After much anticipation, the Los Angeles Lakers finally got Rajon Rondo back on the court. Many were excited about the return of “Playoff Rondo,” but those people were very disappointed after Friday’s game. Lakers fans were quickly reminded by the fact that Rondo hasn’t been very good since joining the team.
It didn’t take long for fans to go after the veteran guard on Twitter.
While Rondo did get a lot of hate over his disappointing night, others did mention that it’s going to take some time for him to get back into playoff shape.
Rondo’s regular season doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence in his ability to turn things around but it’s too early to suggest that “Playoff Rondo” isn’t going to make a comeback eventually. The Rockets present a unique challenge for the Lakers and it’s not only Rondo’s fault that the team lost.
Frank Vogel Praises Rondo’s IQ
Head coach Frank Vogel should also be taking some heat for Rondo’s performance. A playoff game probably isn’t the best time to have a player who has missed several weeks play 25 minutes. Regardless of the bad performance, Vogel still thinks Rondo helps the team.
“Rajon is one of the smartest players in the league, and obviously our guys’ IQ raises when he’s on the court, so he’s definitely going to help us this series,” Vogel said after the game.
The coach recognizes that it will be difficulty to integrate Rondo into the lineup.
“It is a challenge working in a new player at this stage in the playoffs,” Vogel said. “It’s always a little bit different when you work somebody in at this stage.”
There was a lot of talk about Rondo returning to the team since he got injured but Vogel shouldn’t be scared to keep the guard out of the rotation if he continues to struggle.
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Anthony Davis Believes Having Rondo Helps
Though many are souring on Rondo, the Lakers clearly still believe he can make an impact. Anthony Davis was witness to perhaps the best example of “Playoff Rondo” back in 2018. The superstar big man believes he helps the team because it takes some pressure off LeBron James.
“Good for us because it kind of gives Bron a break,” Davis said. “He’s trying to make plays for others, be in attack mode. So it gives Bron, it gives him a break with Rondo on the floor, let Bron kind of be that guy who can catch it and work on attacking. And Rondo’s able to get into the paint and make plays in response, so it’s beneficial to us to have him on the floor.
“But it’s just getting him back, acclimated to the team, and get his conditioning back to where it is.”
The Lakers can’t really afford to experiment right now. They were blown out by the Rockets and that’s not what you want to see in the second round of the playoffs.