Whether or not the Los Angeles Lakers play well while Anthony Davis and LeBron James share the court isn’t the kind of thing anyone is really concerned about. They’re arguably the best tandem in the sport and maybe one of the best duos the NBA has ever seen. So the Lakers are fine in that respect.
What is worth wondering about is how well the team will play when either Davis or James is on the bench, and how much time they should spend there. Based on his comments after practice Thursday, head coach Frank Vogel offered some insight into how he’ll handle that dynamic as he builds his rotation.
“Obviously there is going to be a common-sense approach to staggering AD and LeBron at times, making sure one of those guys is out there,” Vogel told reporters. “To me, it’s gonna be important to make sure that we stagger (Rajon) Rondo and LeBron too, and let each of them have their turn running the show and being the primary ball-handler our there.
“Obviously they’ll play a ton together as well, but staggering those guys is on my mind.”
Vogel is this close to giving the perfect response here, though that kind of depends on your reading of what he said.
If that last sentence refers back to Davis and James, then, yeah it kind of goes without saying that those guys should play as much as possible together while making sure the Lakers never have neither of them on the court at any given time.
Because that goes without saying, however, I’m a little nervous Vogel is referring to James and Rondo sharing the court, too, which. NO. BAD VOGEL.
Here, watch the interview for yourself and see what you think he means:
We saw what Rondo and James look like together on the court. Rondo dominates the ball, doesn’t space the floor and is quite possibly the worst defender in the NBA. Seeing as I literally just wrote about why them playing together much would be a bad idea for a different article, here:
Last season, among pairings that played at least 600 minutes together, lineups featuring both Rondo and James held a net rating of -5.4, making them the seventh-worst tandem on last year’s roster. Rondo was easily James’ worst teammate in terms of last season and is the only Lakers to play that much alongside James to carry a negative net-rating.
Do you realize how bad at basketball you have to be to consistently be a net-negative alongside LeBron f***ing James?
It’s honestly bad enough Lakers fans have to prepare themselves to watch Rondo play again. I’m so defeated by the idea of it that I can’t even scream that his minutes will come at the cost of Alex Caruso, who is objectively the better player. But for the love of God, man, please don’t make us watch him somehow make LeBron James worse at basketball. We did that last year. Please don’t force that on us again.
Does Rondo maybe offer value alongside Davis against second units, given the Lakers’ dearth of other playmakers? Maybe. Does his presence help a team trying to get on the same page? Altogether possible. There might be scenarios where Rondo might actually be a plus to the Lakers. But alongside James just isn’t one of them.
Vogel can ignore that reality as long as he likes, and maybe even claim to have ideas on how to make those two work, but it just isn’t worth it. Time spent trying to make that work is time wasted, so hopefully he meant that he would play James and Davis together, and is sticking by the staggering part of his answer for Rondo.