After an up and down season with the Lakers in 2018-2019, Rajon Rondo was brought back to be a veteran leader of the new Lakers. Despite bringing back emerging point guard Alex Caruso and signing sharpshooter Quinn Cook, Rondo still figures to play a prominent role on the team. Advanced metrics paint him as a poor defender in recent years, yet Rondo’s ability to quarterback a defense and essentially serve as an on-court coach make him an extremely valuable asset to the team.
Lakers’ Rajon Rondo Calls Alex Caruso & Quinn Cook ‘Underrated’
Speaking on his fellow point guards, Rajon Rondo seems to think that the Lakers’ backcourt trio is going to turn a lot of heads. Aside from most of the league sleeping on Rondo’s ability, Alex Caruso has been mostly viewed as a novelty while Quinn Cook hasn’t really had extended minutes to show off what he’s truly capable of.
Despite Caruso and Cook’s lack of extended playing time prior to this season, both bring exciting upside to the team’s biggest positional question mark. In Caruso, the Lakers get an athletic, defensive-minded guard with excellent size. Caruso flashed an excellent deep ball last season as well as improved decision making on the offensive end giving him the potential to be a two-way threat on the court this season. For Cook, he is a shooter, plain and simple. Cook looks to be an excellent off-ball complement to LeBron James and has shown to be one of the league’s better spot-up shooters in his limited minutes.
While there are only so many minutes to go around at point guard, Rondo expects both to contribute big minutes and put the league on notice. Calling them underrated, Rondo would go on to say that “by the end of the year, their names will be respected”.
Lakers Starting Point Guard Battle
Though Rondo comes into training camp the presumed starter at point guard, it seems that just about any of the rostered point guards could find themselves playing the bulk of the starter minutes. In fact, there seems to be a fairly major benefit to playing Rondo off the bench and instead of starting either Caruso or Cook.
Both LeBron and Rondo are most effective with the ball in their hands and dictating the offense. Rather than have them share the court for extended periods to time, the Lakers might be better suited to stagger their minutes in an effort to keep one of them on the court at all times.
If they wind up going this route, the Lakers would then need to decide on either Quinn Cook or Alex Caruso drawing the lion’s share of starter minutes. While Caruso brings a bit more of a well-rounded upside to the table and has shown to play well alongside LeBron, Cook’s elite spot-up shooting ability makes him an extremely dangerous weapon alongside James – at least in theory.
Head coach Frank Vogel has yet to shed any light as far as which way the Lakers may be leaning, so the point guard situation will be an intriguing one to keep an eye on as we get closer to the start of the season.