One of the main reasons the Los Angeles Lakers signed Rajon Rondo was not just as insurance in case Lonzo Ball got hurt, but also to be a mentor to him.
Ball and Rondo share some similarities as pass-first point guards who have extremely advanced court vision but also struggle with their outside shot.
Teams always want to put good veterans around their young talent to help them develop in the right way and Ball appreciated the time he was able to spend with Rondo.
In a recent interview with House of Highlights, Ball spoke on Rondo, calling him one of the smartest people he’s ever talked to and noting how much he learned:
“Not even playing with him, just being around him. The way he is on the court is how he is off the court. He’s always thinking about everything. Just being around him, you can learn so much. He’s probably one of the smartest dudes I ever talked to.”
The unfortunate thing for both is that injuries really hampered their 2018-19 NBA season as Ball and Rondo played in just 47 and 46 games, respectively. Two separate hand injuries kept Rondo out much of the first half of the season while a severely sprained ankle ended Ball’s season early right as he was beginning to turn the corner.
The opportunity is still there for their relationship to grow as Rondo has spoken about a desire to return to the Lakers. Whether or not that happens is anyone’s guess, but Ball would also seem likely to return unless the team is able to acquire a big-name star in a trade.
If this does turn out to be Rondo’s lone season in purple and gold, then the Lakers got what they wanted as Ball seemed to learn a lot from him.