Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

June 12, 2008
Game 4 preview: The Celtics are beating the Lakers and the Kings

Rajon Rondo isn't shooting well, has a history of not shooting well and may never shoot well. It's the obvious drawback to an offensive game that otherwise is developing and an area that will absolutely need to get better if he has any hope of making defenses play him on the perimeter. The Lakers have mostly been backing off and playing him to drive.

But of all the things that could have gone wrong for the Celtics since the start of the season, Rondo was at the top of the list, and of all the things that have gone right, he's a headliner there too: nine assists and nine points a game as a 22 year old in the Finals against solid defender Derek Fisher and 10.3 points and 6.9 assists against just 1.9 turnovers in all as a second-year player in the postseason for the first time.

Not bad for the guy who arrived at training camp as the intersection between Boston success and failure, inexperienced and suddenly merely responsible for properly getting the ball to Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

It resonates all the way to Sacramento. The Kings passed on Rondo in the 2006 draft to take Quincy Douby and because, two years later, the Kings' point-guard situation remains unresolved and Douby is an undersized shooting guard who can't crack the rotation. Reggie Theus doesn't even play him at the point anymore.

It's unfair to drop that one in Geoff Petrie's lap because most everyone passed on Rondo and ended up with nothing, a miss all the more obvious as the draft is becoming regrettable all the way around: Andrea Bargnani to the Raptors at No. 1, Adam Morrison to the Bobcats at No. 3, Tyrus Thomas to the Bulls at No. 4, Shelden Williams to the Hawks at No. 5, Patrick O'Bryant to the Warriors at No. 9, Mouhamed Sene to the SuperSonics at No. 10, J.J. Redick to the Magic at No. 11. Only the Trail Blazers (LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy) and Grizzlies (Rudy Gay) scored direct hits in the lottery.

Except that the Kings missed on every point guard within their reach and now potentially have a major problem, with Beno Udrih heading into the free-agent market and Douby going nowhere fast.

Douby went No. 19. After that, among point guards:

  • Rondo, No. 21 to the Celtics. Boston has believed in Rondo so much that it would not have taken Mike Conley at No. 5 last June if Conley had been on the board (he went fourth) and the Celtics did not end up trading the pick to the Sonics as part of the Allen package.
  • Marcus Williams, No. 22 to the Nets. Once the possible successor to Jason Kidd, he hasn't made a mark and at best now faces life as the backup to the actual successor, Devin Harris.
  • Kyle Lowry, No. 24 to the Grizzlies. Made enough strides this season that the positive impression could make him a favorite trade target among teams wanting to land a point guard. Memphis is in the enviable role of being loaded with prospects at the position, with Mike Conley, Lowry, Javaris Crittention and combo guard Juan Carlos Navarro.
  • Jordan Farmar, No. 26 to the Lakers. Developed quicker than even the Lakers expected, becoming an integral part of the bench. To get a keeper from late in the first round is a very good return.
  • Sergio Rodriguez, No. 27 to the Trail Blazers. Squeezed out of a meaningful role this season, with the arrival of Steve Blake and Roy's transition into an increasing role as a ball handler, but he has at least delivered promising stretches. Much like Lowry in Memphis, Rodriguez is stuck in a logjam that may need a trade to get him any real time. But teams see some positives when being overly flashy isn't leading to turnovers.

Rondo and Farmer are still playing, late picks with important roles in the Finals. Rondo is still playing well, too, with seven assists and two turnovers in the opener and 16 assists and two turnovers in Game 2, before dropping to four assists and two turnovers Tuesday. It all came after the dependable point play of 9.2 points and 6.5 assists against 2.2 turnovers (though 34.9 percent from the field) against a very good Pistons defense in the Eastern Conference finals, and after lasting past Quincy Douby in the draft.

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