Rajon Rondo had a good regular season for the New Orleans Pelicans but he has turned into an amazing conductor once the playoffs have started. He picked apart the Golden State Warriors defense with 20 assists and for every blown assignment the Warriors had on defense he took advantage of it finishing with 20 assists. When the playoffs roll around Rondo grabs his conductor hat and baton to get ready to create his masterpiece.
In the regular season for the Pelicans, Rondo ran the offense setting up teammates
consistently while averaging 8.2 assists a night and through seven playoff games he’s averaging a playoff career-high 13.9. He did the same thing last year, for the Chicago Bulls, he averaged 6.7 assists in the regular season and kicked up a notch once the playoffs began averaging 10 assists. He helped the Bulls take a 2-0 series advantage against the Boston Celtics before getting hurt and missing the rest of the series.
|16-17 Reg. Season||16-17 Playoffs||17-18 Reg. Season||17-18 Playoffs|
In game three he found teammates in several different ways, if they sagged too far off their man like David West did off of Ian Clark he fired a pass over to him for a wing three. When he brought the ball up the court, sees that he and Anthony Davis are in perfect position to put up a wall and he flicked the ball back to Nikola Mirotic for a deep three.
He really does a masterful job coordinating what he wants, at the start of the play he is directing E’Taun Moore to come off the flare screen being set by Davis. The Warriors did a good job covering that so he hit Davis. As that is happening, keep an eye on Mirotic who is about to gain a real strong post position with a great duck in. As soon the ball made it’s way a back to Rondo he without hesitation hit Mirotic for the layup. Then off the offensive rebound, he catches that both Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are out of position and Davis is open under the rim for another easy lay in. The same thing happens as he inbounds the ball on a baseline out of bounds play. Rondo’s vision is great but it is also his understanding of what is going on that allows him to make the right play. When he sees that Shaun Livingston is trailing the curling Moore, he knows just where to place the pass that will lead to a layup.
This last play is a great example of how he can manipulate defenders in the Pick-and-Roll. When he came off the ball screen he sees that Kevon Looney is in a drop position. He takes a little hop to his left and uses that to propel him to his right, this got Looney to react and opened up the passing lane to Davis.
Rondo is conducting a masterpiece these playoffs, he’s averaging a playoff career high in assists this year while the Pelicans are really doing some damage. It seemed the surly point guard was working his way out of the NBA but this season and playoffs have to have rejuvenated his career in the league. There are plenty of stories of “Playoff Rondo”, calling Davis in the middle of the night to discuss a play. There is one thing that is certain the Pelicans would not be in a position to tie the series on Sunday with the Maestro going to work.
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