Lakers Teammate Reveals How Rajon Rondo Was Able to Decipher James Harden’s Game to Stop Him

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Rajon Rondo became just the second athlete to win an NBA championship with both the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. Rondo proved to be an integral part of both teams during their championship run. The 34-year-old is often regarded as an incredible player with immense basketball IQ. His teammate Jared Dudley recently spoke about how meticulously Rondo analyzes his opponents. 

Rajon Rondo came into the bubble late after fracturing his left thumb. However, he returned just in time for the crucial games and boosted the Lakers’ roster with his experience. Rondo also broke records during his time in the bubble, which further added to his greatness. 

Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo at the 2020 NBA Playoffs
Sep 10, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo (9) controls the ball against the Houston Rockets in the second half in game four of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, Los Angeles Lakers veteran Jared Dudley joined The Ringer’s Bill Simmons podcast, where he was asked about Rajon Rondo. Dudley responded with a spontaneous statement, where he said:

“Rondo imma give you the good and the bad because I love Rondo. When I say bad, you use the word stubborn. Stubborn in a way is the sense of: He’s been so elite for so long, being a point guard and stuff like that and you know the older you get, you lose some of that.”

Moreover, Jared Dudley also put a benchmark to Rondo’s name by saying: “His IQ is the best I’ve ever played with.” The 35-year-old mentioned that LeBron and Rondo almost have the same amount of basketball IQ and that he puts them on the same level. 

Read More: Lakers’ Rajon Rondo Gives a Hint of His Post NBA Plans

How Rajon Rondo helped the Lakers overcome the Rockets in the playoffs

When the Lakers and the Rockets met in the conference semi-finals, Game 1 went in favor of James Harden and the Rockets. It looked to be a bright start for Houston, but they were swept in their subsequent games and knocked out of the playoffs. 

James Harden was largely restricted by the Lakers’ defense, and he struggled to move freely as well. Rajon Rondo had a lot to do with how the Lakers approached Harden on the court. Dudley explained in the Bill Simmons podcast about how they limited Harden’s moves with the input given by Rondo.

Dudley informed that he often tagged along with Rondo and LeBron to sit and analyze game films. They did the same during the Houston series and largely placed their focus on James Harden.

Los Angeles Lakers players Alex Caruso and Danny Green try to defend Houston Rockets guard James Harden from scoring in the 2020 NBA Playoffs
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

”He’s [Rondo] pointing out James Harden and his moves. When he goes back and forth, it is usually the third dribble he wants to do a step-back. So he can sit on it. He’s critiquing it on that type of level,” Dudley revealed. “When he’s going on his euro step, it is 65% going this way to that way. Like he [Rondo] is a savant when it comes to knowing people’s tendencies.” 

Dudley also put forth how it was Rondo’s idea to tire Jimmy Butler out during the finals since Miami lacked another ball-dominant player. The Lakers certainly found a lot of success under the guidance of Rondo and LeBron and would look to carry forward the same during the upcoming season as well. 

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