The return of Rajon Rondo is something head coach Frank Vogel and the Los Angeles Lakers have been anticipating for some time. The original timeframe for Rondo when he suffered a fractured right thumb had him returning for the second round of the playoffs.
The veteran point guard was ahead of schedule at one point, as Rondo was set to return in the first-round series against the Trail Blazers, but wound up being a late scratch due to back spasms.
Now with the Lakers awaiting the start of the next round, Vogel gave an update on Rondo’s status. “He did practice [Monday], did look good,” Vogel said.
“We don’t have to list the injury report until we get an actual game scheduled, but he looked good. We’re hopeful to have him in this series.”
Rondo’s return is something many have been curious about, especially in regards to how it will affect the current rotation. The player it would seem to impact most is Alex Caruso, who has assumed the backup point guard role and upped his playmaking in Rondo’s absence.
But Caruso has learned a lot from Rondo.”The stuff you saw me and A.D. do, he did that with him for years in New Orleans,” Caruso said during the first round.
“He’s done that for years in his whole career. He’s one of the best pick-and-roll players to ever play the game as far as delivering it and seeing the court. I’m a shell of the talent Rondo has but I do my best, and it’s pretty good at times, of just getting the ball where it needs to go. Playing with him has helped me a lot this year.”
That relationship between the two has not waned even with Rondo’s absence from the team. “I texted him a couple times, just kind of getting his thoughts after a couple games. We talked about how I played or how we played as a team,” Caruso recently said.
How Vogel handles the overall rotation with Rondo back remains to be seen, but Caruso made it clear the Lakers as a whole are happy for Rondo to be back on the court.
“Obviously we’re excited for him to be back, because he brings something to this team that I don’t think anybody else can do,” he said. “Just with the experience, the way he plays in the playoffs, understanding coverages, understand what we’re trying to do with our schemes and game plan, and applying it into the game.
“He’s one of the most vocal people I’ve ever played with, if not the most. Just excited to have him back.”
Vogel looking forward to Rondo alleviating pressure on LeBron
Whenever Rondo does manage to make his 2020 Playoffs debut, one benefit will be the pressure taken off LeBron James and allow him to better operate from the elbow.
Relieving the pressure on LeBron is important as is keeping things flowing when he takes a break. Caruso has done an admirable job at stepping up in that role so far, and Rondo gives the Lakers another option to do just that.
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