The Los Angeles Lakers are looking at a tough stretch without two of the team’s five starters. Lonzo Ball is going to be asked to carry a huge load during that time. Before the suspensions came down, Ball and Luke Walton made it crystal clear that the team will miss Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo, but said they have no choice but to make it work as best they can.
“Definitely, (not having Rondo or Ingram) is going to hurt,” Ball said after practice Sunday afternoon. “We’re going to miss them. That’s two key guys to the team, but we’ve got to move forward.”
He’s absolutely right. The Lakers would obviously prefer not to have guys suspended, but it was impossible to watch what went down Saturday night and not know both Rondo and Ingram would be out for a while.
Walton said he hasn’t even seen the fight, as his focus — like Lonzo’s — is on moving forward.
”I watched video until 3 a.m. last night on our game and breaking down what we need to do to get better,” Walton explained. “What we did well, what we didn’t do well and put together an edit for this morning. Showed that edit, and when I get out of here I’m going to go watch film on San Antonio.”
Walton didn’t seem interested in talking about the fight or the fallout from it. As you might imagine, he didn’t go into any real detail about what rotations might look like if or when Rondo and Ingram miss time.
”Those decisions will be made when we know the reality of what’s going to happen,” Walton said. “We haven’t lost them yet. They both practiced today, they were both great in practice today, and we got better today.”
The Lakers will now be without both for a while, and haven’t looked good in short stretches where both Rondo and Ball were on the bench together. Walton said he needed to talk to the training staff before he made any decision on extending Ball’s minutes from the restriction he’s been playing under to start the season.
If the trainers come back with bad news, the rotation gets really ugly, really quickly.
Walton has a few more options at small forward than he does at point guard, but Ingram's absence means a team that has already struggled to get on the same page will now be without arguably its second-best player. But, as both Ball and Walton said, the Lakers have no choice but to move on.