Would you want to get yelled at by Rajon Rondo? Pretty much in any circumstance, most people would say no. Especially if they were Rondo’s teammate.
That’s not the case for Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball.
Speaking to ESPN this week, Ball said that Rondo had been pivotal in his development this season, and that he actually enjoyed and encouraged Rondo to antagonize him during practices.
“Yeah, he’ll try to get into me,” Ball said. “Just stuff to try to get me going. He talks a bunch of trash in practice all the time, which makes me pretty mad.”
“I told him, my whole life I [respond to] getting yelled at [by the coach] so that is how I respond … if you see stuff, just yell at me. I tune into it. That is how he tries to help me out.”
Ball went on to say that Rondo was, “The best leader that I’ve ever played with” outside of LeBron James.
Rondo has been famously divisive during his time in the league, perhaps getting on the nerves of some veterans but acting as a favorite among younger players in places like Chicago.
Advanced statistics don’t support the idea that Ball has taken a big leap this year, and if anything he has perhaps trended downward as he’s tried to get into a better rhythm with LeBron and this funky Lakers team that’s been built around him.
However, many believe that Ball has the underpinnings to be a solid player and a consistent starter moving forward in his career. If he can glean any positive traits from Rondo in the meantime, all the better.