Somehow we saw this coming. A once and mighty king lost his crown and tried to get back everything that was once his.
The Sleep train arena in Sacramento has a lone championship banner from the 1951 Rochester Royals. It was nowhere close to Boston’s 17 championships with one coming from Rajon Rondo’s 2008 team with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. This wasn’t the right place for Rajon, with a dysfunctional team and coach trying to get rid of their franchise player in Demarcus Cousins. Sacramento unloaded players to free cap space hoping to sign up one marquee player that could take them to a playoff run. Nobody really came, they wanted Monta Ellis or Wesley Matthews but both players took less pay to play with Indiana and Dallas respectively. The 2008 Rondo has no business of being in Sacramento, but the current one does.
After tearing his ACL last 2013, Rajon was a different player. His career average while he was playing with Dallas plummeted, even his free throw shooting came out a few percentage short of 40. Rondo and free spirited shooting guard Monta Ellis didn’t fit well on the court. Rajon demands the ball most of the time, and becomes more of a liability without his jumper. His rants and emotional fits with his coaches has been well documented. Somehow everything is falling against Rondo, but it wasn’t abrupt, it was something that happened gradually. Rondo is a brilliant player with high basketball IQ. But he was widely misunderstood. He was like an old oak tree standing right into the busy streets of New York City.
It will took a special coach like Doc Rivers to somehow come up with the right buttons to push to make Rondo Click.
“He knows all the plays, knows all the actions and can think two, three moves ahead. He’s freakishly smart.” – Kobe Bryant
Dan Brown on his book Inferno told us that “Nothing is more creative… nor destructive… than a brilliant mind with a purpose.” A blessing and also a curse.
With all the setbacks, Rondo will have a chance to get back to his once All-star glamour. But it would be on a different challenge. As he gradually self-destruct. With a surgically repaired legs, how much is left? Will he be a good fit to Demarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay who shoots and demands the ball most of the time? Will he meshed well with George Karl?
This might be his last chance, last chance to get back to winning and last chance to prove everybody wrong. In order for everything to work, you get to follow the system, and Rondo has to change for the team and not the other way around.
The lone championship banner along the Sleep train arena, and Rajon’s 2008 Championship with the Celtics, symbolizes that they are once kings and champions of basketball.
Yes, Sacramento isn’t the right place for Rajon Rondo.
But it’s the only place.
It’s now or never.