Rondo opens up and pressure arises in Sacramento
Former All-Star point guard, Rajon Rondo became the second veteran player on the Kings to validate the obvious concerns of fans and pundits from last season on an episode of ESPN’s “The Jump,” with Rachel Nichols.
Not long after Caron Butler told “First Take” that players and coaching staff “couldn’t co-exist,” Rondo, who left the most volatile of situations in Dallas – where his relationship with coach Rick Carlisle prompted the team to end his season in the midst of a playoff series – noted the dysfunction in the Kings’ locker room.
“As far as locker room chemistry, it wasn’t the best, and I’ve been around a couple teams now, this is my 10th year,” Rondo told Nichols Monday. “We didn’t sacrifice enough of one another to be successful.”
Rondo, who has been described by former head coach Doc Rivers, as an especially difficult player to deal with, was one of several personalities influencing Sacramento’s predicament. However, the “whirlwind of problems” Rondo noted does not begin in the locker room, so much as with the parties who put the pieces in it.
“I think we made the best of our opportunity, when needed as far as the coaching and the players,” Rondo said.
Rondo has been accused of many things, but rarely is his basketball acumen brought into question. If he, a future Hall-of-Famer, champion and All-Star believes a 33-win season is making “the best” of what the Kings had, the Kings have not been given much to work with.
Vivek Ranadive has been called a savior and genius. If the Kings are to become a winner and attract players with Rondo’s resume moving forward, ownership and front office members will need to produce a more capable roster and begin to clean the “dysfunctional” image they have been labeled with for many years.
Rondo told The Jump he witnessed, ”Too much tension,” as he average a double-double for the Kings this past season.
Just one year after Pete D’Alessandro left for a new opportunity, after players were labeled by the media as quitting on coach Ty Corbin and their 2014-15 campaign, a new group of variables the following season produced a similar result.
“I felt like that whole issue was ‘let’s just get through’,” Butler told First Take mere weeks before Rondo’s recent remarks.
With the draft and free agency right around the corner, the front office is definitely on the clock as far as reaching certain expectations from its loyal fanbase.
DeMarcus Cousins, new head coach Dave Joerger and Rondo (should he return in free agency), will be held accountable for much of the on-court success and locker room cohesiveness.
The primary commonalities in the past two seasons have been the turmoil from the top of the organization. Should this turmoil be evident in the off-season or in the beginning of next season, players are likely to enter their new arena and season wishing to “just get through” again.
If Ranadive allows his front office to do their job and if Vlade Divac is truly capable of putting together a successful team, then things should turn around in the near future.
If not, the sentiments of Sacramento’s supporters are likely to mimic those of its veterans.