After being released by the Chicago Bulls on June 30th, point guard Rajon Rondo has yet to find a new team. His search for a new team may soon be coming to an end. News was recently released that Rondo will be meeting with the New Orleans Pelicans to discuss a one year deal. Despite the Lakers having interest in the veteran point guard, the Pelicans look like the front runner to sign Rondo at this point.
If Rondo does end up signing with the Pelicans, what sort of impact will he have on this team? Will he make them better? Does he fit their style of play? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons for New Orleans if they decide to sign Rondo.
The New Orleans Pelicans need more talent. Yes, they have two All-Stars in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, but after those two, the talent level significantly drops. Jrue Holiday is solid, but there’s no real threats on the team after him. Rondo is an experienced NBA point guard who knows what it takes to be on a winning team. Despite being on bad teams recently, as well as a down year last season, Rondo still has the talent to help a team win. The Pelicans didn’t do much in the NBA Draft, and they didn’t sign any big names in free agency. Rondo is their chance to add a player who can help this team win. For a team that won just 34 games last season, they need all the talent they can acquire. Rondo is one of the better talents left in free agency.
Even though the Pelicans added DeMarcus Cousins last season, they were still a bad team. Part of the reason for this, is because Cousins and Davis were learning how to play with each other. This Pelicans team needs to develop some chemistry if they want to start winning. Adding Rajon Rondo would help the Pelicans gain some chemistry. Rondo and Cousins were teammates during Rondo’s one year in Sacramento. The two former Kings players were pretty good friends during their playing days together. Cousins has been spending this offseason working out with Anthony Davis. If Davis and Cousins have developed a good chemistry, and Cousins and Rondo already have good chemistry, that would help this team greatly. No doubt they’d still have a lot of work to do when it comes to building that chemistry, but Rondo would add to what they have now.
Rondo is one of the better defenders in the league. Throughout his career, Rondo has averaged 1.8 steals per game. The Pelicans ranked 10th in defensive efficiency last season, which is pretty good, but it’s not elite. Adding Rondo would help New Orleans improve on defense. He can harass people on defense. As we see from his numbers, he creates turnovers. Rondo is also one of the better rebounding guards in the league. He has a career rebound average of 4.9 per game. A Pelicans team that ranked 13th in total rebounds per game last season, could use Rondo’s tough rebounding from the guard position.
Offense runs through Rondo
This is a con that has potential to be a pro. I’m not saying anything bad about Rondo’s passing abilities. The guy has averaged 8.5 assists throughout his career. He had a down year last season, but he also did when he played for the Mavericks. Then he led the league in assists the next year. I’m just not sure if having Rondo run the offense for this team is the right fit. Anthony Davis and DeMarus Cousins are going to dominate the ball on offense. They deserve to have the ball in their hands. If Rondo is used correctly in their offense, this could potentially be a pro. He could create better shots for his teammates, specifically Davis and Cousins. I just don’t think he should be used as a ball dominant player on this team.
The Pelicans have two big threats on the inside, but who’s on the outside? They don’t have a lot of scoring threats from outside. They ranked 19th in 3pt percentage last season. Rondo would give this team another non threat from behind the 3pt line. He’s only shot 30.4% throughout his career. The past three years have been his best from the behind the 3pt line (35.2%, 36.5%, and 37.6%). Those percentages are good, but he only averaged about two 3pt shots a game. While he has improved his 3pt shooting ability, I don’t see him as a 3pt shooting threat, and I don’t think other teams do either. Having no real outside threats allows teams to put more defenders on Cousins and Davis down low.
Pros Outweigh Cons
Overall, I think the signing of Rajon Rondo would be a good move for the Pelicans to make. Rondo has his flaws, but he’s better than the other guards New Orleans would have on the floor. I don’t think signing Rondo would boost the Pelicans to championship contender status by any means, but I do think he’d help them be more functional all around and be an improved team. Possibly a team that makes the Western Conference playoffs.