By Lance Rinker
In a move that will surely give the Dallas Mavericks a better shot at their quest for another championship, the team has acquired four-time All-Star Rajon Rondo and center Dwight Powell from the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics received a package that included center Brandan Wright, forward Jae Crowder, guard Jameer Nelson, a 2015 conditional first round pick, a 2016 second round pick and a $12.9 million trade exception.
Rondo (6-1, 186) is an eight-year guard who has spent his entire professional career with the Celtics. In addition to being a four-time NBA All-Star (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), Rondo has been named All-NBA Defensive Team four times (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), All-NBA Third Team (2012) and was the starting point guard on Boston’s 2008 NBA Championship team. He has played in 527 career games (474 starts) and holds averages of 11.0 points, 8.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 1.9 steals and 32.9 minutes per game.
The veteran point guard also has extensive postseason experience having competed in two NBA Finals and starting each of his 92 career Playoff games. Rondo holds postseason career averages of 14.5 points, 9.2 assists, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 38.5 minutes per game.
Rondo currently leads the NBA in assists with 10.8 assists per game. He led the league in that category in both 2011-12 (11.7 apg) and 2012-13 (11.1 apg). He also holds several Celtics’ franchise assists records including single-season total with 794 assists (2009-10), assists per game with 11.7 apg (2011-12) and assists in an NBA Playoff game with 20 (2011).
Powell (6-11, 240) is a rookie center who hails from Toronto, Canada and has seen action in five games this season with averages of 1.8 points, 0.2 rebounds and 1.8 minutes per game. Powell is also a former Stanford University standout and was named All-Pac-12 First Team while averaging 14 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He was also named Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year.
What this move does for the Mavericks is seriously upgrade their point guard position, which is currently ranked last in points and field goal percentage per game, while ranking just 28th in assists per game.
The combination of Jameer Nelson, Devin Harris and J.J. Barea at the point has been one of the most uninspiring groups of point guards of any on-court rotation among all NBA teams this season.
Rondo is currently first in assists per game, second in assist opportunities, third in points created by assists and now joins Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons in one of the most dominant offense in the NBA.
While Rondo isn’t an offensive upgrade at the position itself, his pass-first style should mesh well with the rest of the team and only make the offense that much more potent. It should also help lessen the frequency of off nights on offense, given the team’s struggles on defense – especially in transition.
Rondo is in the final year of his contract and has left little doubt in recent months that he intends to test the market as a free agent in July.