Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo has played in 14 of the team’s 37 games so far, and that disparity is only going to get more vast now that Rondo is set to miss a month after surgery on his sprained finger.
Rondo’s injuries and suspensions have forced him to find other ways to contribute to the Lakers, coaching up his younger teammates to give the team the sort of veteran presence they were hoping for from him.
The sight of Rondo on the sidelines, toting a clipboard and wearing a suit make it easy enough to envision a coaching future for the always-cerebral floor general, but that might be getting ahead of things. Rondo was asked by reporters at a recent practice before he re-injured himself if he wants to go into coaching at some point, and he said his goals go beyond that:
“I have interest in being a GM, president maybe coach... I do love teaching the game, but I also love dissecting the game and figuring out ways to beat people at the top.”
Rondo’s prodigious mental abilities — which include calling out opponents’ plays, or correcting their coaches when they try to run a fake play call — coupled with his appreciation for film study would obviously make him a phenomenal coaching candidate at some point, and he’s getting a chance to test out that life to some degree this season.
Much like Lakers head coach Luke Walton got a coaching crash course at the hands of Phil Jackson when he was injured while still playing for the Lakers, Rondo is getting the opportunity to learn what the coaching lifestyle is like, and he’s even said he’s learned a lot from Walton during the process.
But Rondo’s demanding and competitive personality might not be the perfect fit for a head coach who has to generate buy in across a roster of various types of players and people. If that’s the case, and if coaching isn’t what Rondo wants, his skill at picking up opponents’ tendencies that have always made him even more dangerous in the postseason could also help him become a good talent evaluator, and his knowledge of how personalities fit together in an NBA locker room could make him a natural fit as a general manager at some point.
All of that is still a long way off, but it’s also the only way to find silver linings amidst Rondo’s injury situation this season. The Lakers would obviously prefer to have Rondo on the court, but at least he’s discovering avenues to make an impact off of it for now.