Rajon Rondo’s two-year, $28 million contract with the Chicago Bulls was one of the most surprising free agent deals of the summer — though arguably not the most surprising offseason move the Bulls made considering they signed Dwyane Wade away from the Miami Heat. Rondo has an undeniable skillset, and even though he hasn’t played at his peak level for a few years, he still racks up assists like nobody’s business. But his fit next to Wade and Bulls star Jimmy Butler is questionable at best.
Rondo had his first practice in Chicago today, and the reactions to his performance from coaches and teammates are a step towards putting those questions to rest.
He’s got the best voice on the team,” Fred Hoiberg said after the first of two practice sessions. “When you have a point guard out there who can get you into something and talk the way he does, that sets the tone for everybody.
“I’ll apologize to Rajon early,” Jimmy Butler said. “He’s going to fake me out with one of those darn passes. He’s going to do something crazy and I’m going to take off to get back on defense, and the ball is going to be coming to me in the corner. He’s just incredible because he sees everything.
“Everything just falls into place, falls into line. You don’t have to worry about too much of anything,” Jimmy Butler said. “And with (Rondo), he’s an incredible leader. He just wants everybody to be successful.”
— via the Daily Herald
The relationship between Butler and Rondo on and off of the court will probably be the key to the Bulls’ success this year. So the fact that they are developing chemistry early is extremely encouraging news. Their on-court dynamic with Wade will be another important factor, but it is all good news so far.
Rondo has been followed by chemistry issues and controversy in both of his stops since leaving the team that drafted him, the Boston Celtics. He also saw his defense and overall productivity decline sharply once he was no longer playing with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Perhaps the veteran leadership in Chicago is what he needs to get back on track. One practice in, things seem to be headed in the right direction.