New Orleans Pelicans: Should Rajon Rondo still be the starter?

Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images /

For the New Orleans Pelicans, Rajon Rondo’s insertion into the starting lineup hasn’t pushed the team where it wants to go. Eight games in, it’s time to evaluate if it was a mistake to name him a starter alongside Jrue Holiday.

When the New Orleans Pelicans signed Rajon Rondo over the summer, head coach Alvin Gentry  soon announced that he would be in the starting unit. It was somewhat confusing to see two point guards in Rondo and Jrue Holiday being slotted together as a starting backcourt in a very tough Western Conference.

But it seemed like at the time that Gentry wanted to see if his experiment was going to work in the long run. To be frank, not a lot of people had any faith in the idea of having two ball-dominant point guards run the backcourt in the starting unit.

A lot of people right now in the NBA world are reserving their judgement on how they should grade Rajon Rondo since his return from injury two weeks ago. You would have to agree with that notion, but you also can’t be blind to how he has performed in the last eight games.

There are a lot of expectations being shouldered on to this team, especially having two top-10 players in the league. The addition of Rajon Rondo was supposed to be an indicator that the New Orleans Pelicans were turning a corner as a competitive ball club and organization.

Return from injury

Since coming back from injury against the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 13, Rajon Rondo has averaged 4.8 points, 6.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 22 minutes per game. The Pelicans are 4-4 in that eight-game stretch.

These are really horrible numbers for a guy who is supposed to be the starting point guard of an aspiring playoff team. All he’s been relegated to is just a player who can make passes for easy shots to his teammates. Should that be warranted for any player to be considered a starter in this league?

The answer to that is no, but with the resume that Rajon Rondo boasts, most teams would rather have him as their starter than someone coming off the bench. Guys like Jameer Nelson and Darius Miller have performed extremely well off the bench and could be more suited to take Rondo’s spot on the starting unit.


The only game Rajon Rondo had a great performance in was in the horrible blowout loss (146-114) to the Denver Nuggets on Nov. 17. He had 13 points, six assists, three rebounds and made one 3-pointer. It was meaningless stat-stuffing, only without many stats being stuffed.

There is absolutely no reason to have Rajon Rondo — who has been primarily playing as an assist specialist — be in the starting lineup. Jrue Holiday is more than capable to run the offense and get other players involved. Even DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis could get their own shots and use their playmaking abilities to get their teammates easy shots.

At this juncture, Rajon Rondo is more suited to be running the bench and getting guys like Tony Allen, Darius Miller and Jameer Nelson easy opportunities at the basket. It’s clearly in the hands of head coach Alvin Gentry since he’s already shifted E’Twaun Moore to small forward and relegated Dante Cunningham back to the bench.

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We’ll have to wait and see how things transpires moving forward, since this team is on a two-game losing skid.