Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo has something he wants everyone to know: This Los Angeles Clippers team is built differently. The Clippers sent former Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams and two second-round draft picks to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for the two-time NBA champion in March with the hopes of boosting their depth and experience heading into the playoffs, and so far, his contributions have been just what L.A has needed.
In his first month and a half with the team, the 35-year-old point guard has fit in perfectly, averaging 7.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game in just over 20 minutes of action.
“It’s an unselfish organization,” Rondo said about the Clippers, via Farbod Esnaashari of Sports Illustrated. “Starts with the GM, the president, trickles down to coach Tyronn Lue and then the players. I love this organization, since day one, since I came, they’ve treated me like royalty.”
Rondo: We Have Championship DNA
The Clippers have yet to win an NBA championship, but Rondo sees a ton of potential in his new team, and he thinks this squad will be the one to finally bring some hardware home.
“Tyronn Lue is a multiple-time champion himself,” Rondo said about his coach before listing several members of the team who already have rings. “Kawhi Leonard, Serge (Ibaka), so we have the DNA. We have all the talent and the blueprint to do it, it’s just a matter of coming together and doing the job with one another. … We definitely have the DNA. I feel like I personally have that blueprint, a lot of guys in this locker room have that blueprint,” Rondo added.
But can they bring a championship to a fan base starved for its first one?
Clippers Have a Ton to Prove…
Last year in the postseason, as Clipper Nation is well aware, the Clips blew a 3-1 series lead against the Denver Nuggets, tacking on yet another humiliating early exit from the playoffs.
Top stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard didn’t play well, adding to the weight of the loss. While Leonard averaged a very respectable 28.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists in the 2020 playoffs, he scored just 14 points in the team’s eliminating game, going 6-for-22 from the floor. George fared worse, averaging 20.2 points a game throughout the postseason, shooting just 39.8 percent.
“They missed shots,” Lue said shortly after he was hired as the team’s new head coach. “It’s part of the game. You’re not going to play great every night. The biggest thing is having the confidence to keep taking those shots and making plays for other guys. If guys were scared to take shots or had trouble getting good looks or getting to their spots — now we got a problem. But missing good shots? That’s just part of basketball.”
With the Lakers reeling due to injured superstars, this may be the Clips’ best chance to finally break through in the West, and ultimately, to the finals.