The Los Angeles Lakers’ second preseason game was all about LeBron James’ home debut at Staples Center. But it was another veteran, Rajon Rondo, who put fans on notice with another strong performance as starting point guard.
Rondo was perfect from three-point range, knocking down all three of his attempts, and finishing with 11 points and seven assists. However, it was a random play from Rondo that had many talking following the Lakers’ second consecutive loss to the Nuggets.
Nuggets guard Will Barton was at the free throw line in the second quarter, when he missed his first attempt. Rondo made it a point to give Barton a high five after the miss, via ESPN:
Rondo FT high-fives forever ???? pic.twitter.com/g98GCW85ds
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) October 3, 2018
Rondo is known as a cerebral player and has one of the highest IQs the NBA has ever seen. In all likelihood, Rondo was simply playing some mind games with the young Nuggets and everyone can now have a good laugh after the fact.
It can be easy to go through the motions sometimes, especially with free throws. Most players, after a make or miss, slap fives with their teammates without thinking. Barton probably saw a hand in front of him and slapped five out of habit, not realizing it was from his opponent.
Regardless, Rondo is already showing the difference he can make with the Lakers. In two games, Rondo has totaled 18 assists to just five turnovers and has continually gotten open shots for his teammates.
Whether he remains a starter or goes to the bench to spearhead the second unit when Lonzo Ball returns, it is clear that Rondo will play a big role for this Lakers team.