Chandler Parsons and Rajon Rondo have perhaps been the two most polarizing Mavs players throughout the 2014-2015 season. The Mavs have had their ups and downs this season and right now they’re on an up as they’re coming off a couple of impressive and much-needed victories over the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Now both opposing teams were missing key All-Star players in Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant but it’s the manner in which the Mavericks have responded coming off a 30 point beating at home courtesy of the Cleveland Cavaliers that has this team looking like a team that can make noise in the playoffs. That all starts with the play of Chandler Parsons and Rajon Rondo.
Parsons struggled early on in the season and was in an offensive slump in November and has had his consistency on the court questioned on and off throughout the following months. He’s received a lot of criticism from fans because of his high price tag, $15 million, this season. Well Parsons isn’t the only shooter that goes through slumps and can be inconsistent through a long 82-game schedule, in fact almost player does including the great big German, Dirk Nowitzki.
Parson’s recent two-week absence due to injury wasn’t the Mavs only issue during that span but it didn’t help and no game was more evident to me as a fan than the Golden State Warriors game. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson did a great job of frustrating Nowitzki and Monta all night long with their strong defensive play and it really hindered the Mavs offensively. Richard Jefferson is a spot up shooter on most occasions and we all know the limitations of Tyson and Rondo offensively so on that night shutting down Dirk and Monta was all she wrote. With a player like Parsons in there then you have a player that’s more than just a shooter and a creator that can relieve pressure off Monta and Dirk if he’s able to get it going. Parsons has been aggressive since his return and has been the Mavs best offensive player during this current home stand. Parsons is doing a little bit of everything out on the court right now and proving why he’s worth every bit of that max contract.
Rondo on the other hand has been the most polarizing of the two as he hasn’t seemed to be a fit for this Mavs offense and it escalated to the point where a public altercation occurred between himself and head coach Rick Carlisle. The Mavericks offense seemed out of sorts many times when Rondo was running the show but his defense has always been solid minus the handful of games coming out of the All-Star break. Now after watching the past couple games maybe the issue all long was Rick Carlisle being reluctant to hand over the keys to the car, as Mavs insider Mike Fisher would say, to Rajon Rondo who seems to have found his place on this team. As Fisher pointed out Monday on 105.3 the Fan Carlisle makes ever move he does in a calculated strategic manner and maybe just maybe he wanted for Rondo and himself to have a so-called “altercation” for the world to see. It took him more than a year to fully trust Jason Kidd with the offense but with Rondo’s future with the Mavs uncertain maybe the time is now.
Rondo has been dropping beautifully placed dimes in shooters hands in the right place at the right time and it shows as the Mavs have scored over 115 points the past two games. After the game Rondo said Rick Carlisle called him into the coach’s office before the game and quizzed him on the offense. Rondo passed the test. Rondo also added that he and Carlisle are so in sync now that Rondo calls the same plays Carlisle thinks before calling them himself.
It’s been awhile since the Mavs offense has flowed so efficiently and not only that but Rondo has stepped up his defense on the other side of the court as well. He did a great job matching up with Chris Paul Friday night by forcing him to take ill-advised shots and limiting his effect on the game. The same could be said for his play against Westbrook who only shot 7-17 from the floor and even though he almost had another triple double it wasn’t the stat line Westbrook is use to having the past few weeks and that says something of how great Westbrook has been playing and the kind of job Rondo did defending him. Now it was a team effort of course but Rondo had a lot to do with it and had himself a great game. He posted his first double-double, 11 points and 13 assists, since January 5th against the Brooklyn Nets and his second highest assist total since he put on a Mavericks uniform.
It’s only two games and there’s still a lot of basketball left to be played but what we’ve seen the past couple games is encouraging if you’re a Mavs fans. Parsons and Rondo are a big part of that and it’s exactly what the Mavericks front office had in mine when they brought them to Dallas. Amar’e Stoudemire called out his teammates and they’ve responded, lets see what the remaining 14 games shows us about this Dallas team.