This season’s Lakers have been extremely public with their offseason workouts as the collective whole seem to be preparing for nothing less than a deep playoff run. Aside from LeBron James’ nonstop offseason workouts and Kyle Kuzma’s star-studded sessions, the rest of the Lakers have been putting in their fair share of work.
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Lakers’ JaVale McGee, Quinn Cook & KCP Hit Mamba Sports Academy
The latest workout clip comes courtesy of Kobe Bryant‘s Mamba Sports Academy. A number of Lakers have been spotted working out at the NBA Icon’s training facility and the sand dune it offers seems to be a favorite of the Lakers this offseason – showing up in a number of different clips. This time around, JaVale McGee, Quinn Cook, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were in attendance working the hill and being put through a gauntlet of different exercises.
While none of the three players should be expected to start, they should all have major roles off the bench and their play could have a major impact on the team’s overall success. The starting unit is expected to be among the league’s best and should be able to put up positive minutes against nearly every other team. However, as the Raptors showed this postseason, depth is crucial. If the second unit can play well enough to warrant keeping James and Davis off the court – and fresh – for extended periods of time, it should pay major dividends once the team (hopefully) makes the playoffs.
Rajon Rondo’s Impact on the 2019-2020 Lakers
Not a part of the workout and lost amid the exciting flurry of newcomers in free agency was the return of Rajon Rondo. Rondo had an up and down year last season though his high IQ and ability to serve as a quasi player-coach were on full display. Father time seems to be catching up to Rondo but with a plethora of hungry mouths to feed on offense, the veteran playmaker could be in for one last big season with the Lakers.
While LeBron operates as the primary ballhandler on most occasions, Rondo can effectively come off the bench to run the offense when James takes a breather. Depending on how Frank Vogel plans to stack their minutes, there is a good chance Rondo gets some runtime with a pair of former teammates in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins with who he put together a very solid season in New Orleans. Rondo is at his best dishing the ball to willing scorers and the Lakers seem to have those in spades, even off the bench.
While his advanced defensive numbers have been in a steady decline over the past few years, as mentioned above, he has an unparalleled basketball mind. With more defensive-oriented players surrounding him, his ability to call out plays before they happen should be considerably more effective given he is no longer working with a young core of players still learning to play that side of the ball.
Don’t expect Rondo to turn into his former self overnight but also don’t be surprised to see him play a major role off the bench where he performs at a much higher level compared to last season.