The Los Angeles Lakers assigned Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore and Rajon Rondo to the South Bay Lakers for a practice on Monday, according to a report from Dave McMenamin of ESPN on Sunday.
Trevor Ariza is expected to get in a practice on Monday with some members of the South Bay Lakers, plus Rajon Rondo and Kent Bazemore, as the Lakers' veteran forward continues his ramp up his activity towards making his regular season debut after undergoing ankle surgery.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 13, 2021
The South Bay Lakers released video of the session on Tuesday morning:
As McMenamin noted, Ariza’s assignment is just another step in his injury rehab. The possibility of Ariza practicing with South Bay was first brought up by Frank Vogel last week. Ariza’s had some practice time with the senior team this month, but the Lakers don’t practice as much as their G League affiliate, and Vogel wants to get Ariza as many practice reps as possible. This practice comes on the heels of a report that Ariza is expected to return in the next week or two.
Bazemore and Rondo are with South Bay under different circumstances. Though both Bazemore and Rondo were heavily-featured in Vogel’s rotation at the start of the season, the returns of Wayne Ellington, Talen Horton-Tucker and LeBron James have affected their playing time. That, and they just weren’t very good in the minutes they did play.
Rondo’s struggles have come to be expected by Lakers fans, especially in the regular season, and with the amount of guard depth on the roster, it was always assumed that Rondo would mostly just be an extension of the coaching staff on the bench. Bazemore, however, was actually supposed to be a big help on the court.
Last season with the Golden State Warriors, Bazemore averaged 7.2 points per game on 40.8% shooting from beyond the arc. He was also effective for the Warriors on the defensive end, posting the second-highest defensive point differential (-5.5) on the roster, per Cleaning the Glass. Overall, the Warriors were 8.9 points better per 100 possessions with Bazemore on the court.
With the Lakers this season, Bazemore is averaging 4.2 points per game on 31.8% shooting from 3-point range and 35% shooting from inside the arc. The only player that’s had less value for the team offensively this season is DeAndre Jordan. Granted, only 140 of the 354 minutes Bazemore’s played this season have come alongside James, but his problems seem to go beyond the lineups he’s playing with, which is why he’s been out of the rotation since mid-November.
The Lakers have managed to put together a solid guard rotation despite Bazemore’s disappointing start to the season, but they would definitely be a lot better if he started providing the two-way play they signed him for. Hopefully Bazemore can use Monday as an opportunity to build up his confidence and get some on-court reps in to stay fresh for his next opportunity.