With the Los Angeles Lakers prioritizing health, LeBron James and Rajon Rondo did not play in the final 2018-19 NBA preseason game against the Golden State Warriors.
As the 2018 NBA Draft picks Svi Mykhailiuk and Isaac Bonga played well in the 119-105 win, James and Rondo were on the sidelines constantly coaching the young core.
With a unique balance between veterans and prospects, head coach Luke Walton wants that type of communication and not only from his two leaders, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“For us to be at our best, that’s what we want. And not just Rondo and LeBron. [Josh Hart], he was talking that whole second half. Every play out there, he was the one calling coverages out. It doesn’t matter who it is. We want people taking those responsibilities. I let my assistant coaches do a lot of drills in practice because I want their voices to be heard too. We’re in this together. We’re going to win and lose together and that’s what makes our culture strong.”
Since Walton became head coach prior to the 2016-17 NBA season, he has wanted to empower his players and have them take on those type of responsibilities. As young players experience their highs and lows, the Lakers finally have veterans like James and Rondo who have played at the highest level.
With the Lakers having almost a week to prepare for their 2018-19 season opener against the Portland Trail Blazers, they will need the young core to learn on the fly. In the extremely competitive Western Conference, their development will be key to any playoff success in Year 1 with James.
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