Rajon Rondo — after missing the entirety of the seeding games and first round of the playoffs — may make his bubble debut in Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel’s rotation on Friday for Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinals series against the Houston Rockets.
Rondo has practiced with the team this week and continued to make progress since suffering from back spasms.
“Rondo has practiced both times this week, looks really good,” Vogel said. “We’re going to continue to see how he’s feeling after this work. We’re hopeful to have him in uniform and the rotation on Friday.”
From a player’s perspective, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also liked what he saw and is excited to share the court with Rondo again. “Rondo has been back in practice and he’s been good,” Caldwell-Pope said.
“He’s been communicating a lot, which he always does. He’s a great leader besides our two leaders we have. I like being on the court with him. He keeps everybody in their position, he’s a floor general when he’s out there, he’s always talking and trying to put people in position. Just having him in here is great for us.”
The veteran point guard has struggled in his minutes for L.A. this season. However, his leadership and court awareness have long been raved about, and it should be enough to get him regular minutes during the playoffs..
It may take Rondo a game or two to get back into his normal shape, but it will be intriguing to see what he brings to the team. Although his struggles this season are well documented, Rondo has a reputation of improving his level of play when the lights are brightest.
Vogel hopeful Rondo can take some pressure off LeBron James
All season long, L.A.’s greatest struggle has been facilitating a play-making in the minutes where LeBron James is on the bench. That was slated to be Rondo’s job, but injuries and overall disappointing play left it to the likes of Alex Caruso and Caldwell-Pope, two players who are not built for that style.
Perhaps the re-emergence of Playoff Rondo will allow L.A. to be more effective when James sits. If so, it would be a huge advantage moving forward in the quest for a championship.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!