MT: Most folks within the NBA community have heard of “Playoff Rondo,” but after looking at your Per 36 numbers, I wasn’t convinced it was a thing. Is it actually more about playing time? Is “Playoff Rondo” a myth? Rajon Rondo: I feel that way. If given an opportunity, knowing I’ll play 36 minutes a night, I can perform at a high level. Spotty or inconsistent minutes, which have been the case in the past, then the numbers fluctuate. The people that came up with this “Playoff Rondo” name or title or whatever they may call it, obviously (it’s because) I’ve been on TV during the playoffs. In the regular season last year, I had some good games. It got a little bit of publicity, but I think I’ve had six (regular season) TV games over the last two years between Chicago and New Orleans. I’ll have more televised games this year than the last two or three years combined.
MT: Speaking of narratives from your career, there were different ones coming out of Dallas and Sacramento than in your last two stints in Chicago and New Orleans, where a lot was said about your positive impact on young players. Do you feel like you’ve been the same person all the way through, and the situations have just fit in different ways? Rajon Rondo: That’s pretty accurate. What I pride myself on mostly is making the game easier for my teammates. I don’t mind thinking up every play or possession for my teammates if that’s what’s needed. I’m an extension of the coach on the floor.
Rajon Rondo: Control the game. Control the game. Those are the guys who win. It’s interesting, I just found out something about Kobe, what he did in the 2010 championship Game 7. How he broke the game down and figured out how to beat us. I can’t give you the insight on that, but I just found that out. Like, maybe 45 minutes ago. It kinda pissed me off a little bit. It’s part of it, but it’s craziness. It’s amazing how he thinks the game, and it’s fun to know that. MT: Wait, wait … so in Game 7, Kobe figure something out during the game that helped the Lakers beat the Celtics for a championship, or did he do it between Game 6 and Game 7? Rondo: I don’t know if it was going into the game, but it was told to me that he had to figure it out during the game. He wasn’t himself. So he had to figure out a different way to win the game.
The Los Angeles Lakers are heading into a dice roll of an NBA season, having secured the biggest free agent of the summer in LeBron James and surrounding him with a plethora of supporting pieces on one-year deals. Lakers head coach Luke Walton is optimistic about his team, though, even going as far as thinking they have championship potential down the stretch. While there are sure to be plenty of growing pains that come with assembling a new team and figuring out players’ roles, Walton thinks the Lakers will be well-oiled enough to make a run for the title.