June 26, 2016, 2:23 pm
Vlade Divac has told multiple outlets that he is open to the idea of re-signing Rajon Rondo.
We’re not sure what basketball other folks were watching out there but what we saw for the Kings was some of the worst offensive basketball we’ve seen out of a high-utilization player in years.
Yes, some of that was tied to George Karl’s hair-brained offensive system, but at times we felt like Karl’s system was also being mangled by Rondo’s demands on the offense.
Chiefly, in the halfcourt he demands that he gets to survey the court, set up what he likes and then it becomes a game of what he can actually develop. Because teams go under on every screen against him and generally know what he can and can’t do, a very common result is over-penetrating forays into the paint or forced actions that yield bad shots for teammates.
Beyond that he does hit the occasional home run play and if the defense falls asleep he is adept at taking advantage of it. The part that absolutely brutalized the Kings, however, was the frantic and out-of-control pace he played at. The team typically looked rattled with him at the helm, as he constantly forced bad passes and a lack of organization prevailed. They rarely went to their best options or best matchups.
Ultimately, because he demands to have such a large imprint on the team and handles the ball so much, he might have had the largest negative impact that a player had on a team outside of Kobe Bryant last year. And though the Kings offense was middle of the pack (15th ORtg), it was actually a point lower with Rondo on the floor and it was 10 points higher with Darren Collison on the floor.
Though Rondo’s defensive rating (107) was middle of the pack for this Kings team and Collison’s was 112, watching Rondo ignore the defensive end of the floor was sort of awe-inspiring considering he was going full bore on offense and pushing the pace at every opportunity. To say he was gunning for stats would not get you laughed out of a room.
The pace of play both got the Kings easy buckets and also contributed to the 28th worst turnover percentage in the league. It also contributed to their terrible defense and got them out of quality matchups or key advantages they had with one of the league’s best post players in DeMarcus Cousins. Because teams did not respect Rondo’s jump shot he had a hard time making simple entry passes, which may have contributed to Rondo’s choice to deploy him more in the pick-and-pop.
If Karl was trying to make Cousins into a shooting guard Rondo was right there with him. He also influenced Cousins to continue battling with the referees, which is a loaded topic and also a battle that may never be won (at least until the Kings are winning).
There have been a lot of media that declared Rondo as having a ‘bounce back’ season and some that have written or said that he has had a great season, so there is a split in perception among folks about how wise bringing him back would be. Some believe the Kings and the Nets, presumably his only option because he does not want to be a backup, would get into a bidding war for his services. Team sources have said that this won’t be the case but they’re clearly stopping short of saying that they’re moving on.
The Kings have no single more important decision than this one. You can only go ‘full Rondo.’ There is no other way. He’s the coach, he’s the dominant voice, he’s the everything at that point for your ball club. And he’s going to run things his way.
Now Vlade and Co. need to decide if he can change the way he does that.