A couple of points that I shared around the web on the Dallas – Boston trade. It’s just something that I wanted to post on the blog as well, in order to archive my post-trade thoughts and hold myself accountable later one (or I’ll simply delete this post and act like it never happened if the trade works out for Dallas this year).
1) Dallas is already the most efficient offense in the league with a rating of 113.6. That’s crazy. They legitimately are competing with the best offenses of all time. Changing your point guard after one quarter of the season will disrupt this amazing start simply due to the fact that they will have to adjust. Moreover, Rondo might not even be the best fit as he is someone who likes to dribble the ball a lot, while Dallas plays a smooth and quick type of offense where they seamlessly go from one pick-n-roll to another or one drive and kick to the next one. A guy who would not get as involved and just shoot threes and space the floor like Jameer Nelson, might be a better fit for the purposes of the Mavs offense than the bad shooter and heavy ball handler in Rajon Rondo. A back-court of Ellis and Rondo also sounds a bit iffy on paper. Not saying that Carlisle and Rondo can’t make it work, but I expect their offense to get worse at least for the remaining time of this regular season. That’s the thing I don’t like about this trade since if you bring in Rondo, you supposedly bring him in for offensive purposes…
2) as he won’t make your already bad defense better. Dallas has been among the top10 worst defenses throughout the season and Rondo, even if improved on defense with extra motivation to try on that end of the court (which has been a popular narrative), won’t fix all of the perimeter leaks the Mavs have.
3) Those leaks will be extra hard to fix with Brandan Wright out of the picture. Not only is he the perfect cutter off pick-n-rolls who sucks in defenses to give more breathing space to just “okay” bench shooters like Devin Harris and Al-Farouq Aminu, him being traded leaves the Dallas front-court extra thin. They now only have three legit rotation bigs in Chandler, Dirk and Greg Smith, with Parsons and Aminu having to get even more minutes at the 4 in the future (and thus getting killed on the glass even more). Mavs are really banking on landing a solid veteran big in February who’ll be ready to play. They can’t miss with this move.
4) I like Rajon Rondo. He is a fun quirky character to have around the league. Per example, I like his attitude of not fraternizing with other players and his general moodiness as he differs so much from the majority of big names who tend to do so much with their PR and imagine in mind. But I’m not sure whether this post-surgery version of Rondo really pushes the needle. His shooting limitations are obvious and this year have been as bad as they have ever been (12/36 from the FT line). Moreover, he might be the only player in the league who you could call an “assist-whore”. He spreads the ball around and gets his team-mates great looks, but that reliance on his passing somehow manages to create an offense which has a ceiling of mediocrity. If you would look at Boston’s offense throughout the years, it has got worse with every season while Rondo’s role coincidentally grew bigger with every year.
All in all, I have to say – I do think that Dallas made the right move. It’s a trade that has implications on their future and it shouldn’t be graded based on this season. They got a capable and smart player who might get other players on board once he signs his new deal with Dallas and they shift into the post-Dirk era. But I just think that people are over-reacting by suddenly placing Dallas one tier higher than before. They were an outstanding offensive team as it was and their biggest shortcoming was their defense. That hasn’t changed. And as I said before – their offense might even suffer. They’re still a Western team whose run could possibly end in the first round as much as it could happen to any other team. In the words of The Wolf – let’s not start sucking each other’s dicks quite yet.
(sub-plot that I do think has kind of got fixed is that Dallas isn’t relying on the Nelson/Harris/Barea three-headed monster anymore. Let’s say they face OKC in post-season and Westbrook is going against those guys for 7 games. He could absolutely shred that point guard by committee formation. Rondo’s no world-beater on defense either but he’d have more size and just the perception of a more competent player for Westbrook not to be absolutely unleashed on him.)