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Rajon Rondo is Team USA's final cut, but why?

Aug 24, 2010, 2:26 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for rondo_team_usa.jpgTeam USA officially announced its 12-man roster this afternoon, and Rajon Rondo is not on it. That much we know for sure, but from there, everything starts to get a bit fuzzy.

Rondo saw the writing on the wall with regard to his benching in Sunday’s exhibition game against Spain, but Jerry Colangelo’s explanation for Rondo’s exclusion has little to do with basketball or on-court fit:

“Rajon came to us and said
he was going to withdraw from the team, that he had some family matters
to attend to and some things to take care of before the NBA season. He
did an outstanding job during our training, we appreciate the effort
and commitment he made to our program and he completely has our
support.”

That could very well be true. Or it could be Colangelo covering for his decision, which as ESPN’s Henry Abbott pointed out on Twitter, wouldn’t be anything new. The best way to determine the truth is to wait and gauge Rondo’s reaction to the situation. If Rondo really does need to attend to family matters, wash his hair, and return some video tapes, then there shouldn’t be any hard feelings between him and the Team USA brass. But if Mike Krzyzewski, Jerry Colangelo, and the Team USA staff opted to actually cut Rondo rather than finalize their roster by his withdrawal, it’s safe to say that Rondo may respond differently.

Taking Rondo’s earlier comments into account, my money says Rondo was actually cut from the roster. If he really planned to withdraw from roster contention, why would he claim to be on the bubble for making the roster in the first place?

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports also cites a source claiming that the players of Team USA were shocked by Rondo’s cut. Teammates that, as Spears’ source notes, Rondo had a good relationship with. Why would they be shocked if Rondo’s departure was planned? We’re entering A Few Good Men territory here: Rondo was leaving for the rest of his life, and he hadn’t called a soul and he hadn’t packed a thing. Can you explain that?

Rondo was cut because Colangelo and Coach K want shooters, and now they’ll have them. Eric Gordon, Stephen Curry, and Danny Granger will all head to Turkey because Rondo will not. That said, even if you subscribe to K and Colangelo’s “shooters above all” mantra, is Rondo really the logical cut over, say, Russell Westbrook? Is it really so easy to overlook the most dominant point guard of the NBA playoffs, and one of Team USA’s most skilled perimeter defenders?

Apparently. One of the guards had to go, and Rondo’s lack of a consistent shooting stroke came to be his end. Still, it’s remarkable just how far Rondo has fallen in the last two weeks — not in terms of play, but in his standing with the Team USA brass — as the one-time leader and starter on this team now finds himself the odd man out.

  1. Nick - Aug 24, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    @Tess
    “what rondo’s departure points out is how weak nba standards are. ronda can not shoot, scores primarily because nba defenses are lax, is a mediocre floor general, a weak passer and does not have great bball iq. in short he has weak fundamentals, a death nell in international competition.”
    That’s a pretty dumb statement. You are wrong on so many accounts, it’s hard to describe them all here.
    Rondo is an excellent passer, has tremendoes basketball IQ, and is an above-average floor general. His fundamentals on the defensive end are outstanding, and probably around average offensively (besides his shot obviously).
    NBA standards are anything but weak. NBA players are so much more skilled and athletic, it’s not even close. Europeans arent better shooters – just long-range shooting is utilized more in the international game b/c a 3pt shot is almost 3 feet closer.
    International players are simply more suited for the international game. Weak athletisicm and poor ball-handling doesn’t matter as much in international ball b/c the offensive area is much smaller. Good shooting is all that matters there. If FIBA was played with NBA rules/courts, the Americans would blow e/o else out of the water.

  2. Bill - Aug 24, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    I personally think he was cut for two reasons….attitude, and attitude….
    I don’t think Rondo fits the mold of Team USA Basketball. D Rose will run this team, and he and Durant will shine!!! They can play a great pick and roll together, or Rose will drive and kick for the 3 breaking down defenses. Westbrook will be a good backup, although he doesn’t shoot the ball near as well as D Rose.

  3. Wallsy - Aug 24, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    If Rondo remains healthy, he will be in the hall of fame.

  4. Harper - Aug 24, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    The Lakers showed how to stop Rondo: Sag. If you don’t need to cover the point guard from more than 10 feet out, then you have an extra man advantage for most of the game.
    If he can’t shoot, he can’t play. He can’t do either. Simple.

  5. Funny - Aug 24, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    You mean hall of shame right….. Can’t shoot consistently, can’t play for TEAM USA simple as that…. Plus his attitude is terrible…. enough said. Good Riddance Rondo

  6. Roger - Aug 24, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    It does not really matter what we think of Rondo, whether he is good or not. The USA team coaches cut him so that only means Rondo is not good enough.

  7. feckless - Aug 24, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    The Lakers won by 4 lousy points in a game 7 let us not make this into Kobe and the Lakers dominating anyone!

  8. Big Bird from Boston - Aug 24, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    Raging Rondo is a hormonal problem waiting to happen.

  9. E-Daddy - Aug 24, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    With Derrick Rose on the team, why should we be upset that Rajan Rondo got cut? It’s a high honor just to be invited to the camp!

  10. Sal - Aug 24, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    Harper, you hit the nail in the head. That’s exactly what Kobe did! He was like a Rover out there( a little football lingo ), able to ignore Rondo. I take it that Boston fans don’t want to hear this, but is the truth. Let me put it in terms that Boston meatheads can understand. Rondo is not even in the top five when it comes to point guards! Kobe Bryant is aged Filet Mignon, ( out of Kobe beef of course ), Darren Williams is like Filet Mignon A, Derric Rose is a Porter Steak, Wade is a Rib eye, Russel Westbrook is like a prime Rib, Rondo is like a sirloin. Why on Earth would you go back to sirloin steak, when you’re used to Filet Mignon, Rib eye, Porter steak, or NY steak!

  11. alfredito60 - Aug 24, 2010 at 5:26 PM

    Good for Rondo.
    Now He doe not have to weary about been blame for usa not winning Gold.

  12. Mack - Aug 24, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    I’m not saying that your on crack, you’re a bit crackish

  13. tess - Aug 24, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    Nick, you sound like jonny most, the worlds greatest homer. rondo is a figment of the kool aid drinkers delusion. first; coach K ,like coach Wooden, believes the sum must be greater then the sum of the parts. Ronda sucks strength from the rest in order to excel. His game makes no one better. Second his strengths conflict with those of Durant Curry, Rose and Love. True nba players are supior athletes, but false they are better basketball players. Fundamentally they are generally weak ie; poor at blocking out, filling the lane, hitting mid range jump shots, pivot play and moving without the ball.You are clearly young and believe current players the cats meow. You are wrong. If you select from a pool of players who entered the nba after 1/1/70 and I all players on a roster on 1/1/70 or before, I will beat your brains out nightly. But in your youth you will not understand the difference in talent.

  14. Lisa - Aug 24, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    I love people that spew hatred talking about how someone elses attitude stinks. Isn’t there something about people in glass houses?? And for all you Kobe lovers, well hey at least Rondo was never accused of rape. And you know what, the girl dropping the charges because of death threats does not equate to an aquittal in my book. But you keep talking about how great Kobe is and lathering up his ass. You want to talk about arrogance? you want to talk about treating teammates poorly? Ahhh look no further than Kobe Bryant. And not to mention Kobe’s performance in the finals was mediocre at the very best. Finals MVP what a joke, just shows what a joke the NBA really is, what did he shoot like 25%? Pau Gasol should have been the MVP. And if your talking about the game 7 don’t leave out the astronomical 24 FT’s the Lakers took in the 4th quarter. Can you even imagine what Phil Jackson would have said to the media if he had watched the Celtics take 24 FT’s in the 4th quarter of a game 7? He would have been screaming foul, instead he is grinning like the arrogant prick he is.

  15. paul - Aug 24, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    Westbrook shot 41% from the field and was 23 of 104 from 3 point land (22% terrible). He is not on the team because he can shoot. I suspect Rondo pi$$ed someone off.

  16. Hanna - Aug 24, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    Rondo is the best point guard in the NBA, if you like to Win. A true point guard he is, not like shot 1st Chris Paul or shot 1st Darren Williams, he truely is a fast-break, assist, rebound (quiet well), defend well and score when the option is there, point guard.
    If I owned an NBA team he’d be my starting point guard for sure. If most of the logical that I’ve read from everyone is true about Internation Players being able to shoot well is true, why not have a top point guard defender on them?
    As for offense do you think we might already have enough ball hounds to make up for the difference in Rondo not be the best shooter. (1.Lebron,2.Dewade,3.Kobe,4.Carmelo,5.Durant, hell do I have to name the rest of the rooster that will all be getting their shots, “why not”,6.Chris Paul 7.Carlos Boozier 8.Rose 9. Gay. Hell that’s enough you get my drift!

  17. tamsin - Aug 24, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    there is not an player on the international stage who could not burn rondo with the jumper. not to denegrate him but, westbrook is6’4″”, rose stronger, as quick and a better shooter,Gordon a better shot and curry the scond comming of west. each a better fit for what this unit needs to excel as a team. so no knock on rr just the others are better

  18. steve - Aug 24, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    what kind of drugs are you on

  19. tb - Aug 24, 2010 at 6:12 PM

    Hey Lisa,
    Does dropping the charges right after the judge ruled txt msgs she sent after being “raped” were admisable in court equate to an aquittal in your book?

  20. Chris - Aug 24, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    Rondo got what he deserved. The blatant east coast bias that claims he is one of the top point guards in the NBA infuriates me every time I read an article that blindly proclaims him as gods gift to basketball. Rondo is a warrior and tries really hard, but put almost any other average point guard on the Celtics and try and tell me they don’t get dramatically better. Rondo doesn’t even come into the discussion against CP3, D-Will, Rose, and Nash. I would arguably place Westbrook, Kidd, Jennings, Tyreke, and Billups ahead of him on my PG list.

  21. Jessie - Aug 24, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    Rondo is an amazing floor general who leads the team perfectly.
    He can score whenever needed and always steps up when he needs to and is not afraid to make a big play at a pivotal point in the game. Not to mention, I cannot think of any other play who gets his teammates as involved as Rondo does. If the USA loses the Gold this year (which is very possible. Just look at Spain), Coach K came blame himself for cutting Rondo. Anyone who can possibly say that they’d rather have Westbrook or Granger on their team than Rondo is kidding themselves.
    As for his so called “attitude” problem, how can you possibly say that? Look at Kobe. If anyone has an attitude, it’s Kobe. Yet his being on the team in 08 didn’t seem to be a problem and it was never considered to cut him.
    Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Rondo will be well rested for the NBA season & can continue to practice this summer and improve his game & his shot.
    When he becomes a perennial All Star and a future Hall of Famer and team USA asks him to join the 2012 Olympic team and he refuses, can you really blame him?
    Coach K will regret this decision.

  22. Anonymous - Aug 24, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    sal you are stupid

  23. Hanna - Aug 24, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    Your friend is a year older than you. They’ve done a lot of wild things before and always found success in do so. So they tell you to jump off of a 100 ft. cliff for fun. DO YOU DO IT.
    No because you’re smart enough to know better. Because the coaches cut Rondo, doesn’t mean he’s not good enough, “it just means they didn’t want him for their own reasons.”
    Because he was cut doesn’t mean the coaches were right!
    Coach K is probably just like Shannahan in the NFL, trying to controll high dollar atheletes in the wrong tone.
    You see what that’s gotten Shannahan, a private meeting that he set-up with the player that he tried to make an example of. This isn’t the 70’s or even the 80’s where one man can re-raise another and it go okay. Coach, Boss, Manager, Director or whatever job field people are in the times have changed and the workplace has changed. NO MORE I’M BOSS or BECAUSE I SAID SO, that stuff is out. It’s about respect and common courtesy man to man, woman to man and etc.
    Look at Shaq and Orlando’s coach Van Goudy. I’m tell you, calling out players and making examples of people are over. Look back to Sprewell and P.J. Carlesimo, the times have changed.
    If the coaches dropped him for an obscene control reason they’ll reap the benefits of their efforts. CHARMA…….

  24. ron - Aug 24, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    Rondo is fortunate to have guys like Garnett, Allen, Pierce, and others to make him look good. Without those guys, Rondo will have problems surviving in the NBA. The person who benefitted the most when these three resigned with the Celtics was Rondo. He is saved for the next three years. With these guys he is outstanding, too bad they are not part of team USA. Rondo must improve his shooting and ballhanding, and hope the big three continue to support him the next three years if he will survive. Rondo is the luckiest player in the NBA and if he hasn’t already done so, he needs to case in on his luck while the big three are still performing. I blieve he was the final cut but should have been cut earlier. Good luck Rondo

  25. Sat Guru - Aug 24, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    really…your best defender who can dribble, drive, and kick with the best of them, the ricky rubios of the world…cut. Oh yeah, and probably your best rebounder too. I hope this team gets toasted in the opening rounds…and goes home early. Then all the stars who skipped, and the rondo’s who deserve to be there, can laugh. Coach K is a joke. This team has very little leadership and veteran’s who have been there done that…Rondo was one of those guys who is young, and has been there.
    What a joke.

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