Playoff P may not be a thing, but Playoff Rondo sure is. In 24.7 minutes per game, throughout 16 games played, Rondo once again exceeded his regular-season performance, as he averaged 8.9/4.3/6.6 on .455/.400/.684 shooting splits, being a key component to the Lakers title run.
But his on-court impact isn’t and was never solely about the numbers, especially in this stage of his NBA career. With Rondo, it’s about orchestrating the defense, being an offensive floor general, and keeping his guys accountable. And I mean all guys. Whether it’s LeBron James, Anthony Davis, or Talen Horton-Tucker, Rondo’s demands are the same. And whether you meet those or even exceed them, he won’t be the one to give credit.
Davis knows it best. While the two were teammates with the New Orleans Pelicans, after AD’s 53-point performance against the Suns that had the whole NBA world giving him praise, Rajon didn’t allow himself to be impressed.
This is the type of leadership Rajon Rondo embodies. It’s the standard he held AD to that didn’t allow him to get carried away with a single incredible scoring outing. In a day and age when superstar players get the pampering treatment, Rajon is an abrasive, high demanding, in-your-face type of leader that won’t let you get ahead of yourself. And players who are all-in, and have a tunnel vision on winning it all, love that about him.
That’s why, regardless of the acquisition of Dennis Schroder, the Lakers will miss having Rondo in their locker room. But it’s also why the Clippers should be all-in on him. Basketball and leadership-wise, he might be the missing piece that would get them over the top. And luckily for them, recent reports say that Rajon remains focused on teaming up with Kawhi and co. on a mid-level exception.
If I’m the Clippers, I’m wrapping up the deal yesterday. Come postseason; Playoff Rondo is a guarantee. But more importantly, his veteran, old-school leadership is a must-have for them to live up to the hype.