There are many things in this world that I don’t understand. I don’t understand how slinkys work. I don’t get the difference between an engine and a transmission. I don’t understand how Costco can sell a hot dog and a soda for only $1.50. And I sure as hell don’t understand why the Lakers would be interested in signing Rajon Rondo.
For some reason, there’s a lot of buzz these days around Rajon Rondo and the Lakers and I’m trying for the life of me to understand why.
First off, Rondo is not elite. Rondo never was elite. The Lakers should be looking for young players with upside. They might not be elite now, but they could be. We know what Rondo is and more importantly what he isn’t.
Rondo was a great distributor when he was surrounded by Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. Rondo was a great defender before he blew out his knee.
Today, Rondo is the wrench in the Dallas Mavericks offense. Rondo was supposed to be the missing piece on a talent-laden Mavericks roster. Instead, the free flowing offense has sputtered and Rondo has clashed with Rick Carlisle. Being a malcontent is kind of Rondo’s deal. He clashes with coaches more than oil clashes with water.
Rondo can’t shoot from the perimeter and can’t shoot from the foul line. He’s a point guard whose free throw percentage is lower than DeAndre Jordan’s.
That’s not a typo. Rondo is shooting 32 percent from the foul line compared to 40 percent for Jordan. Rondo could build an underwater hotel with all of the bricks he’s hoisting from the foul line.
In terms of efficiency among point guards, Rondo ranks 43d with a 13.37 PER. Current Lakers point guards, Jeremy Lin and Jordan Clarkson are 28th (15.55) and 32nd (15.15 PER) respectively.
Then there’s the age factor. It pains me to refer to a 29 year old as “old”, but investing four years in a marginally talented 29 year old is foolhardy. Rondo doesn’t rely on freakish athleticism like Eric Bledsoe or Russell Westbrook, but he’ll be 30 in year one with his new team and that’s not a road the Lakers need to take.
Before the Lakers decide who they should spend their money on, they need to find out if they keep their draft pick, and if so, who they take. If they end up with either Emmanuel Mudiay or D’Angelo Russell, signing Rondo will be moot.
Mudiay and/or Russell could team up with Clarkson to form a young, dynamic duo. That would also free the Lakers to sign a young, athletic small forward (Jimmy Butler or Tobias Harris) and/or a big man (LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe).
If the Lakers land Jahlil Okafor or Karl Anthony Towns in the draft, they would be better off signing Goran Dragic, Reggie Jackson or Brandon Knight.
Just because Kobe loves Rondo’s mean dog attitude doesn’t mean the Lakers should bite. The Lakers should have stopped catering to Kobe’s every whim the day he signed his current contract.
A Lakers rebuild doesn’t happen often, so when it does, they need to get it right. Signing Rajon Rondo would show that the Lakers are stuck in the past and blind to today’s NBA landscape.