Rajon Rondo NBA Draft Scouting Report
Apr 17, 2006, 08:56 pm
Jonathan Givony (4/17/2005)
In terms of physical attributes, Rondo possesses everything the NBA looks for in a successful starting point guard, minus possibly an inch of height. He is a phenomenal athlete with an incredibly quick first step, awesome foot-speed in the open floor, and terrific leaping ability. Rondo also has a gigantic wingspan and enormous hands, which allows him to play much bigger than his size.
As a point guard, Rondo is of the pass-first variety, being highly unselfish and featuring excellent court vision and passing ability. Although he didnt always get a chance to show it, he is everything scouts look for in terms of being able to run a team, particularly his intelligence and poise with the ball in his hands, along with his ball-handling skills and natural talent in finding the open man. Rondo is at his best on the drive and dish, being able to get into the lane almost at will thanks to his terrific speed and ball-handling ability, and once he does being highly creative in finding open shooters spotting up on the wing. He didnt get to show this off too often, but Rondo is a very flashy playmaker who can thread the needle to spectacular lobs from the perimeter or sharp bounce passes to open cutters. Although his assists average isnt incredibly high, his assist to turnover ratio is one of the best amongst point guards in this draft at 2.11/1. Rondo is a very confident ball-handler going either left or right, keeping the ball very low to the ground, and is excellent at breaking the full-court press thanks to his terrific speed and poise.
As a slasher, Rondo has plenty of potential, but didnt really get to show off everything he can do at the college level because of Kentuckys slow it down style of play that prefers excessive ball-movement around the perimeter rather than one on one play. If given the green light, Rondo will be an excellent shot creator at the next level, as he is extremely difficult to stay in front of. Once he did get into the lane in college, he showed plenty of creativity finishing around the hoop, particularly with an assortment of runners and floaters. He is capable of stopping abruptly in the paint if the lane is too clogged, and floating a six to eight footer high off the glass. When making his way all the way to the basket, his long arms, terrific leaping ability and excellent body control aid him greatly in finishing creatively around the rim, often with contact. He is generally a tough player who has no problem getting dirty to get the job done. Despite his diminutive size, Rondo can get up and dunk with the best of them and will sometimes just flush the ball through after a penetration rather than laying it up to ensure that he gets his team two points.
Defensively is where Rondo really made a name for himself as a high school player and initially in college. He has excellent lateral quickness and superbly quick and incredibly big hands. These two things together combined with his length make him a terror getting in the passing lanes, and Rondo indeed has league leading potential in this area if playing for a coach that doesnt mind him gambling for steals on occasion. Hes extremely smart and confident in his defensive ability, and has the potential to develop into a smothering perimeter defender thanks to all of his outstanding physical attributes and the skills he already shows here. Hes not afraid to step in the lane and take a charge if the situation calls for it.
Due to these same physical attributes (length, superb quickness and leaping ability, outstanding hands) Rondo is also a terrific rebounder who indeed led his team in this area from the point guard position. His toughness helps him out greatly in this area, and his Kentucky team would likely have been in very bad shape without his 6+ rebounds in 31 minutes per game. He managed to pull down 19 rebounds in 33 minutes in one extremely impressive performance against Iowa early on in the year.
In terms of intangibles, its hard to get a great read because of all the chaos surrounding Kentuckys program this year, but it appears that Rondo will test out just fine. He by all accounts has a good attitude towards the game and a strong character, being a bit on the quiet side (particularly with the Kentucky media who he never seemed very fond of), highly unselfish, and probably not a trouble-making type. His work ethic is reportedly very strong and as we saw all season long, does exactly what hes told by his coaching staff.
(J.L. Weill, 11/1/2006)
There is little doubt that Tubby Smith evicted some of his tough recruiting luck when Rajon Rondo fell into his lap. Originally focused on his hometown Cardinals, Rondo didn't hesitate when the big blue skipper came calling with a scholarship.
Rondo is a Smith player if there ever was one, a defensive hound that changes the game with his wingspan and instincts. In his first year, all the dynamic guard did was set the school record for steals in a season, demonstrating that he was perhaps the quickest player in college basketball. There are times when Rondo is on the court that it appears he's moving a few steps faster than the rest of the players. While for some players this could be nothing more an interesting sidenote or even possibly a detriment, for Rondo this is the trait that feeds all his other strengths.
Rondo's unusually long arms and giant hands, combined with his quickness, adds up to an enormous amount of steals leading to easy scores. In fact, Rondo's attention to defense may be his most promising trait as a player.
The Kentucky point guard also has already displayed pro-caliber body control, which makes him difficult to stop on the drive. Like Allen Iverson, another speedster, Rondo uses his athleticism to create space between himself and a defender even when he's already in the air.
Rondo has a great demeanor for a major college point guard. Rarely in a rush, his complete control of the ball gives him time to scan the whole court. He is most adept on the fast break, where whomever is trailing the play better keep his eyes open.