Rajon Rondo is a guy you don’t want to play against. That’s the only thing that’s been true about Rondo no matter where he’s been — throughout his triumphant Celtics years right through his Dallas Mavericks debacle, when Mavs coach Rick Carlisle found himself pretty much playing against Rondo (despite being on the same side). Because Rondo, now the Chicago Bulls starting point guard, is not only a high-IQ guy, but a tremendous athlete. This guy can grab 20 rebounds in a playoff game, while playing the point.
Rondo led the NBA in assists last year, a fact many overlooked because he did in Sacramento. But it’s testimony to a fact: Rondo’s hardly on the slide; when he’s focused he’s still the guy you don’t want to play against. And Rondo seems very focused on his Chicago sojourn, settling in early. Even head coach Fred Hoiberg is singing his praises, which hasn’t been a coach’s M.O. on Rondo in years — despite George Karl’s tepid kindness in Sacramento. Hoiberg said of Rondo: “his voice has been off the chart, really since he’s been here back in August.” It’s not so much the vocal contribution there that surprises Rondo watchers, but the dedication. Rondo settled in Chicago months early, trying to make himself at home there. He wants to know “three ways to the arena,” he says. Once he arrives, of course, he’ll continue to be what he’s always been: tough to play against.