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This version of Bulls isn't team Rondo signed up for in July

K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Basketball

NEW YORK -- Rajon Rondo's voice could be heard above all others during Tuesday night's loss to the Wizards.

"Run with me, BP! Run with me!

Seconds later, Bobby Portis buried a 3-pointer, one of 10 on the night for the Bulls in their narrow road defeat despite playing without three of their top five scorers. That's the fourth time in six games the league's worst 3-point shooting team has buried double digits from beyond the arc.

This is the team Rondo thought he was joining when he visited on the first day of free agency in July, his verbal commitment following shortly thereafter. A young, hungry team with an established All-Star in Jimmy Butler but plenty of young players who could benefit from his tutelage and run like colts downcourt with him.

Then Dwyane Wade happened.

This isn't to suggest signing Wade was a bad idea for the Bulls. Beyond his strong play on the court, his leadership abilities and championship pedigree have affected the organization and community on multiple levels.

It's more to remind that the Bulls targeted and received a commitment from Rondo before Wade soured on the Heat's underwhelming offer and engaged his hometown franchise. And Wade's arrival not only affected Rondo's role but limited some of Rondo's strengths.

Rondo remains at his best when he plays with pace, handles the ball and is surrounded by shooters. After all, he did lead the NBA in assists last season.

None of these areas jibe well with Wade, though Wade's strengths are considerable.

The most-used starting lineup of Rondo, Wade, Butler, Taj Gibson and Robin Lopez has gone 13-14 with a net rating of plus 0.9, according to NBA.com. In the 525 minutes Wade and Rondo have shared the court, their pairing has a net rating of minus 3.

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