The Los Angeles Lakers and Rajon Rondo have a history of bad blood, however, the former Boston Celtics guard is willing to put all that aside to help the Lakers make their first playoff appearance since “Breaking Bad” was still on the air.
MT: Where is your game now compared to five years ago?
Rondo: Every aspect of my game has gotten a lot better. As far as understanding the game, my knowledge of the game. But I think the biggest thing for me is just my growth as far as leadership. Being able to give as much knowledge as possible to the young guys, because that’s who I’ve been around the last five years of my career (in) Sacramento, Chicago, (and New Orleans). I believe everything in life happens for a reason. Me having great mentors that I had in Boston those five or six years, where it really was a pivotal part of my career, those guys helped me become the player I am today. It all kind of unfolds to today, me doing the same thing that was done for me.
Rondo has already started passing along some of that knowledge. Rob Pelinka recently revealed that Rondo has been watching film with Kyle Kuzma, and Rondo confirmed that to Trudell. He’s also made it clear that he intends on helping Lonzo Ball “as much as possible,” despite the fact that they’ll both be competing for the starting point guard job.
However, as open as Rondo is to mentoring the Lakers’ young players, he expects them to be ready to compete for a championship by the season’s end:
MT: What are you (way too early) reactions to seeing some of these young guys play?
Rondo: We’re going to have to ride the young guys throughout the regular season, even in the playoffs. They’re going to play big for us. My expectations are really high for the young guys. They’ll be where they need to be. Myself, LeBron, Lance, Mike, we’re all going to be vets that’s trying to instill greatness in these young guys. We’re going to push the (stuff) out of them. I’m sure they’ll rise to the occasion. That’s what they seem like so far. They’ve been in here working their butts off since I’ve been here in early August, so I look forward to getting them to the level they need to play at for us to be contenders.
Rondo has yet to play a game for the Lakers and yet, he’s already the best backup point guard the team has had in years (my sincerest apologies, Tyler Ennis). With Ball’s health a huge question mark going into his sophomore season, Rondo will at the very least provide some semblance of stability at the point guard position.
It’s unclear exactly what kind of role head coach Luke Walton has in mind for Rondo, but whatever it is, it sounds like he’s all in.
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