After nearly four seasons of playing meaningless basketball in Beantown Rajon Rondo has finally been rescued from the depths of obscurity also known as the Eastern Conference into immediate title contention with the Dallas Mavericks. The last time Rondo played meaningful basketball Kevin Garnett actually had some bounce in his step, Paul Pierce wasn’t coming off the bench, and Ray Allen was still in the league.
With with one championship and a few NBA Finals appearances under his belt Rondo may believe that he has seen all, but he will soon learn that life in the Western Conference is a different animal. Unlike the Eastern Conference there are no cupcakes out West, every game is grind because playoff position is always on the line because even a three game losing streak could seal your playoff fate.
Led by aging star Dirk Nowitzki the Mavs playoff window is closing and I mean fast. The next batch of NBA stars are all out West and so far the age of the Mavericks has began to show. After opening the season on fire the Mavs have come to a simmer and with younger teams poised to break through the Mavs were on the verge of settling for the eight seed for the second year in a row or missing the playoff all together.
Although adding an often injured guard who can’t shoot whose known to clash with teammates and coaches does not guarantee a top seed and a ticket to the finals. By adding Rondo, the Mavs now have five players who have won NBA Championships which an invaluable trait that could certainly yield dividends in the clutch. Both the Mavs and Rondo are at a crossroad: Mark Cuban‘s ego is on the line and Rondo poised to ball out since a max contract is on the line. Before Rondo basketball in Boston was a joke but after him there was a championship and conference titles galore. Will Rondo be able to do the same for Mavs out west? Stay tuned…I know I will.
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Subscribe to podcast
After weeks of looking for the source of parody and the absence of elite teams in college basketball I have finally found the source. The players who would have provided a boost of excitement and highlight to a mediocre college basketball season are getting splinters on NBA benches collecting checks and DNPs. In the 2012 NBA Draft 56 underclass declared and only 22 were fortunate enough to be selected in the first round. While some rookies have experienced high levels of success like top pick Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets and point guard Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers regretfully nearly half of them are contributing very little to their NBA franchises.
Last year the college game was decimated when several promising guards prematurely declared for the 2012 NBA Draft in their quest for the millions. Guards such as Kendall Marshall (Phoenix Suns), Austin Rivers (New Orleans Hornets), Marquis Teague (Chicago Bulls), Jared Cunningham (Dallas Mavericks), Tony Wroten (Memphis Grizzles) would have garnered All-American honors, improved draft stock while also altering the fortune of their college teams who have struggled to fill their void.
As rivalry week continues I ask college basketball fans and hoops loyalist to imagine how different fortune of their favorite teams would be had these guards chose to return to school and log major minutes instead of collecting DNP on a NBA bench. Although no player will ever be bigger than college basketball rivalry but the inclusion of great guard play in these games are truly what make these rivalries must watch television.
During rivalry week I am certain that these former college stars find themselves having second thoughts about their decision to go pro. When one of the favorites for the Naismith Player of the Year Award is Michigan Wolverine point guard Trey Burke who was an after-thought when compared to the guards who declared for the draft last year speaks volumes about the state of the college game and how vital a guard is to building a title contender. As the season of parody continues the players who declared and the fans will all wonder what if. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrkslpsprtz2)
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google