Hawks Player Previews: Rajon Rondo

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Continuing with our series of Hawks player previews, we move to one of Travis Schlenk’s newest additions, who happens to be fresh off his second NBA Championship run. If you’ve missed any of the previous pieces to this series, click the links below:

Player History

The world saw Rondo grow up with Boston over his first eight seasons in the league. He went from the albatross holding the Celtics back to a perennial All-Star that led the league in assists multiple times. However, his time in Kelly Green eventually turned sour, and Danny Ainge shipped Rondo to the Mavericks, which began a tumultuous part of his career, where his core values were questioned.

Rondo, who was expected to help turn the Mavericks into a legit contender, often found himself arguing with head coach Rick Carlisle — one of the most highly-respected coaches in the game. His failure to get along with his teammates in Dallas was also evident, and his all-around game suffered because of it. Eventually, the two sides decided to part ways after Rondo was benched in their playoff series against the Rockets.

However, it wasn’t long before Rondo re-announced himself to the league. He led the NBA in assists the very next season with the Sacramento Kings before spending a season with the Bulls. However, his real value was recognized with the Pelicans during the 2017-2018 campaign, where he lifted New Orleans to their first playoff series win — a sweep over the Trail Blazers. Rondo then helped the Lakers get over the hump this past season as their backup point guard on his way to his second NBA Championship.

Season Expectations

Travis Schlenk signed Rondo to a two-year, $15 million contract last month, patching up one of the Hawks most glaring needs. Last season, Atlanta had nobody that could successfully run the offense once Trae Young exited the game. That shouldn’t be a problem now, as Rondo’s veteran experience and passing ability will be more than enough to keep the Hawks afloat when the second unit is in the game.

Rondo won’t put up any career-highs in Atlanta. In fact, he may be asked to do less than he ever has in his career. However, where his presence will really show up is in the win column. Rondo knows what it takes to earn victories in this league, and that will be critical as the Hawks aim to take the next step and become championship contenders.

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