World news – Rajon Rondo will bring Clippers leadership and IQ, says Tyronn Lue

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The new play-in tournament will force the teams to stay on course, they said.

The financial bottleneck that the coronavirus is placing on teams will make them conservative, they said.

And then 23 of the 30 teams left and moved 46 squad players into a total of 16 deals – most in 35 years on the cut date, the NBA said.

All of these vibrations naturally shook the heart of Clipperdom. The team traded Lou Williams – who cemented his legacy as perhaps the greatest sixth man in the game during his four seasons in LA with his unmistakable boasting – for Rajon Rondo, the cerebral player, four-time all-star and two-time NBA champion.

With the NBA not finalizing the Clippers’ deal with Atlanta prior to the game, Tyronn Lue could not discuss it until after his severely understaffed roster scored a fourth straight win in San Antonio.

But just two days before the Clippers game on Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers and Doc Rivers, Lu’s predecessor and mentor, the coach wondered why the Clippers brought Rondo on board – with whom Lue worked closely under Rivers in Boston.

« His overtaking ability, his leadership, his basketball IQ – just all the intangibles that a point guard brings with it, » said Lue. « He did it at a high level by winning a championship on two different teams, the two most successful franchises in the history of the game. »

« The résumé of the guys he played with, the guys he led to these championships too. Just being in the playoffs, lots of dogfights in Boston and coming back last year and the championship with to win the Lakers. When he gets to the playoffs he’s a different player and we all know it, we’ve seen it over the years.  »

Lue’s relationship with Rondo, which existed before their time together in Boston between 2009 and 2013, shouldn’t hurt.

« I knew him through (Kevin Garnett) because KG was one of my best friends and when he first went to Boston, » said Lue. “But in my four years as a coach, he was pretty much my project. Doc made me stick with him and he was like my little brother for the most part.  »

« It’s just great to see him grow and mature over the years as a player and as a person – as a father, as a person. »

This personal story will influence the coach’s approach to Rondo as he incorporates him into what the Clippers have already built around all-stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this season.

« Well, the first thing you learned about was what you were talking about, » Lue said, noting that he rates Rondo along with LeBron James and Chris Paul as the smartest players in the game.
In fact, Lue said, « He’s so smart sometimes, he’s too smart for his own good. He knows every game that is called up and everything that comes, and he could pull out of reporting, but the one other guys aren’t ready for it because he knows what game is coming.  »

To channel this extraordinary insight, Lue said it’ll just be about shooting directly.

« Just tell him the truth, be honest with him, » said Lue. « He’s fiery, that’s what we need, he’s tough. He understands the game. That was my biggest thing in Boston, just being honest with him and telling him the truth and keeping it real with him. »

After the win on Thursday, Terance Mann announced that Rondo has been with the Clippers for a while.

The sophomore wing has been revolving around Rondo’s rookie basketball card in his wallet since middle school – a card he no longer has in mint condition to show reporters at the Zoom video conference – and even holds it in close after making the NBA last season.

Mann grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts, not far from Boston, where Rondo was an icon. So Mann has long admired the point guard for its intelligence and death, he said.

« The story is: someone gave it to me and then I made the A-Team for my travel team and I said, » You gave it to me that day and I made the A-Team  » he said, « And I thought, ‘Man, it must be because of this card! »
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« So I kept the card and kept getting better at basketball. I thought, » Oh, I’m definitely going to the NBA because of this card. « And since then I’ve just had it in my wallet. It’s like a lucky charm. »

And now, as luck would take it or fate or just brave front office decisions, he’ll be teammates with the man on this card in the NBA.

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