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Podcast: What LeBron James might have to do with Lonzo Ball not starting on opening night

Luke Walton has quite the organization to navigate as he tries to put together a rotation beyond LeBron James. Where does Lonzo Ball fit into that equation?

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Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Rajon Rondo seems tabbed for the starting point guard gig when the Los Angeles Lakers season opens up Thursday night in Portland against the Trail Blazers. This almost definitely has more to do with Lonzo Ball not quite being in shape after joining training camp late due to offseason surgery, but given the roster makeup and some of the peripheral issues at play, it’s fair to wonder if that decision wasn’t made earlier than it might seem.

Pete and I start today’s Locked on Lakers by first discussing why this decision might make some sense beyond the obvious injury or conditioning concern with Ball.

Let’s start with some of the guys Rondo will be on the court with (if he is indeed the starter). LeBron James can play with just about anyone, so we start with the other guys in the lineup.

JaVale McGee benefits greatly from Rondo compared to Lonzo, as the former is a better pick-and-roll player. There’s at least the beginning of a case to make there. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has also been playing with the starters, and he seems to make a little more sense alongside Rondo if a more traditional style of defense is going to be played than the switch-everything method we’ve seen thus far.

In the second segment, we talk about why we both think a change should be in short order. As this is well-traversed territory, we don’t need to get too deep into this here.

The more interesting dynamic has to do with the political situation Luke Walton has to deal with. He isn’t a Magic Johnson hire. He isn’t someone LeBron James requested, either. Rajon Rondo and even KCP both fit those descriptions. As nice as it would be to analyze everything in a vacuum, you just can’t do that here.

As always, this is just a tidbit of the full context given in the show. Listen to the full discussion below and please check out old episodes, or guarantee you won’t miss any ever again by subscribing on iTunes.