The Los Angeles Lakers went into the NBA’s restart in Orlando knowing that they weren’t going to have their starting point guard, Avery Bradley, for the remainder of the season. What they couldn’t have possibly known, though, was that their packup point guard, Rajon Rondo, would suffer a fractured right thumb just a few days into them being there.
Shortly after injuring his thumb, Rondo left the Orlando bubble to undergo surgery and he’s been rehabbing away from the team ever since. Rondo’s not expected to be back on the court until at least mid-September, but he’s expected to rejoin the Lakers shortly, Frank Vogel revealed after practice on Tuesday.
“He’s definitely going to come back into the bubble very soon,” Vogel said. “I’m not sure of the exact details of it, but I think he’s making his way to Florida tomorrow and will spend a certain period of time outside of the bubble before he’s reintegrated inside the bubble.”
Vogel added that Rondo, the Lakers’ front office and the NBA were still determining how long he’d have to quarantine for before re-entry.
In the absence of both Bradley and Rondo, Vogel has had to experiment with different lineups to try and find the right balance of ball-handling, scoring and defense. While the results have been mixed thus far, the trio of Alex Caruso, Dion Waiters and Kyle Kuzma has shown a ton of promise.
In the 33 minutes Caruso, Waiters and Kuzma have played together, they’ve posted a ridiculous net rating of +56.5. That’s obviously an extremely limited sample size and should be taken with a grain of salt, but it makes sense that Caruso and Kuzma are benefiting from having a guard who’s a scoring threat with them in the second unit. Waiters seems to be having a good time playing with them, too.
“AC, he’s always out there, he’s talking, he’s in the right spots,” Waiters said after practice on Tuesday. “(With) Kuz being aggressive, me being aggressive, we’re just trying to continue to keep that tempo up and make sure we go out there and do the right stuff... It’s only my sixth game of the year, so for me personally it’s just about having fun and just enjoying every moment, being in the moment and staying in that moment. That’s all I can do.”
When Rondo returns, Vogel will have to make some difficult decisions with his guard rotation, and those decisions will almost definitely make some fans unhappy. Fortunately, those decisions won’t have to be made for at least another few weeks, as Rondo’s been rehabbing for less than four weeks. Until Rondo returns, Vogel will have to make-do with what he has, and figure out whether or not it’s better than what he had.