The Atlanta Hawks acquired their first style on Monday evening of all of the methods Rajon Rondo goes to assist get them into the postseason.
It took Rajon Rondo two video games to outlast COVID-19 protocols earlier than making his Atlanta Hawks debut towards Detroit. The everyday caveats of early-season basketball towards a subpar Pistons staff deserve acknowledgment, however the early returns have been encouraging sufficient so as to add layers to the thrill brewing in Atlanta.
In a 128-120 victory to assist the Hawks transfer to 3-0 on the season, Rondo put in 12 factors and a game-high eight assists. He shot 5-of-8 from the sphere and 2-of-3 past the arc. In his quarter-hour of motion, Rondo dedicated only a single turnover.
A two-year $15 million contract agreed upon between Rondo and Atlanta was met with cautious optimism over the offseason.
The Hawks have been determined for some extent guard to regular an offense that cratered within the absence of Trae Younger final season. Although all the time a revered basketball thoughts, it was Rondo’s efforts in serving to the Lakers to the 2020 championship that fostered hope in his capability to nonetheless contribute on the court docket.
Nonetheless, the 34-year-old’s efforts have come to historically wane in the course of the common season. That hole in play was a minimum of stomachable on a Lakers staff whose postseason bid was by no means doubtful. Atlanta wanted one thing a bit extra secure to assist break by way of to that subsequent stage.
Rondo has all the time been the cerebral sort to view performs steps forward and create open appears accordingly. Younger is reduce from an analogous fabric, rating second in assists final season with 9.3 a sport. Alongside along with his elite outdoors shot, the All-Star guard is aware of tips on how to leverage the house and motion of people to get straightforward pictures, powering Atlanta’s offense to a top-five mark (112.6 offensive ranking) in his minutes.
Sadly, Jeff Teague, the backup for a great chunk of the 2019-02 season, didn’t provide those self same playmaking traits nor did anybody else on the roster. It’s why the Hawks offensive ranking fell to 98.5 when Younger sat, which might’ve been by far the worst within the league.
There’s nothing particular about Rondo’s first help as a Hawk. A easy center screen-and-roll attracts Jerami Grant to tag the rolling John Collins, leaving Solomon Hill open in the appropriate nook. However one other ground basic who can react to and execute the only of reads off of essentially the most elementary play in basketball is a luxurious the Hawks didn’t have.
Rondo checked into the second-half of play with 3:55 left within the third and Atlanta up seven. Detroit reduce a as soon as double-digit lead all the way down to single digits. A younger staff just like the Hawks nonetheless studying tips on how to play successful basketball would probably start to spiral with ill-advised appears making an attempt to finish the sport earlier than the ultimate buzzer.
You possibly can think about then what the presence of a two-time champion may do to regular a ship starting to sink. By the point Rondo checked out on the 6:43 mark of the ultimate quarter, the Hawks’ lead had elevated to 18. It was in that stretch the place he scored eight of his factors — together with two 3-pointers, considered one of which was a buzzer-beater to finish the third — and dished out 5 of his assists.
Atlanta’s starters completed it off from there, however not with out its backup level guard winding up with the very best web ranking amongst Hawks gamers within the fourth quarter. Whereas Trae broke even in just below 33 minutes on the evening, Rondo was a plus-eight in his quarter-hour of taking part in time.
Head coach Lloyd Pierce has fairly the rotation to iron out in making an attempt to assist Atlanta squash a three-year playoff drought. 10 gamers noticed a minimum of 10 minutes on this sport. Not even taking part in have been Danilo Gallinari (foot) and Onyeka Okongwu (toe).
So many high quality gamers in want of minutes would require sacrifice, however Rondo is unlikely to be concerned in any sort of minutes discount.
The Hawks signed him to assist fill any quantity of the numerous playmaking void left throughout Trae’s relaxation durations and to make sure the outcomes of these minutes are as painless as attainable. If his first sport was any indication, Rondo, even at this stage of his profession, stays able to a lot extra than simply taking part in placeholder.