Western Notes: Rondo, D-League, Bledsoe

The one-year, $9.5MM deal that the Kings inked Rajon Rondo to this past offseason looks like a bargain based on the point guard’s early season play, James Ham of CSNBayArea.com writes. Rondo gives much of the credit for his hot start to embattled coach George Karl, Ham notes. “Coach, it has to do with coach, it has to do with team, it has to do with freedom,” Rondo said. “They all play a role. I worked my butt off this summer and I’m continuing to get better.” Despite leading the NBA in triple-doubles, Rondo believes he can get better , the CSN scribe relays. “Now, I still have room to improve,” Rondo said. “I want to improve my shooting, my free-throw shooting, keeping my turnovers down. I still have a lot of room to grow. Like I said, it starts with your coach. If your coach doesn’t believe in you, then as you see, it can happen to anybody.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Mavericks assigned swingman Justin Anderson and center Salah Mejri to the Texas Legends, their D-League affiliate, the team announced via a press release. These are the first D-League assignments of the season for Dallas.
  • The Suns‘ backcourt tandem of Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight is beginning to show promise, with Bledsoe playing some of the best basketball of his career, something the front office credits to his offseason work ethic, writes Dan Bickley of The Arizona Republic. “None of us were happy with the way last season ended, losing 10 of 11 games,” GM Ryan McDonough said. “But Eric was in the gym five days a week, showing up at eight in the morning during the dog days of summer. He told us, ‘Just let me know what you need me to work on.’ It’s something Eric really took seriously.
  • Bledsoe’s maturation as a player has silenced a number of his critics, and McDonough believes the young point guard’s struggles of a season ago were directly related to the unsettled roster and personnel changes, Bickley notes in the same piece. “It’s important to remember last year was his first full season as a starter,” McDonough said. “I think he was just trying to figure it out. There was also a lot of turmoil with our team internally. Some players didn’t accept their roles as well as they should’ve and were shipped out at the trade deadline. So we put a lot on Eric’s shoulders. And I thought he handled it well. Eric kept his mouth shut and played hard, giving great effort defensively.
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