Schott: Knicks Don’t Need Rondo

(Knicks center Robin Lopez putting up a hook shot – @NYKnicks)

The Knicks are ending this season with a lot of question marks, far more than they thought they would be after their strong start.

There are questions about whether Phil Jackson will remain as President, who will be the coach going into next season, and what role Carmelo Anthony will play in free agency, and that’s even if he is not dealt in the offseason.

It was reported recently that Anthony would like to recruit free agents, starting with point guard Rajon Rondo, who is currently on the Sacramento Kings after signing only a one-year deal last summer.

Rondo and the Kings were in town Sunday night, and they beat the Knicks 88-80.

Rondo is an incredible talent – that is not in dispute, as evidenced by his averages of 11.8 points and 11.9 rebounds per game and the fact he gets triple-doubles rather often.

The thing that the Knicks have to decide is if Rondo is worth the headache. He wore out his welcome in Boston, battling with Doc Rivers and Ray Allen in his time there.

Boston mistakenly thought that Rondo could lead their rebuilding after Rivers, Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce left. Instead, Rondo resented that he was the last one left on the island and made it clear he wanted out.

Boston finally dealt Rondo to Dallas in January 2015, and his time with the Mavericks was an unmitigated disaster. His time there was marked by him being suspended for arguing with Head Coach Rick Carlisle on the court one night and was ultimately sent home during the playoffs.

This was all heading into his free agent year, when he thought he would get big money. Instead, he had to take the one-year deal with the Kings to try to rehabilitate his image and try for big money in the summer of 2016.

Rondo’s image has not improved by the fact that the Kings, at 27-42, are one of the biggest disappointments in the NBA, and he was suspended for calling a referee an anti-gay slur early in the season.

The Knicks are a team that is no stranger to dysfunction, with the most recent example being the off-the-court exploits of former head coach Derek Fisher.

The last thing they need is to bring in Rondo and have him run the offense, with possibly a new coach and a significant number of new players.

The nucleus the Knicks have in place this year is not as bad as one would thing, considering they have only won six games in the last two months.

Kristaps Porzingis, Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, and Anthony make up a nice starting lineup, with the only necessary change being point guard.

Porzingis has tailed off the past couple of months, as the grind of an NBA schedule has taken a toll on the 20-year old rookie from Latvia. He still is averaging respectable numbers of 13.9 points and 7,2 rebounds per game.

Anthony has battled injury again this season, especially with his surgically-repaired left knee and he missed Sunday night’s game due to migraines.

Knicks Interim Head Coach Kurt Rambis said of Anthony’s health on Sunday, “When we had our walk through, he said he was good at the very beginning of it then I guess as we stayed out there longer and he became more light sensitive. Then checked with the medical staff to see what else was ailing him and they tried to give him some treatment. Tried to put him in a dark room to calm things down but he just wasn’t getting any better,”

When healthy, Anthony has put up strong numbers, averaging 21.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 49 games.

Afflalo has been pretty good in his first season with the Knicks, after they signed him as a free agent from the Washington Wizards. Bouncing between the starting lineup and the bench, he is averaging 13.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 34.2 minutes.

Lopez has been a steady presence in the lane this season, providing strong defense, and averaging 10.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.3 assists this season.

On Sunday night, Lopez was the lone bright spot for the Knicks, as he put up major numbers, 23 points and 20 rebounds, against one of the top centers in the NBA, DeMarcus Cousins.

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley is the obvious choice, as he is as talented as Rondo and is a great leader on the court of a perennial playoff power.

If they cannot get Conley, they wouldn’t go wrong just making Langston Galloway the starting point guard. Galloway, in his second year, is averaging 25 minutes, 7.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. Those numbers would be even better if he were out there with the starters for 35-40 minutes.


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