Stopping Rajon Rondo? (Good Luck)

First of all, the fact that there are posts dedicated to "how do you stop Rajon Rondo" is about as perfect of a compliment as you can get in the blog world.  Second of all, teams have been trying to figure this out for years and while they've had intermittent success in the past, it seems like Rondo has figured out how to stop them from stopping him, or something.

Still, NBA Playbook thinks they may have seen something out of that Dallas loss that hints at a strategy that could be used on Rondo.  Note that Rondo did have 15 assists in that game, but the team offense wasn't what we've come to enjoy and Rondo's scoring was limited.

Did Dallas Show Us How To Stop Rajon Rondo?

We have seen teams really sagging off of Rajon Rondo a lot as of late, and while it makes sense for defenses to do so (because he doesn’t really have a shot), the problem with this is that it lets Rondo see the whole court. This is where the chasing shooters part comes in. Rondo is able to get accurate passes out on time to his shooters, so that puts pressure on the players covering Pierce and Allen. Dallas did a very good job of this:

See their post for video demonstrations.  PBT gives their own breakdown.

Defending Rajon Rondo | ProBasketballTalk

Dallas focused on keeping Rondo out of the lane first and foremost, and in exchange, gave up a number of long two-point jumpers to the likes of Kevin Garnett and Glen Davis. That’s not an ideal concession, but statistically speaking, it’s the right play. Rondo can do so much for the Celtic offense when he’s given freedom of movement, and by going under some screens and switching on others, the Mavs were able to significantly limit Rondo’s dribble penetration.

My take on this is that there are probably some things that Dallas did that threw Rondo off balance, but for the most part what they did would be effective against all teams, no matter who is playing the point against them.  Stopping penetration and tracking down shooters is pretty much what every defensive coach preaches every day.  Switching on screens is just one option that has pros and cons depending on matchups.

And if you think there's a blueprint for stopping Rondo then you might have to re-think that.  The kid is smart and learning more every day.  I'm sure what Dallas did was effective, ...for that game.  But I guarantee you that he's just as likely to find a way to exploit that Dallas defense the next time around. 

That doesn't mean I think he's not going to have a bad game here or there or that there's nothing a defense can do.  But he's on a whole other level this year (so far) and I'm not sure that anyone can "stop" him anymore.  He could have a bad game, his teammates could have poor shooting nights, and if you are lucky you can make some adjustments to make him feel a little uncomfortable.  But he's a star now, and you don't flat-out "stop" stars - that's what separates them from the non-stars.

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