The New Orleans Pelicans just landed one of the top-prized free agents who flew under the radar this offseason. When it was announced that the Chicago Bulls were releasing Rajon Rondo– the news was met with utter silence. It wasn’t a surprise as some have labeled Rondo as washed up with thoughts going back to the issues with Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade. However, what many have forgotten was the importance he played in the Bulls playoff run and his value as a TRUE PG.
If Wade or Butler refuses to admit it, then we know one player who won’t– DeMarcus Cousins.
Name a season where Rondo was quiet and just played ball the right way? That season was in 2015 with the Sacramento Kings and Cousins when he tied his career high with 12 assists per game to go along with 12 points, two steals and six rebounds. But yet, Rondo is washed up huh? There were many setbacks in Chicago, but in all fairness, the Bulls failed to live up to expectations and there was a power struggle. Wade and Butler wanted to put the blame elsewhere and Rondo wanted to put the blame on the players.
Now he gets another chance to play with Cousins but it gets a lot better for the former Boston Celtic.
The Pelicans have the most powerful frontcourt in the NBA with Cousins and Anthony Davis and while both players are good, they will be better with Rondo in control. His addition doesn’t only affect the frontcourt, it also takes pressure off of Jrue Holiday. Jrue is listed as a PG but he’s more in the line of Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving. He has the handles and smarts to play the position but he’s more of a scoring threat. With Rondo on board, Holiday can now play on the perimeter where he shot 46 percent from the field and 36 percent from beyond the arc.
But where does that leave the Pelicans in 2017?
With the departure of Chris Paul in Los Angeles, the Clippers will slip. The same can be said for the Memphis Grizzlies after Zach Randolph and Vince Carter left. This is the time for the Pelicans to make their move up the standings. The Utah Jazz lost Gordon Hayward and the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers seem to be standing in the same position they were when the 2016 season ended.
While the Warriors are still the class of the West, the Spurs are good and the addition of Chris Paul makes the Rockets a threat. But we can’t ignore how dangerous the Pelicans have become with one move. One player can make a huge difference but adding Rondo pushed the Pelicans past both the Rockets and Spurs. The Spurs have holes to fill. LaMarcus Aldridge doesn’t seem too happy there and their PG situation is a mess. The Rockets, even with Paul will have a serious adjustment to make with him and James Harden in the backcourt together. What team can challenge the Pelicans in the post with Anthony and Cousins? Now you give the Pelicans a facilitator and this changes the dynamic of their team.
The Warriors should be worried. The Pelicans have a Big 4 who can challenge their supremacy in the West.