Skip to content

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. Steve - Aug 24, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    Sure are lots of Rondo haters out there. Id venture to say that if were traded to your out of market, non/never going to contend pathetic team, you would bow down and say its the greatest thing since sliced bread. You would run down to the store, kids in tow, scoffing up all the Rondo jerseys you could get your hands on. But what do I know? Im just a Celtics fan. Wanna compare banner counts? I didnt think so. BOW DOWN!!

  2. Big Bird from Boston - Aug 24, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    Rondo is a mixed bag. Good defensive player, probably a close second to Westbook, good playmaker (better than Westbrook), but that ugly jumpshot absolutely killed him and the Celtics during the Finals. It looks like Coach K kept that in mind prior to making his final cut…err… before Rondo decided to quit. Yeah, that’s it.

  3. jackie - Aug 24, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    luv all you know nothings putting your judgements on a par with Coach K. The man knows the game and HE decided rondo is not one of the twelve he wants to coach. CASE CLOSED

  4. Anonymous - Aug 24, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    You are right on target. The European game is a standup shooters game, not a drive and shoot. Rondo is a great, but limited player.

  5. lynnie - Aug 24, 2010 at 7:31 PM

    coach k stinks

  6. Hank - Aug 24, 2010 at 7:41 PM

    jackie –
    You hit it on the head. A decision had to be made…geez people let it go. Positive Energy is all you need.
    J Dilla!

  7. belina - Aug 24, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    are you serious! rondo’s coach Doc Rivers was just quoted saying that rondo was the smartest player he has ever coached, and i think doc rivers knows him alot better than any of us, and to say he is not a great passer, where were you this past playoff season? every player has it strengths and weaknesses thats why its not just one person in a startin lineup its 5, its everybodys strengths that you put together to make a team, but you can say what you want, this is a 24 year kid who just signed a $55 million contract extentions with one of the best franchises in the nba. and some say kobe gave him open shots, kobe also was pissed when rondo stole the ball from them.

  8. MarkL - Aug 24, 2010 at 8:07 PM

    The International game is different…Coach K knows what it takes to win…’nuff said…

  9. Nursemaid - Aug 24, 2010 at 8:15 PM

    Do you need your diaper changed, burped, what? Cause you are crying like a baby. Celtics Lost. It’s time for your nap.

  10. james - Aug 24, 2010 at 8:23 PM

    im really tired of listening to people say rondo sucks. half of you probably don’t play basketball and if so you’d know rondo is one of the best pgs in the league plus why the hell are u even on here if u don’t like rondo. he is more of a defensive player and playmaker than scorer and he gets critized for it. Coach k is an idoit for not putting the best floor general in the league on that team. And honestly they will most likely fall in the world championships because of this. but in the long run when rondo is a superstar in this league and team US loses, coach k and team usa will all be looking stupid and all of you haters who don’t even watch bball like that are going to jump his f***** bandwaggin like you do everybody else. so f uck all of you with no bball knowledge n watch the highlights on sportscenter n not the games.

  11. james - Aug 24, 2010 at 8:26 PM

    im really tired of listening to people say rondo sucks. half of you probably don’t play basketball and if so you’d know rondo is one of the best pgs in the league plus why the hell are u even on here if u don’t like rondo. he is more of a defensive player and playmaker than scorer and he gets critized for it. Coach k is an idoit for not putting the best floor general in the league on that team. And honestly they will most likely fall in the world championships because of this. but in the long run when rondo is a superstar in this league and team US loses, coach k and team usa will all be looking stupid and all of you haters who don’t even watch bball like that are going to jump his f***** bandwaggin like you do everybody else. so f uck all of you with no bball knowledge n watch the highlights on sportscenter n not the games.

  12. coachjim - Aug 24, 2010 at 8:34 PM

    we seem to be the only two on the same page Alfredito60.. the so called team USA
    look like a second rate team up to now. If the other gasol were fit and played the other night it would have been lights out America.. And BTW Rondo has already done more than enough to go to the Hall of Fame… I don’t see Kobeee or LaBum or Dwade or any other player putting up the Playoff numbers he’s put up over the last three Years.. DERRRRRR

  13. coachjim - Aug 24, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    we seem to be the only two on the same page Alfredito60.. the so called team USA
    look like a second rate team up to now. If the other gasol were fit and played the other night it would have been lights out America.. And BTW Rondo has already done more than enough to go to the Hall of Fame… I don’t see Kobeee or LaBum or Dwade or any other player putting up the Playoff numbers he’s put up over the last three Years.. DERRRRRR

  14. Joe B - Aug 24, 2010 at 8:46 PM

    If they cut him because they wanted shooters, why did they invite him in the first place? Does not make any sense.

  15. elvis - Aug 24, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    not to knock the kid. He is good, but pales next to the players kept. Simple fact he can’t throw a brick in the ocean. Great players have to be able to shoot. If you can not you are not very good. A guard who can’t shoot allows the defense to collapse, therby hindering the inside game.Greats like Robertson, West, Monroe, Wilkens, and Curry stretch the floor. To win this team needs to create space for Durant and Odom. It is unfortunate that todays standards are so low.And memories so short. Rondo is an average player, limited in abilty and poorly suited for an international game largely strong in fundamentals

  16. mike - Aug 24, 2010 at 9:22 PM

    it looks like this team needs to schedule a practice with the players not on the team such as Kobe, Paul, Wade, etc.

  17. Aussie Phil - Aug 24, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    Hey Joe, I think this is a telling insight. It is very late in the selection process for the US coaches to be talking about team deficiencies. I thought the US had the best basketball system in the world? I realise that a lot of top tier players have opted out (interesting in itself, given the average record of US teams over the past decade), but surely it wouldn’t be that hard to pick a team with balance: size, shooting, defence etc.
    Does not augur well for medal chances in September!

  18. Terrance - Aug 24, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    Solid mid range game? like free throw range? that he can’t shoot to save his life. haha come on rondo didn’t deserve to make the team. You need shooters in FIBA play

  19. Wojo the Shooter, Turner the Driver - Aug 24, 2010 at 9:50 PM

    Let’s see. 1998 Duke versus UK. Coach K has Wojo better shooting point guard. Wayne Turner drives on him relentlessly. Turner has awful looking shot and freethrow style. Coach K runs out of timeouts. You need someone to pass to the superstars. There won’t be enough basketballs. You need some role players to play defense and rebound and do the dirty work. To be good at basketball you need speed under control.

  20. DC - Aug 24, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    Why would you keep Eric Gordon over Rondo? Gordon has never been a great shooter and has trouble playing the point.

  21. happyjack59 - Aug 24, 2010 at 10:27 PM

    Unlike the NBA, international ball is truly a team game. Rondo works well in a system designed to showcase individual talent on the team. He makes great, sometimes brilliant, passes, and goes to the hoop well when a defender is more worried about the possible receiver of a pass than Rondo. I-ball isn’t like that. There will be times that an individual will use his talent to score, but coach K wants guys to work as a team to score the majority of the points. A point guard has to take most open shots inside 12 feet. That’s not Rondo’s game. A golf analogy would be, “horses for courses”. He’s not an I-ball horse. Having said all that, he could be my point on any NBA team.

  22. Hoops McCann - Aug 24, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    …as is his wont, (not want)

  23. orly - Aug 24, 2010 at 10:52 PM

    why rondo.? us team need a enforcer a defender. rondo fit to that why oh why.have an excellent court vision.

  24. Punk of Dunk - Aug 24, 2010 at 11:05 PM

    I hope everything is cool between Rondo and Team USA. Yes, Rondo has a great game that is suited for the NBA and pick up games in the states. He creates a great deal of offense from his Defense. But the international game is slower, longer possessions, not as many high risk or hurried possessions as the NBA. Thus, Rondo’s defensive effect on the game is minimized. On the offensive end of the court you don’t necessarily have to guard him, which is troublesome since Team USA will see mostly zone. Teams will be able to pack the key and play the passing lanes and make us look inept. One way we can lose is if we don’t have “zone busters” that force the opposition to go “man to man”. If we can force teams to play man to man then we already possess the talent to exploit their personnel. On any given night you don’t know who is going to be hot. I’d hate for the hot hand to be sitting on a couch back here in the States.

  25. jay arge - Aug 25, 2010 at 1:45 AM

    shut up!!!!Rondo cant even shoot!

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

The list of championship contenders
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. B. Beal (8510)
  2. K. Durant (7692)
  3. K. McDaniels (7641)
  4. K. Leonard (7186)
  5. R. Rondo (7012)