Veteran leadership is important for any team in the NBA to have. That’s exactly what Rajon Rondo has brought to the Cleveland Cavaliers since being acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this season.
In 21 games during the regular season for the Cavs, the four-time All-Star averaged 6.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per contest. He’s been a steady presence for a young Cavs team.
Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff recently praised Rondo, saying that he’s “smarter than most people.” Bickerstaff spoke about how that translates to playoff success for Rondo.
“The proof’s in the pudding,” Bickerstaff said. “He’s smarter than most people. That’s a fact. He’s a savant. When you are that intelligent, you understand how to manipulate possessions, and that’s what this game comes down to in postseason play. It’s how can you make adjustments quick enough to impact what the opponent is trying to do. Because of his intelligence and IQ, his passing ability, he has the ability to do those things. Defensively he knows how to get into spots where he can be disruptive. It’s his brain, for sure, but he’s got the skills to go with it.”
Cleveland is currently trying to make it to the playoffs for the first time since LeBron James left in 2018 for the Lakers.
The Cavs lost their first play-in game against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night, but they have one more chance to secure a spot in the playoffs. If they beat the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, they will become the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference and face off against the Miami Heat in the first round.
Bickerstaff is surely hoping that Rondo will be able to help Cleveland reach the playoffs. Throughout his career, Rondo has been very successful in the playoffs, something that has earned him the nickname Playoff Rondo.
In the playoffs, the two-time NBA champ has career averages of 12.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 44.0 percent from the field and 33.0 percent from 3-point range.
It’s clear that Bickerstaff is appreciative of what Rondo has been able to bring to the Cavs this season. Both of them are surely hoping that their season won’t end on Friday.
Friday’s game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. EDT at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.