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Rajon Rondo is considerably better when he wears a headband

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Rondo has played in 15 games as a Dallas Maverick, but he's been streaky to this point. We might have found the reason.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Players of all sports are superstitious, basketball players included. Think about a player's pregame routine, or their demeanor at the free throw line. It's all about repetition. It's about developing a consistency that leads to success. But sometimes, despite the routine, players struggle.

Rajon Rondo is a perfect example. He's had some very good games in his short stint as a Dallas Maverick, as well as some pretty bad games. Here's a breakdown of his basic game-by-game stats.

RONDO GAME BY GAME

Opponent

Headband?

Pts

Ast

Reb

TO

FGM-FGA

FG%

Spurs

No

6

9

7

4

3-11

27.2%

Hawks

No

13

11

4

3

6-15

40%

Suns

No

13

8

6

5

6-14

42.8%

Lakers

Yes

21

7

8

4

10-17

58.8%

Thunder

Yes

15

7

6

2

7-17

41.2%

Wizards

Yes

11

5

1

3

4-10

40%

Celtics

No

29

5

6

2

12-19

63.2%

Cavaliers

Yes

4

8

4

1

2-6

33.3%

Nets

No

2

14

10

1

1-13

7.7%

Pistons

No

6

8

6

7

3-7

42.9%

Clippers

Yes

2

8

3

1

1-11

9.1%

Kings

Yes

21

7

5

3

10-16

62.5%

Nuggets

DNP

-

-

-

-

-

-

Nuggets

No

2

8

9

5

1-6

16.7%

Grizzlies

No

6

1

3

2

3-8

37.5%

Timberwolves

No

9

3

1

2

4-10

40.0%

Total

160

109

79

45

73-180

40.1%

Average

10.7

7.3

5.3

3

4.9-12

40.1%

So some games stand out. The Celtics and Kings games are probably his two best, while his outings against the Clippers and Grizzlies probably stand out as two of his worst. Now, Dallas is 11-5 since Rondo came aboard (11-4 in games Rondo has played). He needed some time to adjust, and probably still needs more time to get fully comfortable (see: Chandler Parsons). But, there's a very clear trend developing already. I started noticing it when our fearless leader tweeted this, about a month ago.

Interesting. But it's probably just one of those things that will balance out over time, right? Maybe. But let's take a closer look. Below are the six games where Rondo has worn a headband.

RONDO W/ HEADBAND (6 GAMES)

Opponent

Pts

Ast

Reb

TO

FGM-FGA

FG%

Lakers

21

7

8

4

10-17

58.8%

Thunder

15

7

6

2

7-17

41.2%

Wizards

11

5

1

3

4-10

40%

Cavaliers

4

8

4

1

2-6

33.3%

Clippers

2

8

3

1

1-11

9.1%

Kings

21

7

5

3

10-16

62.5%

Total

74

42

57

14

34-77

44.2%

Average

12.3

7

9.5

2.3

5.7-12.8

44.2%

So, he's averaging about 12 points, 9.5 boards and seven assists per game, is shooting at a 44% clip and is protecting the ball well. The Mavs are also 5-1 in games where Rondo wears a headband. If you'll notice, those are all (except for the assists) pretty substantially better than his overall averages. On the other hand, look at what happens when he doesn't wear a headband.

RONDO W/OUT HEADBAND (9 GAMES)

Opponent

Pts

Ast

Reb

TO

FGM-FGA

FG%

Spurs

6

9

7

4

3-11

27.2%

Hawks

13

11

4

3

6-15

40%

Suns

13

8

6

5

6-14

42.8%

Celtics

29

5

6

2

12-19

63.2%

Nets

2

14

10

1

1-13

7.7%

Pistons

6

8

6

7

3-7

42.9%

Nuggets

2

8

9

5

1-6

16.7%

Grizzlies

6

1

3

2

3-8

37.5%

Timberwolves

9

3

1

2

4-10

40.0%

Total

86

67

52

31

39-103

37.9%

Average

9.6

7.4

5.8

3.4

4.3-11.4

37.9%

I mean, that's a dramatic drop in almost every category. He's averaging almost three points and four rebounds less, per game, while his shooting percentage plummets seven percent.This is all despite the fact that his best game as a Maverick happened sans headband.

It's interesting though, that his assist numbers tick up slightly. Perhaps he realizes that he's not going to have a good shooting night, so he looks to facilitate more. Meanwhile, Dallas is 6-3 when Rondo doesn't wear a headband. Here's a final tally.

Rajon Rondo
Pts
Ast
Reb
TO
FG%
w/ headband
12.3
7.0
9.5
2.3
44.2%
w/out headband
9.6
7.4
5.8
3.4
37.9%

So Rajon, please keep wearing your dang headband.