Although they are still considered to be a favorite to win the 2020 NBA championship, the Los Angeles Lakers were dealt a blow when Avery Bradley opted to sit out the season restart at Walt Disney World.
That was then compounded when Rajon Rondo suffered a fractured right thumb last month. He required surgery and was projected to miss six to eight weeks from July 16. Down two guards in the rotation, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has spent the past two weeks evaluating options during scrimmages and seeding games.
“More will be needed in that regard from Alex and Quinn Cook. We have the ability to use our bigs with Kuz and in particular A.D. having the ability to bring it up and initiate offense,” Vogel recently said. “But I also like the prospects of seeing what Dion Waiters can do.
“We’ve got two really good basketball players that we added late in our season, that do different things but are equally as important. With JR being a big-time catch and shoot player, and Dion with the ability to make plays off the bounce.
“Losing Rondo puts more of a need on Dion’s skill set. I look forward to seeing what he can do as we get into games, but all of those guys will pick up slack.”
Thus far, Waiters has earned more opportunities on the court and made the most of it. Despite essentially not having played since last season, Waiters has proven to be an effective scorer and distributor.
Caruso figures to join Waiters in bearing the majority of playmaking duties for the second unit, but Kuzma and Davis should be able to initiate when needed. LeBron James has served as the primary ball handler and playmaker for the Lakers, but he will definitely need help when defenses start to key in on him come playoff time.
Danny Green believes Waiters, Smith are doing well with Lakers
Waiters and Smith are unexpectedly going to be key players to look out for as the pair will need to help make up for the losses of Bradley and Rondo.
“Obviously you guys know what Dion is capable of doing; that’s another playmaker and ball handler. He’s been looking pretty good. Him and JR have looked well. We have a lot of time left to get our bodies in shape, to get them to learn our system,” Danny Green recently said.
“JR has been shooting the ball well. Nobody looks out of shape. They’ve been doing very well, they’ve been working and learning the system pretty quickly. JR gives us a floor space and Dion gives us another ball handler.”
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!