LA Clippers: Rajon Rondo is Proving Doubters Wrong So Far

LA Clippers Rajon Rondo (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Rajon Rondo (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

When the LA Clippers traded Lou Williams for Rajon Rondo, the move was met with tepidity at best, and negativity at worst, from most of Clipper Nation. This isn’t some piece calling out other people either; we here at Clipperholics were pretty down on the move.

But wow, Rajon Rondo has shown up and been a different kind of player for the LA Clippers than the one we saw on the Atlanta Hawks. Of course, we have to keep in mind that it’s been 7 games, and Rondo has only played in 6 of them, but the effects have been notable.

Rajon Rondo is performing well above expectations so far for the LA Clippers.

On an individual level, Rajon Rondo’s stats have taken a step forward since joining the LA Clippers.

  • 13.6 points per 36 minutes (up from 9.5 on Atlanta)
  • 9.8 assists per 36 minutes (up from 8.5)
  • 38.5% on threes (up from 37.8%)
  • 50% on twos (up from 41.5%)
  • 16.1 PER (up from 9.9)

But the individual stats don’t tell the whole story (do they ever?) Rondo has been aggressive on defense, and he doesn’t let opposing guards get quite as comfortable as they could previously. He’s making passes that lead to assists – Rondo is immediately third on the team in secondary assists (passes leading to passes leading to baskets). Per minute, he’s the leader in secondary assists.

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The ball is moving with Rajon Rondo out there. Before the All-Star Break, the LA Clippers were 21st in assist percentage and 12th in assist to turnover ratio. In the last 7 games, the Clips are 18th in assist percentage and 6th in assist to turnover ratio. That may not be a huge jump in assist percentage, but going from a slightly above league average team in terms of assist/turnover up to a top 6 team is huge.

There have been warts, of course. Rajon Rondo isn’t perfect. His 38.5% three point shooting is on just 2.2 attempts per game. Teams know he’s not a sniper, and you see the guy guarding Rondo backing off of him when he’s behind the line. He’s a bit prone to fouling, at 4.5 fouls per 36 minutes.

But as long as he’s having the positive impact he’s having, the LA Clippers will take those warts from Rajon Rondo. It’s a different conversation if the offense starts bogging down, but that hasn’t happened so far.

I’m also reiterating here, he’s played just under a tenth of the season for the Clippers. But my expectations were effectively no contribution at all, to be honest, so even having this impact in six games is well above what I thought would happen.

Next. Reggie Jackson is making himself a must re-sign this summer. dark

I will readily admit that I was one of the LA Clippers fans who was down on the trade when Rajon Rondo came to the team. But in the games he’s played so far, he’s proving me wrong. Here’s hoping he can continue to do so, and here’s hoping we see another edition of Playoff Rondo once the postseason starts.