The Bulls finally have a direction for how they want to use Rondo
NEW YORK – Finally, some clarity for Rajon Rondo.
At least while the flu-bug is running rampant through the Bulls locker room.
According to coach Fred Hoiberg, Rondo’s role is now as the lead point guard for the second unit, after the veteran was benched for 5 ½ games without a single minute of playing time.
“I talked to him about the lift and the spark that he gave us [Tuesday] with the energy and the pace, the push that he had with that second unit,’’ Hoiberg said after the Thursday shootaround. “Obviously, we used him in the fourth quarter, he made a couple of big plays for us. He’s ready to go.’’
Rondo was a starter for most of the season, until a poor first half against Indiana almost two weeks ago led to his benching.
It came with little explanation as far as Rondo was concerned, and vague answers from the Bulls. Without Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic against the Wizards to start this current road trip, however, Hoiberg had little choice but to go back to Rondo.
The veteran responded with 12 point, six assists and three steals.
Now, they want him to stay with the second unit, with Michael Carter-Williams still with the starters.
“Yeah, that’s something that we thought a lot about is getting him in there with that second group,’’ Hoiberg said. “When we get Niko back healthy and obviously with Doug [McDermott] going back to his bench role, and when we do get Jimmy back, to get him out there and be the leader of that second unit … I thought he was really good, he made a couple of good defensive plays, good deflections in that game the other night against Washington.’’
Butler and Mirotic remained in Chicago, but Butler was at least going to attempt to get to the Advocate Center later Thursday and “move around,’’ according to Hoiberg.
Wade is back, though, after getting a rest day in the second game of the back-to-back.
“The one thing is you put a roster together of guys and he’s a big part of it,’’ Wade said, when asked if the team was better when Rondo is playing. “It’s the coaches’ job to find out what’s the best position for a guy to be in. But a guy who can get a triple-double on any given night when he’s on top of his game helps your team for sure. Whatever that role is, he did a phenomenal job the other night.
“If that’s the role that he has going forward, I just praise him for being a professional, doing what he needed to do for his teammates. I’ve never been around a situation like that with a player like him. And I thought he handled it very well. When he got in the game, it’s like he didn’t miss any time. That’s just being a true professional, being prepared and ready.’’