The first season in Sacramento has restored Rajon Rondo’s status as the premier passer in the NBA.
As the season approaches the halfway mark, the 6-foot-1 point guard has dished out 49 more assists than anyone else in the league and is averaging an additional two assists than his nearest challenger.
For the fourth time in his 10-year career, Rondo is averaging over 11 assists per game, posting a league-best 11.6 a night, and the 439 assists have him on pace to become just the second player since the 1996-97 campaign to total 900 or more assists in a season.
From anywhere on the floor, Rondo is a threat to setup his teammates for an open look and a pass from him seems to have a bit of a magic touch.
For the year, Kings guard Ben McLemore is shooting 38.2 percent from beyond the arc, but when his long range shot is being setup by Rondo, he is connecting on 48.5 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Six of his teammates are shooting over 50 percent from the field off looks set up by Rondo this season.
Each night, 27.2 of the 106.3 points scored by Sacramento originate from off a pass from Rondo.
An assist crown would serve as a bit of redemption for Rondo, considering his 48 game tenure in Dallas ended abruptly with coach Rick Carlisle dismissing him from the team during the opening round of the playoffs.
The Kings have been searching for consistency at the point guard position for years, and the two-time All-Star has delivered. For the year, Rondo is averaging 11.7 points, 11.6 assists, 6.4 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game.
Rondo’s ability to pile up triple-doubles, as he has submitted the seventh most in NBA history with 28, stem from his ability to pile up assists on any night.
There has been 24 performances with 15 or more assists this season, 10 have been submitted by Rondo.
For the year, Rondo has dished out 10 or more assists in 26 of his 38 appearances and he has tallied double-digit assists in each of his las eight games.
In his first season with the Kings, Rondo is proving to be ready to take his assist crown back.
Biggest Surprise: Lou Williams– Los Angeles Lakers
A move into the starting lineup has transformed the reigning Sixth Man of the Year into the most consistent scorer on the Lakers roster. Since the start of the new year, Williams has averaged 22.9 points per game and has connected 22 times from 3-point range during the nine game span. The 6-foot-1 point guard even poured in a career-high, tallying 44 points against Oklahoma City, during that run, providing a lift for his fantasy owners.
Biggest Disappointment: Trevor Ariza– Houston Rockets
The shots continue to not drop for Ariza this season. The 6-foot-8 forward is shooting just 39.2 percent from the field, the lowest of his 11-year career, and the points were difficult to come by over the past week. During the last three games, Ariza has managed just 9.3 points per game and has failed to reach 15 points in 11 of his past 13 games. The Rockets managed to restore their record above .500, but for the team to become a serious playoff threat, Ariza needs to find his shooting touch.
Pick ’em Up: Darrell Arthur– Denver Nuggets
Consecutive 18 point performances from Arthur has made him the most popular add in fantasy basketball this week. During the past 24 hours, eight percent of the leagues in all of Yahoo! fantasy basketball added Arthur. Over his last four games, the 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 14.3 points on 62.5 percent shooting from the field to go along with 8.5 rebounds a night. An ankle injury has limited Jusuf Nurkic, opening up additional playing time for Arthur.
Put ’em Down: Joakim Noah– Chicago Bulls
A frustrating year for Noah has likely come to an end Friday night. After becoming entangled with JaVale McGee during the second quarter, Noah dislocated his left shoulder and will undergo surgery to repair the injury later in the week. Chicago anticipates a recovery time of four-to-six months, potentially leaving a return during the playoffs a possibility. In 29 appearances — with just two starts — Noah posted a career-low 4.3 points per game, to go along with 8.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.0 blocks per game.
Injury Watch: Victor Oladipo– Orlando Magic
A sprained right knee will keep Oladipo out of the lineup Monday against Atlanta. The injury comes at a bad time for the third-year guard, as he is coming off his best outing of the season. During Orlando’s overtime loss to the Raptors in London, Oladipo poured in a season-high 27 points as he knocked down five shots from 3-point range to go along with six rebounds, six assists and two steals. Oladipo will receive treatment from team doctors in an attempt to prepare himself for a return to action Wednesday against the 76ers.
Stat of the Week: John Wall– Washington Wizards
Since the NBA started keeping track of steals in the 1973-74 season, no player has been able to accomplish what Wall did Saturday night against the Celtics. The two-time All-Star posted a season-high 36 points along with 13 assists and seven steals. No player has ever tallied 36 points, 13 assists and seven steals in the same game. The performance was the 18th this season with six or more steals in a single game, two have been submitted by Wall. For the year, Wall has totaled 85 steals and ranks fourth in the league averaging 2.2 steals per game.