How it affected the league, it’s conferences, and it’s dynamics
Whether you’re a fan of the NBA, or just basketball in general, you probably know the Western Conference is in a whole different league than the East. At the moment the 8 seed in the east, the Heat, hold a 14-19 record. On the other side of the spectrum the Sacramento Kings hold an identical record. The only difference is Sacramento is 11th in their conference. Standings wise, the West holds the top-3 teams in the league and with the Mavs on the rise, possibly four. And how does this have absolutely anything to do with the Rondo trade? More than you would think.
Before the trade, almost anyone would argue that the Raptors edge out the Mavs. And many would say that a healthy Chicago team, a talented Cleveland team, and a surprisingly good Atlanta team would be right up in the conversation. But this trade completely changes that. Not only did it change the dynamics between the conferences, but now the West is faced with a powerful Top-4. The Mavs have just gotten the opportunity of a lifetime. They found an opportunity to take advantage of the Celtics rebuilding process, and Rondo’s dissatisfaction with the organization. The Dallas Mavericks had one issue they needed to address. One. The Point Guard position. Simple as that. One spot that could take a good team into a great team. The Mavs wheeled and dealed until they reached a deal. The Celtics would send Rajon Rondo, and the Mavs would give away Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, and Brandan Wright and a future 1st round pick and a 2016 2nd rounder. If you’re unfamiliar here’s a little overview:
- Rajon Rondo:#9, 6’1”, PG, 28 years old: 8.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 10.8 APG
- Jameer Nelson: #14, 6’, PG, 32 years old: 7.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 4.1 APG
- Brandan Wright: #12, 6’10”, 27 years old: 8.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.6 BPG
- Jae Crowder: #99, 6’6”, SF, 24 years old: 3.6 PPG, 1.2 RPG, .5 APG
So at the moment, the only highly valuable assets were Rajon Rondo and the first round pick, although Rondo has potential is much more insured than an unspecified year 1st rounder. This trade shakes up the West in incredible proportions. Rondo, a Top-5 PG is a difference maker for the Mavs. With this change they are undoubtedly a solid threat at the tile. On the other side of the deal, the Celtics who have a surprisingly mediocre start are falling and fast. With no clear star, they will have to rely on Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger. Being a Celtics fan, these are two players I’m very familiar with. To some them both up with one word is easy: inconsistent. Sullinger has had recurring back issues, but when healthy has been great… sometimes. One night Sullinger will have a 20-10 game (20 points 10 rebounds) but the next he will be practically non-existent. Sullinger excels at home, averaging 5 points and almost 2 rebounds more per game at home versus the road. Jeff Green is rarely non-existent, but is streaky to say the least. Although possibly very unimportant, but undeniably interesting, Green averages 26.5 points on Mondays, compared to 18.5 normally. I guess not everyone hates Mondays. The Celtics, who did pose a threat to making the playoffs before the trade, will probably just go into hibernation mode for the rest of the season, and wait to reappear until the draft.
Trades like this one are the root of all-evil in sports. These are the kind of trades that will only elongate the dominance the West has. Trades like this kill fan bases, and help keep tanking alive. Yes, this trade gives Dallas great playoff hopes, but the league doesn’t care about that. What the league cares about is money. Money starts with fans. The NBA is losing fans rapidly. The cause is tanking. This creates a mass separation between good and bad teams. There are good teams, bad teams, 50 feet of crap, and the 76er’s. (applause for “Moneyball” reference).