How much confidence do you have in a Rajon Rondo/Jrue Holiday starting backcourt and why?
Jason: I love the Rondo-Holiday backcourt, especially with DeMarcus Cousins at center and Chris Finch orchestrating parts of the offense. We could be looking at the best team basketball the Pelicans have fielded in years. As long as the chemistry comes together correctly, the offense should result in a lot of open looks and the defense remain at least as stout as last season’s version.
Kevin: I don't think it's the perfect fit, but it can work. The Pelicans will now be able to field at least one average or above average playmaker/defender in the backcourt at all times with a solid staggering plan from Alvin Gentry.
I'd still like to see a lot of Holiday and E’Twaun Moore in the backcourt, but Rondo's playmaking and defense will make Jrue's life easier — as well as take the pressure of being the floor leader off his ill-fitted shoulders.
Jamile: I have a decent amount of confidence. Rondo really frees Jrue to focus on the scoring aspect of his game without having to do all the basketball calculus required of an NBA point guard.
There are concerns, however. It’s true that Rondo has improved his long range shooting in recent seasons, yet defenses will continue to lag off of him which may create spacing issues occasionally. If the team can get enough shooting from Holiday and Solomon Hill, not to mention Boogie, that might be enough to keep defenses honest... but that is a lot of ifs.
Defensively, this backcourt has a chance to be really fun to watch with plenty of defensive savvy between the two guards. Overall, I have an above average level of confidence in the Holiday/Rondo backcourt, but that confidence is written with the thinnest of ink.
Preston: I have very little confidence in Rajon Rondo's future with the Pelicans, and here's why: He's a quick fix, a band-aid.
Rondo can't be considered part of New Orleans plans going forward because he turns 32 this season, and the Pelicans don't have the cap space to pay him anything above an exception in the future. The Pelicans will have other, more essential needs to utilize when tapping into their MLE and BAE next season.
David: Rooting for Rondo hasn't exactly been an enjoyable or profitable exercise for fans over the last five years. I hope it works out great, but Rondo's weaknesses could be magnified by a starting lineup absent of enough shooting threats. My confidence is low, but my hope high.
Zachary: I'm not worried about Jrue, my focus is on Rondo. If he’s engaged and is playing nice with others, this will be a sneaky good backcourt tandem. Rondo is tight with Cousins so hopefully that keeps him from giving New Orleans less than his best on a nightly basis.
Oleh: I’m legitimately torn. My heart, understandably so after several really crappy seasons, wants to desperately believe all the odd pieces will fall into place, but my head is having trouble climbing on board.
On the one hand, Rondo’s tumultuous career since leaving Boston can partially be explained away, which I attempted to do shortly after the news broke of his signing. Holiday has plenty of experience functioning as a shooting guard, and the combination of he and Tim Frazier — a below average defender and shooter — was actually a net positive in 450 minutes.
On the flip side, Rondo is past his prime, carries a ton of baggage and his headstrong mentality has trouble acquiescing to others. In order for the proposed starting lineup to succeed, Holiday is going to have to find the range often, but his catch-and-shoot numbers from last season give rise to a lot of doubt.
So, yeah, a Rondo/Holiday backcourt has the potential to be an effective backcourt in the league or deserve it’s own emoji, falling somewhere below that famous pile of brown stuff. Time will tell.
Brett: Honestly, I’ve been a big Rajon Rondo fan since he entered the league. His style and true point guard skills are a rare combination as so many guards have become shoot-first chuckers.
Rondo can lead this team, and Jrue Holiday is big enough to cover shooting guards without a problem. Remember, Rondo led the league in assists two seasons ago, and he could definitely do the same thing this year with the amount of talented players around him. Holiday will have to accept not being the primary playmaker, but he is a good enough shooter to function well as a 2-guard.
Against all rationality, given Rondo’s lack of shooting ability, I remain high on a Rondo-Holiday pairing. It is unorthodox, but since when was that part of New Orleans’ M.O. to begin with after obtaining Cousins?
Travis: Confidence? None. It's not proven, it features a multiple time malcontent and a guy who has rarely lived up to his billing and is now essentially experimenting at a new position. So, nobody should have any confidence, but the duo might be able to put it together.
There are elements that might change things around for both guys. The first is regarding Rondo. He's back in a situation where he's not nearly the best player and he definitely realizes it. He knows AD and Boogie are the stars and that he can help a nice guy like Jrue figure out his new places on the floor.
Holiday's entire career could turn with his move to the 2. He likes to attack off the dribble and this positional change might simplify his "if this, do that" procedures going on in his head. Things are a little simpler for a 2 than a 1. If his defender is trailing him, attack the rim and maybe dump off a pass to a big guy. If a defender is pressuring him to shoot an outside shot, take it or reverse the ball to the other side. Keeping it simple could really help Jrue get back on track!