In a perfect world, Mavs keep Monta Ellis and Rajon Rondo this offseason. Both of them spend the summer working on shooting and come back stronger than ever helping the Dallas Mavericks get back to being contenders. There is one big problem, we don’t live in a perfect world.
This whole debacle boils down to playing styles. Rajon Rondo is a player that likes to paint the picture and create a masterpiece. He doesn’t like being told what to draw or how to draw it. When he is confined on what to do, you don’t get the full potential of Rajon Rondo. When he is orchestrating the game, it is truly beautiful art work being portrayed in front of sold out arenas. It is very hard to come by players such as Rajon Rondo. He is a pass first point guard that makes players on his team better, great rebounder, and plays stellar individual defense. There is just one thing that is in the way of us seeing Rajon at his best, Monta Ellis.
Monta Ellis is a player that you can tell him what to paint and he will go paint that picture. It might not be a masterpiece, but it is what you expected and you are amazed at how hard he worked to get to the final piece. He isn’t the type of player you hand the keys to and let him loose (unless it is the 4th quarter). If you let him play free, during the first three quarters of a game, you might get the old Monta Ellis that was very ineffective at his craft. He is at his best when he is the playmaker that has the ball in his hands scoring in the pick and roll offense. With shooters all around him and a great finisher in Tyson Chandler at the rim ready to bail him out if in trouble, Monta Ellis thrives as “the guy”. It is very hard to come by players such as Monta Ellis. A guy that will get 20 points every single night of the season. There is just one thing that is in the way of us seeing Monta at his best, Rajon Rondo.
Both of them communicate with each other very well, willing to make it work, and have the same goal of being on a winning team. the matter of the fact is they are both at their best without each other. Neither Monta Ellis or Rajon Rondo play off the ball, because they aren’t great shooters. Monta Ellis is the better shooter of the two by far, but he is a streaky shooter that has to get going and he has not shot the ball consistently since the All Star break. Rajon Rondo has improved his jump shot in the last handful of games, but it is not part of his game that you can count on.
Rondo will have stretches of good shooting (aka Holger is in town) and Monta Ellis will have 4th quarters where he can’t miss at all from the outside, but you can’t rely on them bringing that shooting every single night. Which is why they are both great at the pick and roll offense being the sole playmaker, attacking the basket, and dishing to their teammates. Off the record, can we have Holger on the pay roll as a shooting coach and have him stay with the team at least until Dirk retires? That’s a different story.
The question that I bring apon you is… If you had to choose to bring back Rajon Rondo or Monta Ellis, who would you pick?
I am not Donnie Nelson, Mark Cuban, or Rick Carlisle so I don’t know what each of them are thinking. Although, I watch every Mavericks game and play a lot of NBA 2K. I would choose Rajon Rondo, because of his skill set. It is just far more hard to find a pass first point guard that has elite skills in rebounding and great defense than a 20 point scorer. Mavs have struggled ever since Jason Kidd left looking for a point to bring that leadership and replicate some of the things he did on the court to help the franchise win their only championship. Rajon Rondo is that guy. They didn’t give up the farm to get him, but they gave up great young rotation players in Jae Crowder and Brandan Wright that they spent time to develop as well.
One option I presented was having them both resign and make Monta Ellis a super 6th man with instant offense such as Jamal Crawford, Manu Ginobili, Jason Terry, and others that excelled in it. It would be the best of both worlds having them both stay and both have their own time solely being the main playmaker. Rajon Rondo could have what he wants which is the ball in his hands with shooters around him and Tyson Chandler at the rim. Monta Ellis could have what he wants with the ball in his hands being the scorer that he is and lead the bench. The only thing getting in the way of that is Monta Ellis would have to want to do it. He would still have similar minutes, shot attempts, and finish the game with Rajon Rondo, but I think he has too much pride to be a super 6th man. Although, it would make the Mavs a more balanced team and less top-heavy.
The options for the Dallas Mavericks starting SG if they don’t bring back Monta Ellis: Arron Afflalo, Wes Mathews, Danny Green, Richard Jefferson, Chandler Parsons (Aminu at SF), Gerald Green, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert.
The options for the Dallas Mavericks starting PG if they don’t bring back Rajon Rondo: Goran Dragic, Pat Beverley, Devin Harris, Brandon Knight, Reggie Jackson, Mo Williams.
The options above greatly favor resigning Rajon Rondo and finding a new shooting guard.
No one knows what will happen, I guess we will just have to wait and see in a few months.