This season the Rockets are closer than ever to becoming true contenders in the NBA. They added a ton of key pieces to their roster in Dwight Howard and Omri Casspi, Terrence Jones has developed into a starter, they managed to re-sign Francisco Garcia and Aaron Brooks, and they even picked up Ronnie Brewer to help on the defensive side of the ball. Jeremy Lin has stepped his game up this season and could quite possibly be the sixth man of the year.
That being said there are some things that are clearly lacking on this team that are blocking them from being the contenders that the Rockets should be. The Rockets have plenty of hurdles to overcome. Perimeter defensive woes, a stagnant offense when the opposing team runs a zone defense, poor coaching, Harden's hero ball, a lack of interior defense when Howard sits, a lack of effort, inconsistency from the PF position, a lack of ball movement, and especially turnovers. Obviously some of these things cannot be fixed in one season let alone a quarter of a way into a season but many of these issues can actually be fixed by acquiring Boston Celtic’s point guard Rajon Rondo.
Perimeter Defensive Woes
Something that is truly lacking on this team is a culture of defense. While most of this should be attributed to the coaching staff I believe that acquiring a guy like Rondo will help immensely in starting to build a defensive culture. Playing defense is something that Rondo does extremely well. He is known for getting steals and grabbing the defensive boards. I think he is the type of player that will hold his team accountable for playing defense when he is on the court.
Lack of Ball Movement
Another thing that Rajon Rondo does very well is move the ball. He has averaged over 11 assists a game from 2010 – 2013. There is no reason to believe that will change as soon as he comes back from his injury. Having him on the floor does not stop the ball from moving because he loves to pass the ball to his teammates. It sure would look really nice seeing Alley Oops from Rondo to Howard and Terrence Jones.
Lack of Effort
Rondo loves to win and I think that he is the type of guy to get in people’s face if they are not showing an effort on the court. I know a lot of you think that will be a bad thing but I think it would be a great thing for this team. They need someone to hold his fellow players accountable and I don’t think that guy is on this roster right now. Rondo could be that guy.
Hero Ball and Turnovers
Something I personally am a little tired of seeing in games is Harden getting the ball and allowing the clock to wind down with only a second left to shoot a ridiculous shot that almost has no chance of going in. Running the offense through Rondo would take the ball out of Harden’s hands which puts a stop to the hero ball as well as cuts down on the turnovers that Harden makes when he has the ball in his hands.
Rajon Rondo - 2013 Jump Shot Improvement || HD (via Production'sOfTheWorld)
I know that a lot of you will point to Rondo’s attitude and his demeanor but I think a lot of the issues that have come up about him in regards to that have been overblown. He has worked extremely well with KG, Paul Pierce, and even Doc Rivers for the last 4 years. The only guy that he had a problem with was Ray Allen. Allen is a great guy and a really good basketball player but sometimes people just don’t mesh well. Some of you will point to the widely held opinion that Rondo can’t shoot at all. I think over the past two seasons that Rondo has improved immensely in shooting. Go back and watch some of his film if you don’t believe me. Finally the last thing people will point to is the fact that he is coming off of an ACL injury. While it is true that he is coming off of an injury, I am of the opinion that it is nowhere near as bad as Derrick Rose’s. Rondo even played a whole quarter on the torn ACL before he even found out about it. Acquiring Rondo will help this team immensely in getting them an NBA championship and that is why the Rockets need to go get him now.