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Rajon Rondo.

Rajon Rondo hasn't taken long to make a positive impact for the Pelicans

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After having his contract terminated by the Chicago Bulls in the summer, there were doubts about what future Rajon Rondo had in the NBA. 

The point guard had a controversial season in the Windy City and it was seen as his last chance saloon. 

But despite not playing for a large portion of the campaign after falling out with head coach Fred Hoiberg, Rondo featured in the starting lineup for their first-round playoff series against his former Boston Celtics team. 

The Bulls took a 2-0 lead after winning both games on the road and the veteran ball handler was a major reason why. 

Unfortunately for Chicago, he suffered a broken thumb and was ruled out for the remainder of the playoffs and the team collapsed in his absence, eventually losing 4-2.

With the franchise deciding to rebuild, there was no place on their roster for Rondo but the New Orleans Pelicans saw enough to decide that he could make a significant impact in their lineup.

After making the four-time All-Star their big free agent acquisition in the offseason - signing him to a one-year, $3.3 million contract - they had to wait patiently before he could take to the court as he was diagnosed with a sports hernia that ruled him out for six weeks.

Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics - Game Five

Since making his debut with the Pelicans, however, Rondo has made a big impact on the team and has quickly established himself as a key member. 

Playmaker

The 31-year-old has always been one of the best facilitators in the NBA and can drop dimes in his sleep when he's at his best. 

He has never been a gifted scorer and in this current era filled with score-first point guards, the more traditional players like Rondo were slowly being fazed out. 

But with two of the league's best big men at their disposal in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, the Pelicans saw a perfect role for the ex-Celtics man and he's excelled at what he does best. 

New Orleans Pelicans v Denver Nuggets

He has been tasked with dictating the New Orleans offense and getting everybody involved and it hasn't taken him long to put his stamp on the team and be a valuable piece. 

In Sunday night's 131-124 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, he dished out a league-high 18 assists to his teammates.

It's the third time he's posted double-digit assists in his last four games and is averaging 8.1 so far this season. 

"I've said it many times, once Rondo is on the floor he makes the game easier for a lot of guys. He takes guys' games to the next level," Cousins said, per NOLA.com. "Since Rondo has been back, I think Jrue (Holiday) and E'Twaun (Moore)'s game has gone to the next level. Darius Miller, his game has gone to a whole other level. It's just making the game easier for everybody."

The numbers certainly back up Boogie's words as the shooting percentages of the aforementioned players have risen since his return. 

Miller and Moore are both hitting 50 percent or better from beyond the arc. Playing off the ball and occupying the shooting guard position has also allowed Holiday to become a better scorer.

He poured in 34 points against the Sixers and had a huge fourth quarter outburst that he said was because of Rondo. 

Orlando Magic v New Orleans Pelicans

"My points are (thanks) to him," Holiday said. "Right when he came back in, everything changed for me."

The All-NBA guard has also taken a leadership role with his new squad and his up-tempo style has hugely benefited the rest of the team allowing them easy baskets in transition. 

"I just try to get them the ball," Rondo said. "We're playing great as a team. ... They're getting out in transition and playing 1-on-1 on the break instead of 1-on-5 set defenses. It's getting those guys a lot of benefits, they're being very aggressive, they're shooting the ball extremely well."

The NBA champion really came to the fore when Davis was ruled out for several games last week with an injury and his importance was evident as he helped to carry the load both on and off the court. 

BIG3 - Week Seven

AD and Cousins are the faces of the Pelicans franchise but the performances of Rondo will determine just how successful they can be this year.

The Louisiana-based outfit is now 14-13 and has enough talent to make the playoffs this season. 

With Rondo playing at a high level again and their twin tower big man combo dominating every night, the signs are positive in the Big Easy.

Topics:
NBA
Southwest Division
Western Conference
New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis

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