“I’ve always called Rondo a genius,” Isiah Thomas told me this week on the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show.
“Again, our game has been compartmentalized to just these four to five statistical boxes; that we don’t see the knowledge and the PhD that is walking in through the door. So we only evaluate and judge players from the neck down; particularly African-American players throughout the history of our game. But Rondo from Day 1 you recognized his genius and IQ in terms of basketball intellect. Rondo is not going to the Hall of Fame because of he’s a great shooter, he’s a great passer or anything like that; Rondo’s going to the Hall of Fame because he’s probably one of the smartest players to play and he’s a champion.”
Rondo is a two-time All NBA Defensive First Teamer with career averages of 10.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 8.3 assists per game in stints with the Boston Celics, Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers.
In an NBA Playoffs game against the Houston Rockets on September 6 while in the NBA Bubble in Orlando, Florida, Rondo totaled 10 points, three rebounds and nine assists and moved up to the 12th spot in the all-time playoff assist list, which moved the former Kentucky Wildcat ahead of Thomas.
Thomas was impressed with Rondo’s record-setting season with LA. “Believe it or not, I put Rondo and Mark Jackson in the same category as far as basketball IQ at the genius level,” he tells Heavy Live With Scoop B.
“Because, you look at both of these guards both of them maximize not only their talent, but they maximize their brain capacity for the game. Neither one of them – both of them came into the league with severe deficiencies of what they couldn’t do. But what they could do most times out on the floor was to outthink their opponent in difficult positions so that opponent could not capitalize on their deficiencies, but they could capitalize on their opponent’s deficiencies; and when you look at Rondo and you look at Mark Jackson from an IQ and intellect standpoint, I don’t think there’s been two point guards in the game of basketball that has gotten more out of their talent in their limited capabilities than these two have.