The Day of reckoning is at last at hand for the draft possibilities for former Kentucky guard Rajon Rondo, who decided to turn Pro after his sophomore year of college basketball. That day is today, Wednesday June 28, 2006.
There have been numerous mock drafts thrown around for the last couple of months, mostly based on workouts for NBA teams. Everyone who has followed the Rondo saga has formulated an opinion as to his pro marketability. Those opinions are all over the board, primarily because of Rondo's unproven outside shooting proficiency.
Apparently some of the pro franchises, all be it much less than the neophyte analyst, are struggling, too. However, the pro game is much more conducive to the game of a Rajon Rondo, so it's not as much of a crapshoot as one might think. We will explore that later.
Why is Rondo going pro, rather than staying in college? "First, his choice to leave is because he's ready," said Doug Bibby, Rondo's mentor, roll model, father figure, and coach for much of his basketball developing years. "The pro game is suited for him much like the Junior Olympics last summer. It's the pace of the game that fits him." Last summer is when Rondo began making a name for himself. Bibby said Rondo has the assets of a point guard in the NBA.
Bibby said of Rondo's assets: "A point guard has got to; 1) Get to the paint; 2) run a team; 3) and defend. Putting all that in perspective, Rajon can shoot. Shooting is all about confidence. There were times when Rajon was not confident as to whether he should shoot or not. Sometimes as a point guard, he is looking for the best shot for the team. Case in point – Randolph Morris for a 8-foot base line jumper, Patrick for the three-pointer, or Rajon for the midrange shot."
Bibby said that as for as having a jump shot, T.J. Ford, Jason Kidd, Allen Iverson, and Michael Jordan had to develop consistent shots when they went into the NBA. He said it's all about technique in teaching a guy to shoot. "It's hard to teach a guy to throw a football 100-yards or a guy to run a 10.02 100-meter dash, but you can teach a guy to shoot the basketball."
Bibby said Rondo's agent Bill Duffy has hooked Rondo up with Tim Grover, the former workout guy for Michael Jordan. This is how Duffy got popular, working with MJ's shot.
"Coach (Tubby) Smith has been great in talking to the NBA," Bibby said. "I think it's definite that Rajon is going in the first round. There are going to be more trades in this draft than any other time, so it's uncertain as to what pick he will be. We've heard everything from 6th to the 25th pick."
Steve Nash went on the 29th pick and Tony Parker went the 27th pick but both went to the right team. Chad Ford who covers the draft for ESPN Insiders said that he thinks Rondo is the quickest point guard in the draft, which gives Rondo a leg up on the likes of a Marcus Williams of Connecticut. He feels that the new hand-checking rules in the NBA allow a player to blow by you and that create a liability for someone like Williams.
How has it been to watch the development of Rondo as a player and as a person? "It was great when Rondo made the All-SEC Academic Honor Roll," Bibby enthusiastically stated. "Bringing him along is like watching a little brother growing up. We will be nervously watching the NBA draft together."