When it comes to point guards, Rajon Rondo is one of the purest in the game. He has impeccable ball-handling skills, court vision and athleticism. Perhaps most importantly as a floor general, he can make everyone around him better using his remarkable skill set.
The one thing Rondo doesn’t have going for him is his three-ball. Defenders can blatantly cheat, usually giving him space until he’s a step or two inside the three-point line. Because of this, Rondo has had to become even better at the aforementioned qualities that make him great, especially handling the rock.
With that in mind, here are his five finest moves to throw off opponents. They’re filthy, they’re nasty, and they’re everything you’d expect from a top-notch ball-handler.
Viewer’s discretion advised. Ankles are about to be broken.
It’s standard, it’s a classic and it proves a simple screen hedge doesn’t stop Rondo on the pick-and-roll.
His explosiveness in the video shown (at 2:42) is the reason most of his moves are successful, but it’s probably the most important for his crossover. He’s already changed direction before the defender lands on two feet from hopping over to hedge the screen. The anticipation shown by Rondo is uncanny, proving that being even slightly late to a defensive assignment can lead to two points.
Spoiler: You get a special treat here, as two of Rondo’s top five moves are in this one video.
One of the most underrated moves in the game (seriously, how many times do you see it?), Rondo makes the inside-out dribble look good. He can bring it out on the fast break and half-court set, as evidenced by his dismantling of Steve Blake and Steve Nash (above), respectively.
Ever since the early 2000s with Allen Iverson and continuing on through players like Deron Williams and Jamal Crawford, the NBA and its fans have been infatuated with the crossover. It’s become a staple in highlight reels and holds the top spot on several other players’ Most Dangerous Moves rankings here on Bleacher Report.
Because of the hype, it’s become one of the biggest fears of a defender to be crossed, second only to a posterizing dunk. As a result, players tend to over-guard the crossover, leaving a quick counter dribble, such as the inside-out dribble, as a sneaky move that embarrasses the opponent.
If a player gets this move down, it gives them a huge advantage in beating their man. And Rondo has it down.
Bleacher Report’s own Tristan Thornburgh noted yesterday that Michael Jordan could create a whole highlight reel on attacking the rim alone. The way Rondo finishes around the basket, it won’t be long before he can put up nine minutes of up-and-unders of his own.
His freakish 6’10” wingspan and ridiculously large hands (most recently brought to light via ESPN’s SportsCenter commercial) allow him to stretch the ball to the other side of the hoop with control and power. Even the best rim protectors, like Tyson Chandler in the included video, can’t stop it.
Rondo arguably has a 2A and 2B in the up-and-under and Eurostep. Both are equally effective and gratifying to watch.
The Eurostep, however, requires more timing and lateral quickness to execute, and I’m giving the slight edge to it here. It also gives Rondo a better chance at a three-point play. He ends up shooting with his inside hand and the defender, obviously caught off guard, will reach for the outside arm. He’ll hit the inside one instead, fouling Rondo in the process.
The other result is Rondo simply blows by the defender, like he did to Luke Ridnour. Either way, buckets.
No contest. This fake is a thing of beauty, and no one can do it like Rondo.
Once again, his wingspan and hand size play key roles in this move. The wingspan allows him to cock his arm back ridiculously far, selling the fake, while his hand can keep a grip on the ball while that far back.
It’s almost as if he was made for this move, and for that, it’s his best.
As sweet as it is, this video doesn’t do it justice, and I encourage you to look at more throughout the web. It is summer, after all, you’ve got time.