Coming into the 2016 season, the Los Angeles Lakers built their roster around the needs of head coach Luke Walton. Key offseason acquisitions, such as Jose Calderon and Luol Deng, will provide a veteran atmosphere to the young core of the Lakers.
Calderon, who was acquired in a trade with the Chicago Bulls, is entering his 12th season in the NBA. The journeyman from Spain has constantly provided a strong point guard presence on the floor, being able to dictate an offense.
The soon to be 35-year-old is coming in to a different role than he is accustomed to. After leading his former teams, like the Toronto Raptors, to the playoffs, he now enters a different situation with the Lakers.
The Lakers are heavily invested in D’Angelo Russell as their point guard of the future, ready to take the reins as the next star in Los Angeles. However, every budding star in the NBA requires learning from those who set the path before him.
Calderon enters this season ready to not only contribute to a rebuilding franchise, but to ease into a mentor type role off the bench, via Trevor Lane of Lakers Nation:
Jose Calderon is excited to come off the bench this season, was tired of playing 30 min a night
— Trevor Lane (@Trevor_Lane) September 26, 2016
The physical wear and tear the NBA does to the players can take a toll. The constant rigors of the NBA do tack on, even with the trainers doing constant work on the bodies of the players.
For Calderon, the transition should be a rather smooth one. Under the spotlight of head coach Luke Walton, he will be able to get in consistent minutes off the bench while helping with the development of Russell.
The backseat approach should be familiar for Calderon, as he made the same transition for the Spain national team during the Rio Olympics.
Calderon reiterated a friendly atmosphere, stating his team-first mindset and willingness to subside so that the young core can develop.
In 11 career seasons, Calderon has averaged 9.9 points, 6.5 assists, and 2.6 rebounds per game.