Rajon Rondo out at least three more games, surgery still not out of question


When Stephen Curry dropped 51 on the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday, I had two thoughts. First, there was nothing anyone could have done, Curry was hitting shots from about the Bay Bridge.

Second, it still would have been interesting to see how Rajon Rondo would have impacted that game.

Not only is that question moot,at least a few other teams will get a crack at Rondo-less Dallas. The Mavericks will be without Rondo at least through the All-Star break and maybe longer due to the orbital bone fracture and nasal fracture he suffered recently (when teammate Richard Jefferson inadvertently kneed Rondo in the face).

Dallas made that announcement Friday — Rondo would miss the next three Mavericks games, which takes us through the week-long All-Star break.

But Marc Stein of ESPN says he could be out longer.

Dallas’s defense improves a fairly dramatic 5.2 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court. If they are going to make any dent in the playoffs this season — in what is an unreasonably stacked Western Conference — they need Rondo. They need his defense; they need him to be more comfortably involved in the offense than we have seen so far.

But most of all they need him healthy.

Rajon Rondo suffers orbital fracture to his left eye, will miss time


On that play less than two minutes into the game Saturday Rajon Rondo was inadvertently kneed in the face by teammate Richard Jefferson, he left the game not to return.

Now he’s not going to be back for a while — Dallas announced that Rondo suffered an orbital fracture to his left eye and a nasal fracture. He is out for the Mavericks next three games — Monday against the Timberwolves and a road trip to face the Warriors and Kings this week — and he could be out a while longer, there is no official timetable for his return.

Dallas has other point guards to fall back on with Devin Harris, J.J. Barea and Raymond Felton. However those guys do not dish out the assists nor, more importantly, defend like Rondo, who has averaged 9.2 points and 6.5 assists for Dallas since being traded from Boston earlier this season.

Rondo has improved the Dallas defense by 5.5 points per 100 possessions when on the court since the trade, however their offense has been 6.7 points per 100 worse when he plays. That has led some to question if Dallas is better off with him or not. But if Dallas plans to get out of the first round and do some damage in the playoffs it needs Rondo because their defense isn’t good enough in a loaded West without him.

Rondo certainly will be back from this injury before then, but he could miss a few weeks.

Report: Rajon Rondo out Monday, doctors continuing to evaluate facial injury


On Saturday, during the Mavericks’ victory over the Magic, Rajon Rondo took an inadvertent knee to the face from teammate Richard Jefferson, forcing him to leave the game. Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the Mavs have ruled Rondo out for Monday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and doctors are examining the extent of the injury.

Sources say that Rondo, who suffered the injury in the first quarter of Saturday night’s win in Orlando, was scheduled to be evaluated extensively Sunday by the Mavericks’ medical staff to establish a firm timetable on how long he’ll be sidelined.

But Rondo has already been ruled out of the Mavericks’ home game Monday night against the Timberwolves, who will be welcoming Ricky Rubio back to the lineup after his 42-game absence thanks to an ankle injury.

“It was a really bad collision,” Mavericks center Tyson Chandler said of the shot Rondo took to the head just 98 seconds into Saturday’s game. “I don’t know what the prognosis is, but he is pretty beat up.”

This is not a promising development for the Mavs, who picked up their second straight win one day after snapping a four-game losing streak against the Miami Heat. At 32-17, Dallas currently sits at sixth place in the Western Conference, with games against the Warriors, Blazers and Clippers coming up before the All-Star break. Rondo missing any extended period of time would be a serious setback as they fight for playoff positioning.

Rajon Rondo kneed in face by Richard Jefferson, leaves Mavericks-Magic game for good (video)


Rajon Rondo took a nasty-looking knee from teammate Richard Jefferson in tonight’s Mavericks-Magic game.

The Mavericks are deep at point guard with Devin Harris, J.J. Barea and Raymond Felton. That trio can probably fill the void tonight against Orlando and Monday against Minnesota, a couple lottery-bound teams.

But if the Mavericks succeed without Rondo, look for the growing questions about whether they’re better without him to intensify. If I were Dallas, I’d definitely hope he’s ready to return by Wednesday’s Warriors game, though.

Kobe Bryant on Julius Randle playing with Kobe, for Byron Scott: ‘If you f— this up, you’re a really big idiot’


Lakers coach Byron Scott is trying to motivate rookie Julius Randle by publicly calling him out for not being in good enough shape. Repeatedly.

If that seems harsh, you should see Kobe Bryant’s words for the No. 7 pick.

Remember, this is the same Kobe who called ESPN voters who ranked him the NBA’s 40th-best player “idiots.”

Kobe on Randle playing with Kobe, for Scott:

If you f— this up, you’re a really big idiot. You know what I mean? ESPN are idiots, but you’re a really big idiot if you manage to f— this up.

Unfortunately, it really doesn’t work that way. The best players, even those with championship experience, don’t necessarily make the best mentors and coaches. They can’t just transfer their knowledge and skills through osmosis.

While Kobe has played for the Lakers, a dozen other first-round picks have made their debuts:

  • Javaris Crittenton
  • Jordan Farmar
  • Andrew Bynum
  • Sasha Vujacic
  • Brian Cook
  • Kareem Rush
  • Mark Madsen
  • Devean George
  • Tyronn Lue
  • Sam Jacobson

And here are first-round picks who made their debuts on teams Scott coached:

  • Tyler Zeller:
  • Dion Waiters
  • Tristan Thompson
  • Kyrie Irving
  • Christian Eyenga
  • Darren Collison
  • Julian Wright
  • Hilton Armstrong
  • Cedric Simmons
  • Chris Paul
  • J.R. Smith
  • Zoran Planinic
  • Brandon Armstrong
  • Jason Collins
  • Richard Jefferson
  • Kenyon Martin

Scott seems to have a much better record of player development than Kobe, both are far from perfect. Perhaps, all the busts just screwed it up themselves, but I think it’s more likely neither Scott nor Kobe provide a perfect Petri dish for rookies to grow.

Unquestionably, Randle can learn from Kobe and Scott. And, so far, it seems Randle has the talent to succeed.

But even if Randle takes every reasonable step, it’s still possible he fails as an NBA player. It’s far to soon to declare he’ll make it – even with Kobe and Scott around.