The Atlanta Hawks are improving their playoff outlook with Rajon Rondo.
Consider the Atlanta Hawks the Phoenix Suns of the Eastern Conference. While they didn’t land a big fish like the Suns did with the Chris Paul trade, the Hawks are employing a similar strategy of flanking their younger, talented cornerstones with legitimate, established NBA players to make a postseason push.
It’s been a busy year for the Hawks, going back to the four-team trade in February that netted them Clint Capela. Although they were somewhat quiet on NBA Draft night, selecting Onyeka Okongwu with the sixth overall pick, they’ve been off to quite a roaring start in 2020 free agency.
After landing Danilo Gallinari with a three-year, $61.5 million agreement and reaching a two-year, $10 million pact with an All-Defensive Team caliber guard in Kris Dunn, Atlanta will now add even more defense and experience to its backcourt with Rajon Rondo. According to multiple reports, the 14-year veteran will join Atlanta on a two-year, $15 million deal:
Rajon Rondo is yet another reliable veteran addition for the Hawks
In the span of a year, Atlanta has surrounded its young core of Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish with Capela, Gallo, Dunn and now Rondo. In the East, where the bottom of the playoff picture is considerably weaker, that extra depth and defense should really come in handy for a team that wants to get Young to the playoffs for the first time.
Last year with the championship-winning Los Angeles Lakers, Rondo put up only 7.1 points and 5.0 assists per game on .418/.328/.659 shooting splits. However, he was only playing 20.5 minutes a night, and he came to life in the playoffs when the Lakers needed him most.
In the postseason, Rondo’s numbers spiked to 8.9 points, 6.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game, all while posting an impressive 45.5 percent shooting from the floor and 40 percent shooting from 3-point range (on 3.1 attempts per game). He was monumental off the bench for a championship-caliber team, accepting his role, playing tenacious defense, spreading the ball and providing another ball-handler for a second unit that desperately needed one.
That is the Rondo the Hawks will have to look forward to if they can return to the playoffs this year. At that price of a mere $7.5 million per season, this is a great bargain for a team that continues to improve its backcourt defense around Young with Rondo and Dunn.