After failing to acquire another superstar who could play alongside LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers used their salary cap space to sign four veteran role players, including Rajon Rondo. Being a ball-dominant player and inaccurate three-point shooter, most people have doubts how Rondo will make himself fit with James. The 33-year-old small forward found success when he’s surrounded by three-point shooters which helped him fulfill his promise to win an NBA championship title with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Still, the Lakers decided to use a different approach. Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka also said that it’s a trap to try beating the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, in their own game. Rajon Rondo may not have a good reputation from beyond the arc, but he can ease the load on LeBron’s shoulders in terms of playmaking. In 65 regular season games he played with the New Orleans Pelicans last season, Rondo averaged 8.2 assists.
Those numbers increased to 12.2 assists per game in the postseason where he earned the nickname of “Playoff Rondo.” There is still more than one month before the 2018-19 NBA season starts, but Rondo is continuing to show why the Lakers made the right decision to sign him this summer. In an appearance on ESPN 710 (h/t ClutchPoints), Rob Pelinka found a similarity between Rondo and Lakers legend Kobe Bryant when it comes to breaking down plays.
“When you look at guys like Rajon Rondo, he’s a basketball savant. All the players in the league know that. He was on our court a day ago and I was watching from my office. He was working on one play for two hours. That’s that Kobe-level of detail at breaking down plays.”
As of now, no one can deny the fact that Rajon Rondo has one of the highest basketball IQ in the league. His presence will not only be beneficial for LeBron James but also with the Lakers’ young players. Per Harrison Faigen of SB Nation, Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton, who called Rondo a “natural leader,” revealed that the veteran point guard pulled Kyle Kuzma in the film room, and both players watched defensive clips.
Kuzma has an impressive rookie season, averaging 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds on 45 percent shooting from the field and 36.6 percent from beyond the arc. However, the 23-year-old power forward has defensive issues which could be the reason why Rondo decided to watch defensive clips with him. Addressing the weaknesses of Kuzma and other young players will help the Lakers become a more competitive team next season.
When he signed with the Lakers, Rondo made it clear that he does not intend to steal the spotlight from anyone, and his main objective is to help the team win games. Aside from Kuzma, Rondo also expressed his willingness to help in the development of Lonzo Ball.
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