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Rondo To Start for Team USA?

 

 The cream of the crop always finds a way to rise to the top, and even while playing with some of the best this country has to offer, Rajon Rondo has managed to break through. Just weeks, after some reporters around the team questioned whether the point guard would even make the final roster, Rondo started and excelled in two Team USA scrimmages over the weekend, establishing himself as a favorite to get the starting nod once the FIBA’s start in Turkey in two weeks. 

The highlight of the weekend was a 31 point demolition by Team USA against France in Madison Square Garden yesterday afternoon. Rondo delivered a very efficient line of 6 points on 3/4 shooting (all layups), 6 assists, and 2 rebounds in 18 minutes of action. This came on the heels of a 7 assist effort in a closed scrimmage against China on Saturday. A. Sherrod Blakely from CSNNE.com  covered the festivities  from The Big Apple, where Rondo’s teammates and coach heaped praise on the youngster: 

“I like playing with Rondo,” Billups said. “He’s a winner. I love playing with winners; guys that know how to play the game. Guys that every possession know what it means.” 

Chandler said having a pass-first playmaker on the floor has made his job a lot easier. 

“He’s looking every single time,” Chandler said. “For the big man, sometimes you’re guessing, ‘Is he shooting? Should I attack the boards, or is he passing?’ So it’s good to know, he’s looking to pass first.” 

His playmaking is certainly important for Team USA. 

But arguably just as important will be what he brings to the floor defensively. 

“It starts with Rondo,” said Team USA and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. “He wants to play defense. And he knows that the people behind him are playing defense, too.” 

So with Rondo as a shoe-in for the starting five, how will the rest of the roster shake out? 

The roster was officially trimmed down to 13 during the weekend with Javale McGee being cut for a 2nd time this summer (he was injury replacement for Brook Lopez after 1st cut) and Jeff Green being sent home early.

 No real surprises with either of those guys. McGee can barely crack the Wizard starting lineup, and was really here more out of necessity than anything else after the plethora of injuries to other USA big men. 

Green is a solid player, but really was in over his head at the wing position compared to the other options on this roster. Impressive of him to make it this far, but still needs a couple more years of seasoning to hang with the established wings/small 4′s on this roster. 

That brings us down to one cut, which unsurprisingly will come down to the backcourt. Blakely speculates the candidates for the final pink slip to be Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon and Stephen Curry. A look over the rest of the roster though makes me think Westbrook is the easy choice to go home here. This team needs shooting and although Gordon and Curry may have flaws in other parts of their game this early in their career, both players can shoot the rock, especially from deep.  

On the other hand, Westbrook (22 percent career 3 point shooter) clearly is limited with is outside shoot. With two similar style players in Rondo and Derrick Rose in front of the Thunder guard in the depth chart already, keeping Westbrook on the roster seems rather redundant. 

Coach K and his troops have until 72 hours before the August 25th start of the tournament to trim their roster down to 12, so they have brought a 13 man roster overseas for some friendlies during the next 10 days. Chris Sheridan from ESPN.com will be traveling with the team throughout the next week, so be sure to keep up with him on twitter and on the mothership for any updates. 

In the meantime, I have to say this must be very fulfilling for Mr. Rondo. From not even knowing if he would participate at all with Team USA this summer due to health concerns, to being on the verge of getting the starting nod over the likes of Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook says a lot. I’d like to also point out that while some speculated Rondo might not make this final roster, everyone involved with Team USA has been singing this guy’s praises from the very beginning. 

For all his shooting flaws, you put a proper supporting cast around the 6’1” point guard and he will run the ship and do it well. That’s to say nothing of his defense, ball handling ability, penetration and tremendous court vision. Kudos to the guy for getting even more recognition now, with more to come on the international stage in two weeks. 

In the meantime, I ask you guys this. 1) Who makes the final cut? And 2) What is your starting five for this team? On Sunday, it was Rondo, Billups, Iguodala, Durant and Chandler. Do they stick with those five or insert another scorer like Gay to help with offense?

Also in case you missed it last week, you can check out CelticsHub’s Team USA World Championship Preview, where we break down the roster, rule changes, past World Championships, and how this year’s team stacks up against the World competition.

To listen, press the play button on the left. No time to listen to it now? No problem, you can also press the downward arrow button on the right side of the player to download the mp3 for future use.

CelticsHub.com USA World Championship Team Podcast 8-12-10 by BRobb8

  • pinsla

    in the words of cwebb: Roooondoooooooo!!!

  • heihnsonblows

    Umm, Rondo is NO shoo-in starter, BOS homey. Iguodala is the piviotal defender on starting 5, clearly. Course Heinsohn may habe his own moeonic homer view, as always

  • heihnsonblows

    Umm, Rondo is NO shoo-in starter, BOS homey. Iguodala is the piviotal defender on starting 5, clearly. Course Heinsohn may habe his own moronic homer view, as always

  • Jason

    I haven’t been impressed with the performance of the national team or of Rondo. He’s holding onto the ball too much to my liking. With all that talent, speed and athleticism around him, he should throw the ball ahead at least once. Give guys who are devastating in the open court the chance to operate in space.

    I wasn’t enamored with treating Rondo like he was Chris Paul last year. That was the reason for the chemistry problems last year. In New Orleans, Paul is surrounded by spot up shooters who can’t create their own shots. They’re structured to have ball in his hands all the time. That’s not how the Celtics are structured. Thus you had stupid, inexplicable instances in which Ray attempted one shot in a game at Milwaukee, followed up by Pierce attempting one shot in the first half the next night. I couldn’t believe a veteran team heading down the home stretch was going through these issues. New guys on the team like Nate expressed being surprised that the ball was in Rondo’s hands ALL THE TIME, framing it as a positive sign of the veteran’ unselfishness. It’s not fun watching Rondo control the ball 75 percent of the time. It’s not entertaining.

  • 15GREEN15

    igudala shouldnt even be on the usa team .

  • cmac

    watching rondo with the ball is VERY entertaining he is the best at what he does pushing the ball and getting open 3s for the wings. He is essentially doing what tony parker won the finals mvp doing (when he is on) plus he rebounds like jkidd. All anyone says is how fun it is to play with him, painting him as some ball hog doesn’t make any sense

  • cmac

    igoudola is legit 2 years ago he was a stud I wanted the Cs to trade Ray for him (since he is younger not that I like him more than ray) he could be an awesome player on a good team. He could be a 2/3 version of shawn marrion (on the suns) as opposed to marion who plays the 3/4

  • MSL

    Rondo has been fine Jason.

    The team can’t run and gun non-stop the way you want to to. Rondo holds the ball many times, because they have to run set offense (you know plays) in the half court. None of the other point guards seems to know or run plays besides Rondo.

    I thought he orchestrated perfectly he ran when open, directed and set up his team mates where to go and got them many open shots.

    His shooting is greatly overrated.

    Did Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd and Mo Cheeks have great outside shots, that prevented them from being great point guards?

    I always knew he would make the team and probably start!

  • MSL

    PS Jason:

    Doc Gives Rondo total and complete control of the Celtics offense and even calls his own plays during the game!

    Rondo would average 6 more points a game if he wasn’t a team ball player. He shot 52% from the field and averaged 10 assist a game on a slow team, so how is he not a distributor?

    With out Rondo, Boston would of never went to a game 7 with the Lakers. Period! The lakers size would of killed them. It was negated with Rondo’s smart pushes up the court!

  • Josh A

    @ Brian Robb, You actually get 48 hours before tournament to trim down to 12 players

  • http://www.hotmail.com Josh

    Jason, get the sand out of your vag.

  • gloria

    Thank you for a wonderful post Brian. Rajon Rondo is surely my favorite. Looking forward to seeing him in Team USA upcoming games. He always shows up with his best effort.

  • Josh A

    I think the Celtics are the most popular team in New England right now.

  • Rangatiratanga

    @Josh enough with the New England already.
    Can’t believe McGee even made it THAT far.
    Trade for Iggy?

    Thoughts?

  • Tom W

    at first glance, getting iguodala sounds nice, his defense has been miles and miles better, and he’s an incredibly athletic player, which would certainly be nice to have around.

    i don’t like giving up Ray for him though, which is what i’m assuming you’d be thinking in a trade? with Ray, even when he’s having an off night, you always feel like you are in the game, cause if he gets on track…damn. (think game 2 of the finals…) Also, it’s a huge luxury having a guy who you KNOW will make his free throws at the end of a close game.

  • Scotty B

    anybody who says they arent impressed with team USA’s play or Rondo doesnt know basketball…period.

    They won the last two games by over 80 points, I think they are doing ok

  • Leonard Rhett

    HEY CMAC-LET THE TALK ABOUT TRADING RAY ALLEN FOR ANDRE IGUODALA GO MAN! AI IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH AS A SHOOTER TO TRADE FOR ARGUBLY THE BEST LONG DISTANCE SHOOTER IN THE HISTORY OF THE NBA. IGUODALA? PLEASE.

  • Eugene Russell

    Rondo is the 3rd best pg in the game, not Derick Rose…All Rose do is score better than Rondo, thats it….Rondo runs the team and he plays defense, rebounds and is unselfish, not to mention he has a ton of heart…….Charles Barkley is stupid for putting Rose ahead of him…….

  • Jeff

    @ heihnsonblows

    Wow dude! You must be on crack or somethin.

    Might want to pull your head out of your rear before making those types of statements. Last I checked Iggy hasn’t made too many All defensive teams lately.

    2008-2009 Rondo was second team All defense and 2009-2010 he was first team All defense in the league.

    Second behind only Howard who won Defensive player of the year fool!

    He beat out Bryant and Lebron with 23 of 50 votes. Dwight got 28.

    You can hate Heinson, the C’s and whatever you want but regardless of your crack laced statements and personal beefs, Rondo is far and away the best defensive PG in the game.

    Suck on that pal.

    Here’s those stats for you before you start whining and coming up with BS:

    http://www.nba.com/2010/news/05/05/all.defense/index.html

    http://www.nba.com/2009/news/05/06/defensive.team/index.html

  • Zack

    @Jason
    Rondo almost has to touch the ball every possession; Isn’t he the point guard? Isn’t it is job to like, dribble the ball around and make good passes to people to make their lives easier? You know that it is the very position he has been assigned because he is good at it? Ok, what bridge did you climb out from under?

  • lonnie

    Eugene Russell are you crazy rondo is not better than derrick rose he just better at pass and defending which rose has improve his defense alot d rose can shoot guard both guard positions and also doesnt hold the ball as long as rondo and not to mention where is derrick was ego he must have left it at home because he show no emotion on the court thats what kind of player i like rondo is good dont get me wrong but i just think rose is better he is a silence killer .

  • Seths

    Everyone on here who thinks rondo holds the ball to long is just stupid. Just like the article said and other people on here said he knows how to run a team from PG. Who cares if rose doesnt hold on to it as long…I mean where has it gotten him so far?? Rondo is beast took the team all the way down to the last seconds of games 7. Who remembers that clutch as fuck 3. I mean granted he missed the second but still he made one and someone else who can shot should’ve taaken that three in the end……

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