The Los Angeles Lakers are on the verge of training camp and as could have been predicted by anyone, the full-court press on making Rajon Rondo appear like a deserving candidate to start at point guard is already on.
Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel was asked about what the Lakers starting lineup might look like and — after a cheeky response to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin — gave the kind of answer you’d expect.
“No decisions have been made on starting lineups. We’re going to see how different combinations play together throughout camp,” Vogel told reporters Friday afternoon. “There’s a lot of different ways we could go. We have great flexibility within our roster... Stay tuned.”
Now is the time to place your bets on either LeBron James or Anthony Davis vying for sixth man of the year, folks.
Again, to think any such decisions have been made before camp even starts is pretty insane, so it should come as no surprise that Vogel first laughed at the premise and then gave a non-answer.
Unfortunately, another thing that could probably have been predicted were reports that Rondo has impressed in workouts leading into the season:
Frank Vogel says no decisions have been made about starting lineups. Lakers will take a look at different combinations in camp. A source said Rajon Rondo has impressed in the last few weeks. Avery Bradley also could factor in as well to start in... https://t.co/qC1XdWoMSc— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) September 27, 2019
Maybe the Lakers just haven’t worked on defense yet and as such, Rondo has looked like a star.
Jests aside, though, Vogel is correct in his assessment of the roster and the various options the Lakers have when deciding on the starting lineup.
Should they want to go in a more conventional direction, Alex Caruso or Quinn Cook could run point alongside Danny Green, James, Davis and one of Dwight Howard or JaVale McGee. If Vogel thinks James is up to facilitate the offense without a traditional point guard out there, as Youngmisuk points out, Avery Bradley could operate as the point guard defensively but hand over the reins to James on the offensive half of the court. Along these lines, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope could theoretically fulfill a similar role.
All this is to say that the Lakers have so many good options that Rondo factoring into the discussion at all really shouldn’t happen. When you have so many better options, poor decisions only get further highlighted.
And before you respond with something along the lines of, “well, why does it matter? What should matter more is who closes games anyway,” starters do matter. They tend to play more minutes alongside each other than any other group, and if it’s obvious that there are better options, why waste time with one that just about everyone knows is not going to perform as well?
It’s obviously way too early to freak out about any of this stuff — especially since there is only one report of Rondo impressing so far while Vogel is noncommittal on starters — but a fun drinking game throughout training could be to take a drink anytime one of the above reports come out about Rondo . Or at least it could be a fun game, if what you consider fun is passing out on a regular basis.
Please don’t do this to us, Lakers.