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The Riddle of Rondo | Chicago Bulls Confidential

The Riddle of Rondo
Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune

Rajon Rondo moves the ball down the court during the first half against the Lakers at the United Center on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016.

Many hands make light work.

This is a mantra that I’ve taken upon myself to remember over this holiday season, with countless things to take care of it’s difficult to handle everything on your own. Keeping this in mind, I need your help. What are the Bulls going to do with Rondo? Sometimes he’s great and other times…not so much. Help me make sense of it.

Since coming into the league in 2006, Rajon Rondo has a championship to his name, several All-Star game appearances, a killer nickname, and has been able to distribute the ball just as well as anyone in the league. So what’s not to like? For starters, how about Rajon’s inability to abstain from Rondoing.

Rondo・ing – noun:

  1. the act of pulling a Rondo.
  2. to wreak havoc, cause a stir, or the basis of dysfunction.
  3. to show off your basketball IQ.
  4. commit a turnover that makes you yell at the television.

“Did you see that guy Rondoing?” “Yes, he threw a towel at an assistant coach.”

“Wow, Rondo was Rondoing there.” “Seriously, what a pass.”

As someone who hasn’t been shy about his general distain for the Bulls’ new floor general, I wasn’t surprised to wake up to the news of the point guard being suspended Monday morning for conduct detrimental to the team. It’s always nice to start your day with a laugh, however this report had me unsure whether to laugh or cry. As Chicago blazed a trail at the beginning of the season, those well versed in the basketball universe were left shaking their heads asking the question, how is this sustainable? This week as Hoiberg and company slowly descended down the Eastern Conference standings, that brief glimmer of hope that was the first couple weeks of the season has turned into a nullifying slump. Then just as Chicago’s faithful often does, they win a Thursday night TNT game against a superior Spurs team.

Inconsistency, welcome back.

Rondo has been lauded so far for his leadership characteristics, and being a coach on the floor. At times, that gets him into all sorts of trouble. If you aren’t aware of his antics, there’s plenty of solid reading material that you can find. The homophobic slurs, the cursing out of coaches, and of course the Mavericks kindly asking Rajon to leave during the 2015 postseason. It’s a long list, the real question is how to best utilize number 9’s talents on the floor. Rondoing is going to happen. The real question is, how do the Bulls handle it?

Heading into this season, inquiries surrounded the Three Alphas (burn that name with fire), and how they would co-exist. So far, their personalities have meshed surprisingly well. It’s still very early, but Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade seem to enjoy sharing the floor with Rondo. This is one way to keep the most maddening alpha at bay. Up to the present moment when these three play together they have a Net Rating of 5.3. Three point shooting continues to be a struggle as they are shooting 31.0 percent when they are on the court together. They aren’t the best fit on the court, but the former Marquette Golden Eagles are accepting Rondo so far — that’s important. Rondo has done well in a leadership role so far, and I’m happy about it. He even showed up to Summer League games to cheer on his younger teammates.

The Bulls are better when their starting point guard isn’t on the floor they have a Def Rtg of 98.7, and when he’s on the floor, Chicago’s Def Rtg is 106.5. As a whole when the controversial guard sits, good things happen. I hope that

This isn’t as fun anymore. Well, Jimmy Butler is more fun than a barrel of monkeys, but besides that, being stuck in the middle is basketball hell. Unfortunately the reality of this situation is that the Bulls won’t be competing for a championship this season, and before all of you “we beat the Cavaliers and Spurs” truthers come out of the woodwork, can you beat those two teams four times?


Chicago will probably make the postseason. That’s all well and good, but don’t hold your breath for an Eastern Conference matchup against LeBron — it won’t end well. This Rondo experiment might last a year, and because of that (among other things) the Bulls access to the average club has been granted for another season. If Rajon Rondo plays well, the sky is the limit for this team. If his personality is managed well, and can shoot a solid percentage from the floor–Chicago can be competitive. For now, enjoy Dwyane Wade being in Chicago, Mirotic pump fakes, Hoiberg struggling to figure out big-man pairings, and of course the saving grace of this team, Jimmy Butler. Rondo hasn’t been all bad, and I hope the good times continue to roll. However, his track record isn’t sparkling. Good Rondo is a better Rondo, but Bulls’ fans still don’t know who they’re going to get.


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