David West and etc, but I think these 9 players I named give the Mavs the best chance of winning. I know that the Mavs can’t sign every one on this list, but I think if the Mavs can get at least 2 of these players on this list they can be a great team.

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Kenton Adams

What should the Mavs do this off-season

After a 41-41 record this year and not making the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, I think it’s easy to say that the Mavs have some rebuilding to do. The Mavs have a lot of cap room this summer since the only people who are under contract are Dirk, Jae Crowder, Jared Cunningham, Vince Carter, and possibly Shawn Marion.

After looking at those players it doesn’t look like they have a chance to make the playoffs again. But luckily for the Mavs you have a great owner in Mark Cuban; which means the Mavs are going to do it BIG in free agency.

With names like Josh Smith, Monta Ellis and Dwight Howard all in free agency this year I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mavs land two huge superstars. So here are the things I think the mavs should do in free agency this summer.

Number 1: Keep OJ Mayo. Mayo was a huge part of the Mavericks winning when Dirk wasn’t there, even though he didn’t finish great at the end. I believe that he could be the next allstar guard for the Mavs.

Number 2. Sign a point guard!!! The Mavs didn’t know what to do this year with the point guard position. Mike James and Darren collision kept switching in and out the starting job nearly every night. I think it’s a must to sign a point guard this offseason.

Number 3: Get you a superstar for years to come. As we saw this year Dirk isn’t getting any younger and with him being injured for the most part of the season the mavs didn’t have that superstar every night to go to. With superstars like Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Josh Smith, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul all out there, there should be no excuse to get at least one superstar this offseason.

 

 

 

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Kenton Adams