The Los Angeles Lakers struggled mightily handing the ball pressure the Clippers were applying most of the game in their 112-102 loss on Tuesday night. Along those lines, it makes sense that Frank Vogel might think they missed Rajon Rondo for his sheer ability to handle pressure. Sure, there were reports that Rondo couldn’t keep control of the ball with Avery Bradley guarding him, but whatever.
At practice Wednesday afternoon, Vogel was asked about the role he envisions for Rondo, and he promptly freaked me the hell out.
“I envision Rajon Rondo being a major player for us this year, a 25-30 minute a game guy. Whether he starts or comes off the bench. So that naturally will lighten the load,” Vogel said when asked about the ballhandling burden LeBron James carried in the season-opener.
Honestly, if Jason Kidd is allowed to actually coach this team and play the best players, let’s just get this coup over with already.
Rondo could’ve served a purpose last night... on offense. Defensively, the Lakers were already struggling. There isn’t a player in the NBA Rondo can reliably guard. So you’re sacrificing a ton on defense for one specific skill that is probably mitigated against offensively by his horrendous impact on spacing.
And you want 25 to 30 minutes of that? What?
Vogel has previously mentioned playing Rondo in minutes that LeBron James sits. Set aside the fact that he’s already said on a couple occasions that he thinks James and Rondo being as bad as they were last year was a fixable aberration, him actually staggering them would mean just by simple math that he’d have James sitting 25-30 minutes per game. That’s obviously not happening, so let’s give Vogel some credit here and say he isn’t going to have James sit 25-30 minutes per game. He deserves at least that. Maybe.
This would mean Rondo and James share the court together, a combination that yielded a -5.4 rating. Including the teams already mentioned above, only the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls were that bad.
Rajon Rondo turned LeBron James into last year’s Atlanta Hawks. Think about that.
Playing Rondo 25-30 minutes is just insane, and might actually be the kind of mistake that derails an incredibly promising season. For some context on how bad Rondo was last season individually, he carried a net rating of -8.6. Only the New York Knicks (-8.9), Phoenix Suns (-8.9) and Cleveland Cavaliers (-10.0) were that bad all year.
Maybe this was just Vogel being his usually positive self, and maybe he’s just effusively praising Rondo because politics or whatever, but if he actually follows through with this, he deserves to come under immense criticism, and Kidd can start getting ready to do these media availabilities.