When Rondo returns — whether it be Friday or a later date — he’s expected to have a big role with the team, with head coach Frank Vogel saying that he envisions Rondo playing 25-30 minutes a game and sporadically starting. Beyond that, it’s unclear what Rondo’s role will be with this year’s Lakers team, but, whatever it is, he said he’s ready for it.
”Whatever Vogel asks,” Rondo told reporters of his role after practice on Thursday. “The league is big on analytics now, so I don’t know what the statistics are with LeBron and I on the court at the same time, but that’s last year’s stats. This year is obviously a different team, a different feel, so we’ll see how it goes. You can’t predetermine anything, you have to see how the game goes and go from there.”
Rondo fell out of favor with Lakers fans pretty quickly last season after it became evident that he’s not the same defensive stalwart he used to be. Through 46 games last season, Rondo posted a team-worst defensive rating of 113.3 and a net rating of -8.6, which was only better than rookie Moritz Wagner (-9.8).
The most concerning statistic, though, was his fit with LeBron James. In the two-man lineup of James and Rondo posted a -5.4 net rating and allowed 110.9 points per 100 possessions.
That being said, there was a clear need for a secondary ball-handler on the floor when the Lakers played the Clippers on Tuesday and Rondo — if nothing else — is that. Rondo believes that his ability to bring the ball up the floor will add a different dynamic to the Lakers, particularly in transition.
“Being able to get ‘Bron out on the break, I don’t think we had any (fast-break points) in the first half last game, so that’ll be big. If I can get the ball and let him run the wing, nobody in the league can stop him,” Rondo said.
In practice, that hasn’t always been the case, but Rondo seems confident that he can still contribute to the Lakers.
“I’m gonna always play my game. I think me at point is pretty good. I’ve been pretty good in my career at being a point,” Rondo said. “It’s all about sacrifice and figuring out what’s best for our team.”