Former Celtic Rajon Rondo explains how he tried to ‘beat’ Brad Stevens throughout a playoff collection


“Once I’m taking part in the sport, I’m not essentially taking part in towards the gamers.”

Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens talks with guard Rajon Rondo during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Monday, Nov. 17, 2014.
Rajon Rondo and Brad Stevens squared off towards each other when the Bulls performed the Celtics within the 2017 playoffs. (AP Photograph/Charles Krupa)

Throughout his prime years, former Celtics level guard Rajon Rondo was one of many craftiest and best flooring generals within the NBA.

Alongside together with his potential to conduct a group’s offense together with his playmaking abilities, Rondo’s in depth prep work usually allowed him to seek out avenues to get the within edge towards opponents.

That mindset was a subject of dialog throughout Rondo’s newest look on JJ Reddick’s “The Previous Man and the Three” podcast, with Rondo noting his attention-grabbing method when he took on the Celtics as a member of the Bulls through the 2017 playoffs.

Getting into the playoffs because the eighth seed, Rondo and the Bulls had been going to have their palms full towards a top-seeded, stingy Celtics roster anchored by Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and a rookie Jaylen Brown.

However for Rondo, considered one of his prime priorities going into the collection was making an attempt to outsmart Boston’s coach, Brad Stevens.

“With me, after I’m taking part in the sport, I’m not essentially taking part in towards the gamers,” Rondo instructed Reddick. “An incredible instance was after I was going towards the Celtics after I performed for the Bulls. My entire mindset, that complete collection was to beat Brad Stevens.”

By 2017, Stevens had asserted himself as one of many prime coaches within the NBA, particularly when it got here to his potential to attract up performs and regulate methods throughout in-game conditions.

As such, Rondo stated that he made a concerted effort with the remainder of the Bulls’ prime gamers to attempt to implement new methods and performs to throw Stevens off his sport from the sidelines.

“I feel it was Sport 1. It was like a shootaround within the ballroom. We stayed within the resort, we had been on the 4 Seasons, and I requested Jimmy [Butler] and [Dwyane Wade] to remain again,” Rondo recalled. “And I used to be engaged on fourth-quarter execution play … that Brad hadn’t seen us play but.

“So, after we did run these performs, they weren’t capable of make these counters or changes. I feel I watched possibly 4 or 5 of his video games to his fourth-quarter performs the place they had been calling units for Isaiah, Horford in that specific collection to get forward of the curve.”

Rondo’s additional work off the courtroom paid off within the early going for the Bulls, with Chicago opening the collection with two-straight victories at TD Backyard. In each wins, Rondo mixed for 23 factors, 20 rebounds and 17 assists.

“I really feel like I’ve the facility and I’m concerned within the sport,” Rondo stated. “So, I’ve extra affect and influence that I could make, versus a coach yelling from the sidelines, making an attempt to speak to his gamers what they should do.”

Finally, Chicago’s fortunes took a flip for the more serious after a thumb damage dominated Rondo out for the rest of the collection. Boston promptly reeled off 4 straight wins to remove Rondo and the Bulls.