After retirement, Scalabrine became an assistant for the Golden State Warriors during the 13/14 NBA season. When he returned to the TD Garden for a regular-season game, Scalabrine said head coach Mark Jackson shouted out a call, “42 cross,” for his team. But the play was a bluff — and Rondo called it.
Rondo looked at Mark, and then he looked in the air and said, ’42 cross, 42 cross,’ and then he looked back at Mark and said, ‘You don’t have a 42 cross.’ I was like, ‘How the hell did he just know that?’ Somehow, someway, he knew that. And they’re not a rival. It wasn’t a playoff series. It was an insignificant game during the middle of the week. He was the smartest player I’ve ever played with, and it’s not even close.Brian Scalabrine, Business Insider
Knowing the ins and outs of your team’s gameplan is impressive. Having the ability to memorize the opponent’s playbook is next level. And the best part is, this wasn’t the only instance it happened with Rondo. A few years later, while with the Kings, Rajon created an inbound confusion that won them a game against the Hawks, as he directed his teammates towards taking away the only route Atlanta had towards winning the ball-game – the three-point line.
Having this type of mental capacity is seriously impressive. It’s also impressive how much work has been put into it, whether trying to memorize the plays’ names or noticing the patterns with the team’s inbound setups. This is why Rondo’s greatest weapon is his brain. It’s also why he’ll forever be able to make an impact on the basketball game, regardless of his physical limitations.
You got a good one, Hawks fans. Hopefully, he’ll be able to transfer some of his magic on Trae Young. It doesn’t get any better than having Rajon Rondo as a mentor. On the list of the NBA’s highest basketball IQs, he belongs at the top, and it’s on Trae to utilize sharing a locker room with him to the best of his ability.