Are the Mavericks Better With Rondo?
On December 18th, the Dallas Mavericks acquired a four-time all-star to aid in their pursuit of a championship this season. The Mavericks picked up Rajon Rondo and Dwight Powell from the Boston Celtics for Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, a first round pick in 2015 and a second rounder in 2016. Since acquiring Rondo, have the Mavericks been better or worse?
The Mavericks played 27 games before acquiring Rondo as opposed to 11 with him. Before Rondo, The Mavericks primarily relied upon Jameer Nelson (sent to Boston in trade) and Devin Harris to run the offense. Nelson played in 23 of 27 games before the trade while Nelson has played in 35 of the team’s 38 games on the year. Dallas was sporting a 19-8 record before getting the star point guard, but have won seven out of 11 games since receiving Rondo.
Before Rondo, the team was averaging 110.1 points per game, but have seen that average drop to 106.3 points since Rondo entered the Dallas locker room. Even though they are scoring roughly four points less with Rondo in their lineup, their defensive efficiency has increased dramatically. Opponents scored roughly 103 points per game before the Mavericks acquired Rondo, but they are only averaging 98.8 points since the trade. The Dallas Mavericks were ranked 20th in defensive efficiency, but the addition of Rondo has vaulted them in the upper third of the league over the last ten games. Rondo has always been a solid defender, as evidenced by his 1,007 career steals and career average of just under two steals per game.
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The addition of Rondo has affected Harris, even though his sixth man role remains the same. The implementation of Rondo in the lineup is a major upgrade as opposed to Nelson. Here is a table illustrating the comparison of the three point guards’ statistics while playing for the Mavericks this season.
Rondo is an upgrade in every single category as compared to teammate Devin Harris and his trade counterpart Jameer Nelson. Rondo’s pass-first mentality bodes well for a starting lineup with the likes of Monta Ellis, Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons. Albeit they lost bench depth with this trade, Rondo gives this team a much better chance to win the championship this season. There is still plenty of season left to play and the Mavericks have quite a few tall tasks ahead of them. They have some big games upcoming in the near future that are definitely worth watching.
January 23rd, Mavericks vs. Bulls, Median Ticket Price: $80
This will be a big game for the Mavericks as they go up against one of the best teams in the East. The Bulls drew a lot of votes as the favorite to come out of the East this season, and this is a matchup between a “Beast of the East” and “One of the Best in the West.” In one single matchup, there are a lot of individual matchups worth watching, such as Rajon Rondo vs. Derrick Rose, Monta Ellis vs. Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol vs. Dirk Nowitzki, and Tyson Chandler vs. Joakim Noah.
January 27th, Mavericks vs. Grizzlies, Median Ticket Price: $15
These teams are sitting atop the Southwest division as of January 8th, and that could remain the same by the end month. These teams have played once this season and the Grizzlies won the December 9th matchup 114-105. Keep in mind, Rondo was not a member of the Mavericks for that contest.
February 7th, Mavericks vs. Trail Blazers, Median Ticket Price: $15
Thanks to great play by Portland and injuries to the Thunder, the Trail Blazers are holding a commanding lead of the Northwest division. These two teams met early in the year and Portland decisively won 108-87. The new look Mavericks have become more accustomed to one another and this game will be much closer than the first.
February 20th, Mavericks vs. Rockets, Median Ticket Price: $45
When these teams met back on November 22nd in Houston, the Rockets emerged victorious by a score of 95-92. However, what makes this matchup interesting is that both of these teams have made a significant in-season acquisition to help make their team better. The Mavs acquired Rondo, while Houston signed Josh Smith, who was waived by the Detroit Pistons. How much of an impact will the two new players make on this matchup?