Following a brief stint away from the Los Angeles Lakers, Rajon Rondo has made his return after agreeing to a buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies following his trade from the L.A. Clippers.
Rondo gives the Purple and Gold a true point guard to add quality depth in their backcourt. His pedigree as a two-time champion also makes him an ideal fit on this roster full of veterans.
While the Lakers have caught some flak for the overall age of this roster, Rondo sees their experience as an area of strength.
The 35-year-old has taken on a leadership role in every locker room he has been in throughout his career. He feels the biggest key is remaining consistent both on and off the court.
“You can’t pick and chose when you want to be a leader,” Rondo said. “You got to show up every day. Guys are watching you, young and old. You’re being critiqued or judged regardless of the outcome of how you feel that morning. You try to show up and be consistent and no one likes a guy that just talks about it.
“You do it with your work, you do it with your discipline and consistency. So for me, most part is understanding that I don’t know it all and I’m a willing listener and I can learn from Malik Monk versus Trevor Ariza. I have an open mindset. Not being closed off thinking you know it all I think is a big key as well as being a leader and things I’ve grown from in my past.”
Rondo has made it clear that winning another championship is the main goal for him. However, he is willing to play any role the team needs him to make it come to fruition.
It remains to be seen how the pecking order will ultimately shake out with so many talented options now in the backcourt. Westbrook leads a fleet of combo guards such as Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk, and Talen Horton-Tucker.
However, Rondo is a primary ball-handler capable of coordinating the offense with his elite decision-making in relief of Westbrook and LeBron James. Not to mention, his status as ‘Playoff Rondo’ among Lakers fans could give him an edge down the line.
Rondo believes wisdom is key
Veterans on the Lakers have rolled with the punches regarding their age and time in the league. But, of course, that is because it comes with the confidence that it will pay huge dividends once the playoffs come around.
Rondo is among the latest additions and further examples of the route L.A. went in this offseason. He is relishing being one of the younger players on the roster and the experience that comes with it.
“Wisdom is definitely a key to winning a championship and we have a lot of that obviously with the age and experience on the court,” Rondo said. “I’m most excited about not being the older guy on the team anymore. So I’m actually probably bottom five now so that’s a big step for me going from, two months ago, I was the older guy on the team, now I’m considered one of the young guys.