Despite the strong start to the season, the Lakers still have some glaring holes to address. The starting lineup has looked strong to start the year but an inconsistent scoring effort from the bench unit has held the team back at times. Though the bench is filled with both capable shooters and interior finishers, the lack of a true playmaker to help move the ball when James sits has been the Achilles’ heel of the team so far.
Rajon Rondo figures to be an ideal fit to run the offense when James sits as a savvy, pass-first point guard. However, Rondo has yet to see the court this season due to a lingering calf injury.
Rajon Rondo Injury Update: Latest News on Return to Lakers’ Lineup
Finally some good news for Rondo, who should be seeing his first action of the season tonight. Barring any setbacks once the Lakers take the court for their pregame shootaround, it seems Rondo will be eased back in off the bench tonight. Unlikely to see more than 15 minutes tonight, the next few games are all about Rondo getting his rhythm back to the point where he can function as the team’s secondary facilitator on offense.
Rondo’s calf injury has been a mercurial beast so nothing is out of the question as far as him being a late scratch. Rondo was expected to suit up for the Lakers’ second game of the season but wound up being a late scratch given an unexpected flare-up with the calf – that injury wound up keeping him out until (hopefully) now.
*UPDATE – 4:33 PM PT*
Rondo is BACK!
Lakers to do Battle With Surging Suns
Coming off their first loss after seven straight wins, the Lakers look to get back on track against the surprisingly dangerous Phoenix Suns. The doormat of the Western Conference since Steve Nash‘s heyday, the Suns have surprisingly jumped out to a very solid 6-3 start. With their only losses coming to the Nuggets, Jazz, and Heat, the Suns have not only been able to contend with but they’ve actually beat some of the league’s better teams to start the year.
While DeAndre Ayton is serving a hefty suspension and won’t be around anytime soon, Devin Booker seems to be more than up to the task of carrying the Suns on his own and has taken a huge step forward in his development as a superstar. Playing alongside an experienced, pass-first point guard in Ricky Rubio, Booker is free to not worry about facilitating the offense and simply do what he does best – get buckets.
Booker should be a handful for the Lakers tonight and in order to put themselves in a position to win, Danny Green and Avery Bradley will need to do everything in their power to slow him down. You can’t necessarily stop Booker from getting his points but if they can make him work and slog through a somewhat inefficient night, the Lakers should be able to pick up a fairly comfortable win.