Say what? George Karl let Rajon Rondo draw up Kings’ last play

It's illegal for an NBA team to employ a player-coach, but Rajon Rondo comes pretty darn close.
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Despite some uneven relationships with his previous teams, Rajon Rondo’s coaches have always credited him with being a basketball genius. The Sacramento Kings point guard has few peers in the way he sees the floor. And on Monday night in the Kings’ first preseason game, coach George Karl leveraged Rondo’s smarts to help the Kings secure an overtime victory.

After the game, Karl was asked if he was impressed by the way Rondo and others on the bench stayed engaged and cheered on their teammates. In response, the head coach revealed that he let Rondo draw up the team’s final play:

"Rondo drew up the last play. I let him draw up the last play," Karl told reporters. "He said he had one. I said, ‘What do you got?’ and he said, ‘Elbow,’ and I said, ‘Got it, go with it.’ We don’t have that — that’s not in our playbook. I think that’s a play they ran for Paul Pierce a few times in Boston."

"Elbow" plays generally involve a 3-man game on one side of the court, with the point guard often entering the ball to the power forward at the elbow — the end point of the free throw line, where the stripe meets the key — before working to the corner to either set or feign a screen for a wing.

And yes, it’s a type of play Doc Rivers has been rather fond of over the years, as Karl hinted. Against the Blazers on Monday night, it was Marco Belinelli playing the role of Pierce — thanks to some innovation from Rondo.

(h/t Uproxx)

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