When the Los Angeles Lakers made the decision to re-sign Rajon Rondo this past summer, the hope was that he and Anthony Davis could re-create the success they had with the New Orleans Pelicans just two years ago. So far, they’ve been able to do just that, and a large part of their shared success has to do with their relationship off the court.
For most of this season, Rondo — and plenty of other Lakers — have been advocating for Davis to win Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year, and rightfully so. Davis is the only player in the NBA ranked in the top 10 in both points per game and blocks per game. He’s also one of two players averaging at least two blocks and a steal per game. The other is Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac.
However, according to Davis, Rondo has been beating the “AD for MVP and DPOY” drum since their days with the Pelicans.
“When we were in New Orleans he always told me ‘why not, why can’t you win both?’” Davis said after the Lakers’ win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday. “He’s a constant reminder to make sure that (I) go out and perform every night. He wants me to guard the best big and stuff that
“I just take it as extra motivation, when Rondo put me up to a challenge, I try to live up to the challenge as much as possible.”
Interestingly enough, the closest Davis has ever gotten to winning both MVP and Defensive Player of the year was during the 2017-18 season, when Rondo and Davis first shared the floor together. Davis finished third in MVP voting behind James Harden and his now-teammate LeBron James, and third in Defensive Player of the Year voting behind Joel Embiid and Rudy Gobert, who won the award in 2019, too.
Coincidence? Probably, but the camaraderie between Rondo and Davis is evident, and luckily their relationship has translated to success on the court. Hopefully it can be molded into the hardware Davis wants (and a championship) at the end of the season.