Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers reacts to former Celtics guard Rajon Rondo joining Lakers
ANAHEIM – Doc Rivers and Rajon Rondo won an NBA championship together with the Boston Celtics back in 2008, but ten years later, the two are Pacific Division rivals as Rivers coaches the LA Clippers and Rondo plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rondo signed a one-year deal to join LeBron James and the Lakers, surprising many after his lengthy tenure with the Celtics from 2006 to 2014. On Saturday night, the Clippers and Lakers had their first meeting of the season in Anaheim, which also meant the first meeting between the coach and player duo.
“Hopefully [he does] nothing,” joked Rivers before the game. “You expect him to bring his brain to the game. He’s more than just a player on the floor. It’s amazing, he affects everything. He effects both ends, he knows everything you’re doing whether I coach him or not. I think he gives his team confidence. He really does. He gives them this belief that they know what they’re doing because he’s telling them so that’s what you expect.”
Over the last couple of weeks, Rondo has come out as not only a vocal leader in the Lakers locker room, but also in the film room where he’s been watching endless amounts of film trying to help this team gel a quickly as possible. According to ClutchPoints’ Ryan Ward, Lonzo Ball said his first time sitting down to watch film with Rondo was ‘one of the best’ he’s ever had.
“He’s just done it his whole life,” added Rivers. “He studies it, he watches as much film as a coach. That’s unusual, usually players don’t have enough time to do that, but he does. It’s his job, and he takes it very seriously. What’s impressive about him is that he’s done it since his rookie year. Then I thought adding Kevin Garnett to his brain even gave him more power because Kevin was one of those guys that did that. Rondo takes it to another level. He’s fun to coach.”
Rivers and Rondo were keys to the 2008 Championship Celtics who knocked off the Lakers in six games. Although the headlines always mentioned Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, or Kevin Garnett, Rondo was the head of the snake for Boston. Now, he’s playing for a team that up until a few years ago, no one thought he would even consider suiting up for in the Lakers.
“I’m very disappointed in him! Nah, I’m joking. Listen, he’s a player, he should be able to play wherever he wants to play, wherever he can get a job. The lakers were the first team that expressed interest. He was telling me they expressed interest the year before so that’s the way it goes. I have no issues with it.”