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Hey Deadspin! Rajon Rondo Isn’t Back To Being “A Great NBA Oddity”; He’s Back To Playing Chess To Your Checkers

December 9, 2015

Deadspin’s Tom Ley has a nice appreciation today for Rajon Rondo’s rejuvenation as a Sacramento King after his lost half-season with the Dallas Mavericks last year.  Rondo’s back to leading the league in triple-doubles. He’s back to being, pound-for-pound, the best rebounder in the NBA, and averaging almost as many assists (11.0) as points per game (12.5).

And he’s back to making plays like this:

What makes this a great play isn’t, as Ley argues, that Rondo leaves Trey Burke “dazzled by an oddity“.  It’s that Rondo starts the break and after his second dribble sees Rudy Gay breaking open down the left wing, starts to make a backcourt behind-the-back pass to Gay and:
  1. sees the angle that Utah’s second defender, Rodney Hood is taking,
  2. realizes Gay will have an easier shot if Rondo can change Hood’s direction,
  3. changes the behind-the-back pass to a behind-the-back dribble, thereby
  4. taking Burke out of the play, and
  5. forcing Hood to lean in Rondo’s direction; then
  6. takes one more dribble before
  7. whipping the pass to Gay as he enters the paint and
  8. dunks and draws the foul on Hood.

Rondo analyzed and executed all that in about 1.2 seconds.  Twelve hours later, Tom Ley (apparently) still hadn’t recognized what Rondo did.

But Ley shouldn’t feel too bad. Neither do most NBA fans.

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