Rajon Rondo has been nothing short of a revelation this season compared to expectations heading in. He’s doing all the things the Los Angeles Lakers hoped he would (ball-handling, leadership) and on top of that somehow shooting an incredible 52.8% from 3-point range.
Rondo also hasn’t been shy about saying how much he likes the way Frank Vogel has coached this team, and as he told Sam Amick of The Athletic, he’s been dialed in both on and off the court as a result (emphasis mine):
“If you can talk to (LeBron as the coach), you can talk to anybody. (Vogel’s) delivery, his communication, is great. That’s what I think I’m learning (about) for my future, if I want to go that route. I take notes every day. I’m trying to learn from coach. Sometimes I’ll write them down. Sometimes I’ll take a picture of the scouting report, what his philosophy is before the game and take a couple things I love about what he does and just continue to grow as a player.”
In a weird way, it’s almost perfect to hear Rondo, while having the season he is, talk about Vogel, who went from arguably the third option behind Tyronn Lue and Monty Williams to head coach once Lue and the Lakers couldn’t come to an agreement this summer.
That ended up being the right call on the Lakers’ part, as Vogel has been a revelation. There are just very few things to criticize him for, and even when you do, it comes across as nitpicking given how well the season has gone. He’s figured out a way to get buy-in on both sides of the ball, and earned the respect of LeBron James and Anthony Davis to be able to pull the strings he feels he has to almost regardless of the politics in the locker room. It’s been impressive to watch.
Regarding Rondo as a coach, it would certainly be fascinating (even if he’s said previously he might rather be a general manager). He plays the point guard position like a coach would, stopping the play so as to direct his teammates as best he can before executing, but as we’ve learned this year with Vogel, being an NBA head coach is a lot more about managing people and egos than it is drawing up a sideline out of bounds play.
To Rondo’s credit, he has plenty of former teammates willing to speak up about him as a locker room presence, so it would make some sense he’d at least understand some of what it takes to succeed in this kind of role.
Both Rondo and Vogel deserve a ton of credit for the jobs they’ve done in their respective roles this year. Before the season started and Rondo began showing some of the stuff he has to help the Lakers be as successful as they’ve been, some might’ve probably hoped he’d take that next step and turn some of his research of Vogel into his next career as soon as this season. But to his credit, he and Vogel have served up a nice helping of crow thus far, and Rondo looks poised to play a little longer before making use of the notes he’s taking on Vogel’s style.