Heading into 2018, fans of the New Orleans Pelicans have high expectations for their beloved franchise! With players like Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Jrue Holiday (among others) on the roster, who wouldn’t anticipate big things? And with October 18th rapidly approaching, all fans can do is wonder what’s going to happen during NOLA’s upcoming campaign. Well, wonder no more Pel’s fanatics, for here at ‘Pelicandebrief’ we poses the worlds most trustworthy crystal ball (not really) to let us know what the future may hold for the Big Easy’s most adored NBA organization. While we can’t let you know everything the ball tells us, we can keep you updated from time to time on some fun predictions it has. And to start us off, we have one pertaining to New Orleans’ newest point guard. The prediction? Rajon Rondo will lead the NBA in assists by the end of the 2017-18 season.
(Disclaimer: Fortune Telling Crystal Balls Do Not Exist, Although It would Be Cool If They Did!)
Rajon Rondo, one of the best distributors the game has ever seen, has found a new home! On July 19th, the New Orleans Pelicans signed the 4x All-Star to a one-year $3.3 million deal. And while it may not have resulted in much publicity throughout the league, the signing could turn out to be one of the best from this offseason.
While Rondo’s season stats from 2016-17 may not be cause for excitement (7.8 PPG, 6.7 APG, 5.1 RPG), it is his level of play in the postseason that makes this signing worthwhile. Although he only played in 2 games before being shelved with a broken thumb, how he lead his team was quite incredible.
Before the playoffs started last season, If someone were to have told you the Chicago Bulls were going to take a commanding 2-0 lead against the number 1 seeded Boston Celtics, you would have called them mad! Insane! Bonkers! Throughout the regular season, Chicago was an up and down rollercoaster of a team. With a pedestrian 41-41 record, the Bulls barely squeaked themselves into the playoffs. Problems such as lack of shooting ability, less than stellar defense and chemistry issues all arose during their 2016-17 campaign. With these issues coupled with a lack of leadership on the team, NBA fans viewed the first round series as a shoo-in victory for the Boston Celtics.
However, Rajon Rondo had a different idea.
The point guard played the role of team leader, as he nearly averaged a triple double the first two games of the series (11.5 PPG, 10 APG, 8.5 RPG). With this effort, as previously mentioned, the Bulls found themselves with a 2-0 lead in the series heading back home for game 3.
Unfortunately for Chicago, Rondo broke his thumb during their game 2 victory, keeping him sidelined for the remainder of the series.
Because of this, Boston breezed by the Bulls with ease, ending a postseason for Chicago that started out with such promise.
Now, coming into 2017, Rondo finds himself with a chip on his shoulder whilst wearing a new uniform and being surrounded by a different group of guys. However, one of those guys in particular is a familiar face for the point guard.
New Orleans’ star center DeMarcus Cousins was a teammate of Rondos in Sacramento during the 2015-16 season. During that year, Rondo and Cousins flourished alongside one another. Rondo finished the season as the league leader in assists per game (11.7 APG) while Cousins averaged a, then, career high in points-per-game with 26.9 PPG, good enough for fourth in the entire league.
Joining forces once again, Rondo and Cousins are probably looking to pick up right where they left off. And if they can do that, Rondo will, at the very least, be a top 5 APG player this season.
However, what makes his chances even greater to take home his FIFTH NBA Assist Leader accolade is a man universally known as ‘The Brow.’ Anthony Davis is a once in a lifetime player, especially on the offensive end. Standing at 6’11”, the man not only can dominate in the paint but can also hit a 15-20 foot jumper at a consistent rate AND can even stretch it out past the 3-point line from time to time.
How can someone guard him?
Well, looking at his career 22.4 PPG stat (28.0 PPG last season), its a hard task for any opposing player.
Having a player who can excel in the post as well as stretch the floor is something a point guard only dreams of having. And, for Rondo, he now has 2 at his disposal. Add in a talented scorer like Jrue Holiday (career 15.4 PPG) and long range shooters like Omri Casspi (36% career 3-point percentage) and Solomon Hill (33% career 3-point percentage) and you have the makings for a spectacular year in the assist’s department.
Is Rondo a Superstar? No.
Is Rondo still an All-Star? No.
Is he even the best player on his team? No.
But what Rondo is, is one of the most willing/ gifted passers the game has ever had. Give him control of the rock and he’ll find ways to feed you the ball.
Shall we just pencil him in for the league leader in assists already?
You’re damn right we should!