Injured to start the season, the Lakers have missed the veteran presence of Rajon Rondo. While advanced metrics haven’t been kind to the point guard in recent years, Rondo’s skill set should be a strong fit on the 2019-20 Lakers and his reintroduction to the rotation should be a warm welcome.
The Lakers have struggled early with production from their second unit. Without a true facilitator, the bench stagnated offensively – the leading scorers off the bench were Jared Dudley and Troy Daniels with six points each. Especially with James sitting, it became increasingly apparent the Lakers need a secondary facilitator to help create shots for teammates and run the offense when the King inevitably needs his rest.
One of the craftiest passers in the history of the NBA, Rondo thrives on controlling the flow of the offense and using his elite basketball IQ to put his teammates in easy positions to score. Say what you will about Rondo’s defensive ability and shooting but the man has the 18th most assists in the history of the NBA.
Rajon Rondo Injury Update: Will the Lakers’ Guard Play Against the Jazz?
Rajon Rondo has officially been ruled out for tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz with a sore calf. His next shot at suiting up for the Lakers comes on Sunday night against the Charlotte Hornets.
Sidelined to start the year with a calf issue, Rondo was initially questionable for the season opener on Tuesday but was ruled out as a late scratch. Seemingly back to practicing in full capacity, the Lakers likely want to give Rondo’s body as much time as possible to respond from live scrimmages before deciding if he is good to go.
While the Lakers may be playing things safe, it seems that barring any setback in the next 24 hours, Rondo should be suiting up for the Lakers tonight.
Lakers vs Jazz Preview
With one tough loss already in the books against the Clippers, the Lakers get another difficult matchup to start the season against the Utah Jazz. The Jazz are a notoriously stingy defensive bunch who upgraded their perimeter defense over the offseason by moving for Mike Conley. With a budding star in Donovan Mitchell shouldering the bulk of the offense and quality role players up and down the roster, the Jazz look to be at the very least a surefire playoff team in a stacked Western Conference.
The Lakers’ struggled against the Clippers defense in their first game and the sledding shouldn’t get any easier against Utah. While the Jazz don’t have Kawhi Leonard, they do have the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert. A 7’3″ behemoth with a knack for patrolling the rim, Gobert makes life miserable for opposing defenses. This forces a tough matchup for Los Angeles as the Lakers’ lineup has a strong emphasis on size in the frontcourt. While small-ball shooting-centric teams like last year’s Warriors or Rockets can force Gobert off the court due to his immobility, the Lakers don’t have that same luxury given their roster build.
While the Lakers undoubtedly have the talent to beat the Jazz outright, the roster is still learning to play with one another. Growing pains were evident in the loss to the Clippers and they almost certainly will be again tonight.