Neither Rajon Rondo nor Kyle Kuzma have appeared for the Los Angeles Lakers yet this season, and we can probably assume that will remain the course a just a little longer — though it appears their returns might be coming sooner rather than later.
At shootaround Tuesday morning, Frank Vogel made an announcement about his veteran point guard and third-year wingman:
Rajon Rondo remains out tonight for the Lakers against Memphis with the calf strain.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 29, 2019
Vogel said they don’t have a specific game in mind for Kuzma’s return, though he continues to ramp things up. He remains out tonight, but will be on the upcoming 3-game road trip (Nov. 1, 3 and 5 are the games). There’s a possibility that he could play on the trip, per Vogel.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 29, 2019
Let’s start with Rondo. His calf strain has never really been disclosed as a serious injury, though at this point it has cost him a couple weeks dating back to preseason. This is continuing in the Lakers’ tradition of never really offering up clarity regarding injuries. Whenever he does return, though, Vogel will face some serious questions in the rotation, given Alex Caruso’s strong play and the amount Vogel apparently wants to use Rondo.
However Vogel handles that situation is going to be fascinating and possibly infuriating, but all Caruso can do is let his play speak for him and let Rondo’s struggles help make the case for a permanent spot out of the rotation.
In Kuzma’s case, there should be nothing other than optimism for his impending return. Yes, his reputation vastly outshines his actual production from last year, but he is a legitimate NBA player at a position the Lakers are hilariously thin (on the wing). When he gets back, the Lakers will still be able to go with their four-out lineups, but maintain more length on the perimeter than they’ve had in those stretches thus far.
It should also be pointed out that Vogel envisions a role of 30-ish minutes per game for Kuzma, so that likely means someone will have their minutes significantly slashed, and it’ll be interesting to see who that is. Potentially over the next few games, if Kuzma continues to progress well.