The Lakers also managed to re-sign two of their point guards from last season in Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso. Both Rondo and Caruso figure to be major parts of the rotation given the relative lack of depth at that position and head coach Frank Vogel will have a tough decision in trying to figure out how to divvy up the minutes between them when James is on the floor.
In an interview with Mike Trudell of Lakers, Vogel discussed how he looks at the situation going into Year 1 together:
“It’s a tool in the toolbox, it’s not the toolbox. The Rondo and LeBron stuff was a little surprising to me, because they’re obviously two of the game’s greats, but in some ways also not surprising when you look at the environment around them in terms of the team’s lack of shooting last year around those two guys. The pieces have got to fit, and we had a long conversation about that, and I actually expect it to be a complete reversal this year. I think those two guys will be great together. Obviously, LeBron really likes playing with guys like Caruso, guys that can do everything and play on or off the ball, guard at a high level. So I think that’ll be the same as well. But you look at the numbers and you ask why. Sometimes the answer is evident, sometimes it’s not. Then you look, ‘Can it be tinkered with’ to make it work if it wasn’t working.’ Those are some of the things that we’re talking about now.”
Analytics have become a crucial component for teams to help decide on lineup combinations and minutes distribution and the returns from last season indicated the Lakers were better when James and Caruso shared the floor versus him and Rondo.
Caruso has proven to be a stout defender and outside shooter (two of Rondo’s weaknesses at this point in his career) and he has a strong case to start alongside James.
Vogel has a tough decision given Rondo does provide leadership on the floor and another pure playmaker, but it is too early to say what works best for them. It will be interesting to see who the bulk of the point guard minutes go to once the new season begins.