Near the end of Rondo's tenure with the Celtics, some began to question his defensive effort and intensity level. The Mavericks' defensive numbers have improved since the Rondo trade. According to NBA.com, Dallas has allowed 100.6 points per 100 possessions since adding Rondo, down considerably from the number (104.3) they have yielded over the entire season.
In discussing his defense on Friday, Rondo mentioned playing alongside Avery Bradley, who is regarded as an elite defender, in Boston.
"I haven't played defense in a couple of years," Rondo said. "I've been able to hide it a lot with Avery Bradley on the ball. He's helped me out, the young guy. But here they expect me to play defense. And in the West, if you don't play defense you'll get embarrassed every night at the point guard position. I took it as a challenge (for) myself. It's not just me. It's my teammates. Our communication is getting a lot better and our coverages are getting better. So it's the whole team concept, it's not just me. Obviously people are going to look at the stats and say, 'Since Rondo's came there, they're down seven or eight points or whatever defensively.' But we still have a lot of room to improve and I believe we'll still get better defensively."
Over 28 games this season, Rondo has averaged 9.3 points, 10.1 assists and 1.7 steals. The Mavericks (23-10) have gone 4-2 in six games with the 6-foot-1 guard.