Why Rajon Rondo is a perfect fit for the Kings
By Nick Morelli
One of the most interesting moves of the offseason occurred when the Sacramento Kings signed point guard Rajon Rondo to a one year, $9.5 million contract. This was a noteworthy signing mainly because the Kings already have a talented point guard in Darren Collison on their roster, and also because Rondo just came off a disappointing season by his standards with the Dallas Mavericks.
The addition of the four-time NBA All-Star Rondo, however, should help the Kings improve in three areas: he will help decrease total turnovers per game, increase team assists per game, and aide in the team's shooting percentage categories.
“My feeling is that [Rondo's] a pass-first point guard, which I think is important and I think in the end it really excites me,” Kings head coach George Karl told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. “We can play with a lot of freedom and creativity but also play without turnovers.”
The Kings turned the ball over an average of 15.6 times per game last season, which was the fourth-worst average in the league. This is clearly an area that the team needed to improve in heading into the offseason, and signing Rondo should certainly be a big help. In his career, Rondo has an assist-to-turnover ratio of an impressive 2.94. In addition, over his career Rondo averages 2.8 turnovers per game, which is less than that of All-Star point guards Stephen Curry (3.2), John Wall (3.7), and Russell Westbrook, to name a few.
Rondo will also play a huge role in getting assists for his new team, which only averaged 20.3 assists per game last season. That was the fifth-worst average in the league last year. Even during one of Rondo's worst statistical seasons last year with the Mavericks, he was still able to average 6.5 assists. Over his career, Rondo averages 8.3 assists per game. In the 2011-12 season, the last season in which Rondo played over 50 games, the former NBA champion's 11.7 assists per game was the main reason why his Celtics finished second in the league in assists per game with 23.6.
Finally, Rondo's ability to find open teammates should lead to an increase the Kings' shooting percentage as a team. The Kings finished 12th in the league in field goal percentage (45.5%) and 21st in three-point percentage (34.1%). While Rondo is not known to be a good shooter, he is excellent at making the players around him better, particularly when it comes to their shooting percentages. During the 2011-12 season, Rondo was a key reason why his Celtics team shot 36.7% from three-point range, the seventh best percentage in the NBA during that season.
Rondo's skill set and past success on the court have his teammates very excited about his arrival. In fact, the Kings' starting small forward Rudy Gay was heavily involved in the team's pursuit of Rondo during the offseason, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. Even the Kings' All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins expressed his thoughts on the team's signing of Rondo.
“Dude is a flat out genius when it comes to basketball,” Cousins said.
Needless to say, the Kings' players and fans have a lot to be excited about this NBA season now that Rondo is a member of their team.
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