Thus far through four preseason games, the Los Angeles Lakers have looked great whenever they get enough stops to get out in transition. The issue, however, has been whether the team has been able to do so as much as Luke Walton would like his team to.
With Lonzo Ball potentially on his way back from injury as early as Wednesday when the Lakers take on the Golden State Warriors in Las Vegas, some of those rebounding issues might be fixed, especially if you listen to Rajon Rondo on the topic.
”He’s one of the best rebounding point guards in our game,” Rondo told reporters after the Lakers’ loss to the Clippers Saturday night.
Over the course of his career, Rondo has been widely considered a game-changing defensive presence whenever he was fully focused on the task ahead. So it was only natural for him to also ask if he sees any similarities between his defensive abilities and Lonzo’s on that end.
”I was all that defensively,” Rondo said. “You see some teams pick on me still now, because of my height probably, but he’s got a lot of potential. He can switch 1-4, he’s bulked up obviously this summer, and like I said his length is big factor for him as well, so the sky’s the limit for him defensively.”
It should be pointed out that Rondo was fairly obviously frustrated after a loss to the Clippers, who happen to be coached by Doc Rivers, someone with whom Rondo had spent multiple years. Combine that with reporters asking about Lonzo (who might eventually take the starting job away) and you can see why some answers might have been shorter than others.
This was an interesting exchange with Rondo and the media about Lonzo (answers in quotes): pic.twitter.com/hMpNEWf61p— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) October 7, 2018
In regards to Lonzo’s effect on the team when he does come back, well, the Lakers will take any help on the defensive end they can get. In the team’s first four games of preseason, wings and guards possibly been too focused on filling lanes in transition, leading to offensive rebounding opportunities for opponents. With Ball coming back, the Lakers might have at least one guard on the court at all times who is focused on securing the defensive rebound. Hopefully.
More importantly than just about anything, though, is Ball merely being healthy enough to make some kind of impact on the team, whether that comes in the form of his presence with the starters, or the bench unit. For things to work as Walton and his staff envisions the rotation, the Lakers will need as many of their most important players as often as possible, and Lonzo absolutely can be counted in that group of players.